Jake Ryan | E30

“Beauty in Simplicity.” Three simple words that explain so much. There’s something elegant about things that are unadorned by chintz and pomp. Something that appeals to our very nature, that tells us that “less really is more” sometimes, especially in a world that’s becoming ever more obsessed with technology and gadgets. It’s not necessarily about minimalism, more about ensuring the modifications you choose to make compliment each other. Quality over quantity, if you will.


We first met Redditch based 22-year-old Jake a couple of years ago, and fell instantly in love with his gorgeous 318iS, well before this incarnation. There’s just something about the E30’s shape; about the way it hunkers down in standard form, that make it one of the all time greats. But Jake had a vision, and he was going to make damned sure it came to fruition. Sometimes you don’t need to break the mould, to break the mould…


Jake and his mates built what you see before you over the course of one long, hard (well, relatively mild) winter in his garage. Deciding on a genuine M-Tech 1 spoiler and kit, he was determined to keep the car looking subtle, yet eye-catching as possible. The contrast of the all red tail lights against that gleaming black paintwork is sublime. After mulling over several colour choices, Jake decided that BMW knew best, so a full bare metal respray in Schwarz Black was given the go ahead. This is the only part of the job Jake didn’t complete himself, and it’s absolutely flawless.


Those wheels. Oh my, those wheels. Futuras are nothing new in the BMW world, but they are without a doubt one of the best looking wheels in existence, and compliment the shape and lines of the late 80s icon perfectly. Jake decided mirror polished, with factory OZ lips and hardware was the way to go, to maintain the simplistic yet classy direction the car was taking. Weighing in at 16×9″ & 16×9.5″, they certainly look the part, especially when the (self installed) AirLift V2 setup allows the car to lay frame.


Hiding behind those beautiful rollers are a set of drilled and grooved EBC discs, with Red Stuff pads and braided lines; probably slight overkill for the original 1.8 4 banger, but not so much for the M52B28 conversion shoehorned into the bay. With the omnipresent M50 inlet and a gorgeous RamAir setup, this thing sounds beautiful. Jake decided when doing the conversion that it was the perfect excuse to smooth the bay. In the flesh it looks divine, pictures do not do it justice. The crackle black paint and anodised touches set it off perfectly. With a E46 purple tag rack, a full complement of polybushes, and a lightened and balanced flywheel, this isn’t some mere show pony.


Interior wise, Jake has stuck with the tried and tested Nardi wheel, along with installing a properly set up 1000w RMS sound system. The factory Recaros are in incredible condition, and have been left where they should be. Quite right.


If it’s not obvious, we’re big fans of Jake’s car. We love the simplicity; the fact that the modification list isn’t a mile long, and every little thing that’s been done has been done properly and for a reason. Most of all, we love the fact that he’s done it himself, in a garage in the Midlands, every night through the winter. That’s what this scene is all about.

Photos by Mathew Bedworth

Words by Si McNally

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