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Steven Foxall's M50 turbo'd E30

by James Preston
25th July 2016 · England

This is a story about Steven Foxall, a 23 year old Technician at the Porsche Centre in Solihull.

Steven's been surrounded by cars all his life. His father had raced Brisca stockcars for many years as well as spending all his life working in the motortrade. It's no suprise that Steve ended up the petrol head that he is today. He had always been interested in older cars. Old fast cars to be exact. He had previosuly owned an Audi B5 S4. This was a fast car, but it was not an old car, well not old enough for Steven. After shifting the Audi on, he had set his heart on building himself something to suit his needs.

Steven didn't want to build something just to look good. He also didn't want to just build something to be fast. He needed both aspects in his build. 

In October 2014, whilst travelling Europe, Steven rang a man in Kent. While on the phone to the gentleman he pretty much agreed to buy the car. The day after arriving back home, Steven set off on the 4 hour drive to collect it. It was a totally rust free 1983 318i black E30, complete with a broken m20 engine. The previous owner had began restoring the car but give up when he came to engine troubles.

It was a totally rust free 1983 318i black E30

"I always liked the look of E30s. Their boxy shape with narrow A pillars is something you just don’t see, especially due to modern cars and the strict safety regulations now imposed on them. I think it captures a time when cars were just totally cool. Much to the destain of the previous owner who had it for 12 years it was always my intention to change the engine as I wanted something that could easily keep up with the cars I work with. The M50/52 from the E36, E34s etc is a common swap due to its relative simplicity, however the 190bhp just wasn’t enough. So the idea to turbocharge it came from there. Which at first I thought was ridiculous. It's a somewhat common thing in an e36 but it's quick difficult in an rhd e30 because the steering column is fouling on the downpipe. I ended up buying a holsett hx35 turbo like two days later as a way to commit myself."

The engine came from Steven's friends scrapyard in Manchester. They spent a day hopping across roofs to lift numerous bonnets of 90’s bmws but were sadly disappointed and thought they’d have to leave empty handed. On their exit of the scrapyard Steven's friend Thom spotted a green e36 coupe, poking out from beneath the 4 cars that were sitting on top of it. After a lot of hard work they managed to get the bonnet of the e36 open. At this point Steven describes it as the briefcase scene in pulp ficiton, they opened it to reveal the glory of the m50 single vanos shinig out to them.

190bhp just wasn’t enough.

A week later the entire car arrived on a truck ready to be ripped apart. This was Steven's first engine swap. "I'd done heaps of engines in my professional life, but swapping engines is an entirely different thing than just swapping like for like. I definitely started to regret the decision to smooth the bay after I started, but looking at it now I think all the long hours in the garage learning to weld and do certain aspects of bodywork, I think it's totally worth it."

"I remember pulling the tired m20 engine out within a week of owning the car and straight away grabbing an angle grinder and cutting the battery tray out. There was no going back now. All of the work bar the manifold and the bay paint was done by myself and my friends. Occasionally supported and guided by work colleagues, my father (who is forever supporting my financial mistakes) and his repertoire of friends he's built after years of racing and fixing cars."

After a lot of unexpected delays with the manifold and the massive learning curve of all the body work, as well as the new challenges of standalone management and general engine swap issues, it took a little longer than Steven had expected and missed his original deadline of Players Classic 2015. He did however make it to VW Days a week later, which brought his build time to around 8 months.

After getting it running and only completing 40 miles around Redditch where he lives, he set off for France as its maiden voyage. Obviously he did, who wouldn't take the car they had just built to France. "Surprisingly the car was pretty much perfect. I loved it."

Whilst heading back to the ferry, Steven realised how happy he was with what he’d built. Racing far faster, more expensive cars along the french highways, always surprising and embarrassing them. As well as the middle aged men driving them.

"I'm enjoying it hugely this summer, and I'm now very happy with the engine bay, aswell as the interior. Sights are set forward though, and there’s a lot of thought about what's coming next, if I don’t decide to trade it for a van and travel instead."

Thanks to:
Andy Foxall my dad
My friends, especially Thom for all the late nights
Regal autosports, ss autowerks, hard knocks speedshop, meguaires
Gunnar Reynisson
Rob Speak
Everyone on the e30zone for telling me I’m a wanker for cutting up a chromie ha.

1983 pre facelift 318 e30 coupe in black.
Completely welded, smoothed and painted engine bay with wire tuck.
m50b25tu engine. Race built with hx35 turbo charger. Approx 400bhp at 1 bar of boost.
Semi solid engine and box mounts from SS Autowerks.
Reinforced subframe
rebuilt running gear, axels and subframes, shotted and blasted, poly bushed all round.
Mishimoto rad switched fan
Custom exhaust manifold.
Customer intercooler
Custom sump by hardknocks speedshop
Vems management
3" downpipe and exhaust by hard knocks
Switched Bosch 044 inline pump with Siemens 660cc injectors
Hack engineering solid prop ring
Z3 fast rack with pas delete
bc coilovers on custom springs and custom top mounts from SS Autowerks
Underside running gear completely rebuilt, shot blasted and power coated.
944 booster with braided lines all round.
Schmidt th lines on semi slicks 16x9 and 9.5J
3.64 lsd rebuilt with Porsche plates for tighter lock
Semi stripped interior,black headlining with sunroof, pole positions with recaro sliders and trs harnesses (harnesses supplied by Regal Autosport)
Carpeted rear seat delete with half cage kind of clubsport spec
Stack gauges
Z3 shifter and linkage with Delrin knob
Shit nardi wheel soon to be swapped out.

Photos by: James Preston & Alex Carroll
Car Owner: Steven Foxall
Words by: James Preston & Steven Foxall
Location: Portsmouth, England