Sunday was the big day and though the forecast had been for rain, the E30 Gods smiled on the event bringing the sun out as droves of E30s descended to the LeMay Marymount Museum’s East Lawn. The site was gorgeous with lush green lawn and towering trees lining the perimeter. The E30 owners in attendance were a diverse group. Though many owners were in their 20s and 30s, enthusiastic owners were in attendance up to 71 years old. Caravans of E30s traveled from Oregon, California, British Columbia and Alberta.
The mix of E30s at the Picnic was comprehensive. Every year and color were represented. 2-doors and 4-doors, rear drive, all wheel drive and a rare Touring model. More and more E30s are seeing M50 and S50 transplants as evidenced by the engine-swapped E30s on display! The mix included 30 of BMW’s homologation E30 M3s. Three PRO3 cars were in the lawn too.
Special Awards went to:
Furthest Traveled: Adam Chavez, Age: 23, 1989 325i, Brighton, CO. 1,300 miles One Way!
Youngest Owner: Andrew ‘5Toes’ Cudlipp, 1984 318i - 17 year, 4 months.
Oldest Owner: Mike Ellis, 1991 318i cabrio, 71 years young
Raffle prizes were generously provided by:
Auburn Foreign and Domestic Car
Bavarian Autosport and Beyern Wheels
Guten Parts + Service
Haury’s Lake City Collision
Proformance Driving School
Puget Sound Chapter, BMW CCA
South Lake European
The grand prize in the raffle was a full paint job on an E30 donated by Haury’s Lake City Collision. Also, a donation four 17” Beyern Wheels from Bavarian Autosport and Beyern raised the profile of the raffle this year. The event was able to raise $1,650 for the LeMay Marymount Museum.
- Lance Richert
Our E30 has been competing in the PRO3 class for the last six years. Although it started out as a very nice daily driven commuter, it didn't stay that way for long. A chance meeting with Wes Hill was all it took. The modifications happened slowly as the car transitioned from street car to track car to full on race car. For the first five seasons of it's racing life it was driven by my dad Scott Hieronymus. During the off-season this year I was able to convince him to hand me the keys as we prepared the car for a full scale championship effort. It has been a very fun and exciting season so far, with two race wins and a 2nd place finish out of five races to this point. It's a very strong car that handles great, and pulls hard in a straight line. I wouldn't change a single thing about it. Just 48 hours before the picnic we picked up the car at Haury’s Lake City Collision with a fresh paint scheme. The guys in the shop did an amazing job! In one day the car underwent a total transformation and emerged in show car condition. We pulled back into our garage at midnight on Friday, and in 24 hours it went from a painted shell with no windows or trim to a finished product complete with graphics, ready for its public debut at the E30 picnic. Soon however, it will be back in its natural hunting grounds, the racetrack. This car is more than just an old E30 with a roll cage, it feels special to race, it feels alive. This car has a soul. It's hard to explain but it feels like the car wants you to succeed, you can feel it giving its all from the second the green flag drops all the way to the end of the weekend. For that reason, this E30 will always have a special place in my heart.
Ryan Hieronymus #196 PRO3, Seattle, WA
The car was built in Germany in 1990, and then sent to Japan, where it spent most of its life in Tokyo. In July 2008, arrived in Vancouver, BC. I saw the car for sale in an online classified forum in 2011. I was instantly drawn to it. After contacting the seller and going back and forth with a series of emails, I decided to make an offer. It took a few months and a lot of phone calls and paperwork, but it seemed like everything was coming together.
A few modifications had to be done to comply with US standards, such as changing the cluster from kilometers to miles, and the addition of side reflectors. In July 2011 the car went to TC Motorsports for some long overdue maintenance. Not long after that, I sent it to the body shop to get a much needed full re-spray: the paint on the hood and roof was turning white, scratches, door dings, etc. All suspension components were replaced as well, including H&R race kit, bushings, tie rods, and control arms. I also fitted a set of 17” wheels.
The car has been very reliable, but in May 2012 the transmission was giving me some problems - “auto tragic” with the electronic “mode” transmission option. I started collecting the components needed to do a 5-speed conversion, as it was a perfect excuse to do it. While I was at it, I decided to do some additional improvements: Ireland Engineering headers, cat-back, 13 lb flywheel. I put the car on a trailer and took it down to Portland, Oregon, where Steven at Vintage European did an amazing job. She barely made it to the E30 Picnic - the swap was finished on Thursday and the show was on Sunday.
This car came with some really unique features, such as headlight adjusters, rear fog lights, electronic transmission, KM/hour cluster, Japanese car battery, labels in the engine bay in Japanese, and all paperwork from the previous maintenance and car brochure from dealer in Japanese. Also, there is a little antenna at the front of the car (OEM part). I’ve heard two different rumors about it: one says it’s a parking distance aid, and the other that it’s a warning aid for other drivers that you have a left hand drive car in a country with right hand cars. This car has a metal plate in the engine bay where BMW specifies that this vehicle can be sold in the Japanese market with a serial number.
What I love about this car is that there are probably fewer than 20 in the USA. People do not appreciate the rarity of this car unless they are BMW enthusiast. I drive my car everyday to work and love every minute I’m behind the wheel. I do not want it to be a garage queen, I want her to be on the road and be driven.
Amy wanted a VW New Beetle Convertible. Me, not so much. She also liked the look of the E30. So in 2008, we went "shopping" at the E30 picnic to get ideas for our car. Amy picked the M-Tech appearance package as the look she wanted. Ya, that's a great look, but it makes it a lot harder to find. Off to Autotrader I went. Shortly, we had a white on white automatic with 74k miles shipped out from NY state sight unseen. The car was totally stock but in worse shape than expected.
To bring the car up to the desired level of fit and finish was going to take quite a bit. Skip ahead to 2011 and our car now has an M52 2.8L with 5-speed, all new interior, soft top and paint. Remember the VW? Our car uses a color scheme based on it. At least it is a BMW and a very cool E30. We are finally driving the car but as they say it is never finished.
Chris and Amy Mason, Newcastle, WA
1988 E30 M3 that was saved from someone’s backyard in Portland, OR. The car lived in Northern California until someone blew up the S14 motor and decided that $10K+ was not in the budget to rebuild. It appears that the car had a mysterious interior fire which was claimed as a "TOTAL" through insurance leading the car to the auctions. A teenager from Portland, OR bought the car and stored it in his backyard under a tree for two years before realizing that he did not know what to do with it and sold the M3 to me. Thank goodness the firefighters go to it fast rendering the interior ruined but NO structural or metal damage whatsoever; a perfect candidate for a lightweight track car! What started out as an average looking M3 track car led to a full roll cage. My thought was if I needed to paint the cage, why not paint the car, and if the car was about to get a makeover, why not go all the way. Well, a Warsteiner DTM livery can't look the part, so I turned it over to Rhom Innovations, a track/motorsport shop in Portland, OR who handled the powertrain, full suspension, electronic system, tuning, track prep, etc., and now I have a car that in my opinion, puts smiles on everyone's face that it comes in contact with. This car will continue to appear at fun car shows, but don’t be surprised if you happen to see this M3 at the races running in the SCCA Vintage class.
Stan Schafeitel, Vancouver, WA