Projects & Builds: A BMW E30 4G63 6-Speed Drag Car Build.

Volkswagen owners are typically quite dedicated to their brand. Getting them to switch brands is usually tough, and often impossible.  Matt A. is clearly not a typical VW owner though, because, he didn’t seem to think twice about it.  Maybe it was all of the fire that made his decision easier….

Fire VW

Anyway…. one day a few years ago, Matt noticed a 1987 BMW 325i sitting at a friends shop.  It had been there quite a while and the owner of it didn’t seem too enthusiastic about fixing its mysterious electrical problem.   Matt inquired about it, and bought it with a devilish 4G63-inspired plan in mind.

bmw 325i

With one swift emblem enhancement, this BMW was destined for greatness. A Mitsubishi Eclipse turbo engine was chosen because they have a huge fan base, aftermarket support, and they make real horsepower for not much cash.  Reliability? Huh? I’m unfamiliar with that word.

4g63 emblem

Engine #1 was assembled with a plethora of go-fast parts attached.  Heck, Matt even hit it with some paint before dropping it in!

4g63 longblock

He was going to need plenty of fuel to power it, so a couple of Walbro’s were plumbed into the E30 equation.

dual walbro fuel pumps

Obviously with all of the expected power, Matt needed a proper transmission  to take all of that goodness from the back of the engine to the wheels.  He chose a Chevy T56 6-Speed that was previously strapped to the back of an LS1.

T56 6-speed

He then shimmied it all into the engine bay of the little E30 BMW.  Perfect fit!

4G63 BMW installed

The transmission obviously needed an adapter to go from a Chevy to Mitsubishi bolt pattern.  Luckily for the automotive world, an absolutely amazing machinest & fabricator named Bill Hincher makes these bell housings.

4g63 t56

The world may never know why Matt covers his rear license plate with aluminum foil.  Is he cooking with it? Contacting extra terrestrials? Or could he be trying to blind the competition as he passes them?  Whatever the reason, I approve of it.

Aluminum foil plate

Aluminum foil or not, Matt shoved a GT40R turbo on the 4G63 to secure his place at the finish line.

bmw 325i turbo

All of that air needs to enter the engine someplace, so a throttle body large enough to swallow a human hand was bolted to the custom intake manifold.

Throttle body

The first dyno tuning session was expected to show 500 rear wheel horsepower.  Instead, it spit out its head gasket.  To make matters worse, as soon as the bad head gasket was swapped out and the new gasket swapped in, the oil pump took a run for the border and finished the engine off.  Out with the old….

Headless 4G63 BMW

Right back in the with the new…..

newly assembled 4g63

This is just an awesome picture.

turbo head

Back together after some late nights with good friends, the car ran again. It even raced a bit, and then one of the bearings spun.  I guess sometimes it takes 3 engines to find one that agrees with you.

Time passes…..but work never stops.  Before long, engine number 3 is rotating under its own power.  Matt traps as high as 114 mph with tons of wheel spin.  By the end of 2010, he lands himself deep into the 11’s with sub 1.6 second 60 foot times.  Nicely done!


This year the car is fully caged, and Matt is ready for a crazy fire breathing, wheels in the air, 9.999999 pass.  Will he do it?   I’m telling you right now, yes. He will.  Watch for updates here this spring.  I intend to be the guy staring at his aluminum foil license plate as he passes me.

Respect 'em

Matt had an amazing group of friends helping him out during good times and bad. From what I understand they are mostly from:

Infamous Performance

New England DSM

Project Zero G

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

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