Reader Submissions: Lateral Gs are BMW E21's Best Friend

Lateral Gs are BMW E21’s Best Friend

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
November 13, 2014
9 comments

Owner and Photographer: Bela Zsalakovics

Year, Make, and Model: 1980 BMW 320/6 (E21)

Location: Hungary

I was always a Petrolista. My father used to take me to some motorsports events, like motocross or rallye when I was young.

At first I didn’t even like BMWs. In my country mostly gangsters and gypsies buy BMWs and that gives these cars a bad reputation. My childhood best-of-the-best was the Lancia Delta HF Integrale, but it is kind of expensive. And also drift became so popular… When I first saw drifting I said, “Wow! That’s what I call driving skills!” I fell in love with sideways driving the first time I ever experienced it and started to look for a rear-wheel drive car, with good support in the second-hand parts market, easily swappable upgrade parts, two doors because sportscar, and availability here in Hungary.

I started to look for some Japanese cars at first, but they weren’t as popular those days, also sourcing parts was an issue. After all these logical decisions I started to look for a BMW. Then I saw some properly modded E21s on the internet and fell in love with the shape. The ideal choice was the E21.

Originally equipped with the legendary six-cylinder m20 code 2 liter engine from the factory. When I bought it, it was in terrible condition, but I was able to drive it home about 250km (~160miles). I went to buy it with a friend who, upon seeing it, said, “We should have a tow rope.” Funny thing is that when we got home, his car decided to break down.

Anyway, I started driving the 320/6, and I wanted more power. First, I swapped the engine (after welding the chassis) to an m20b23 (it’s BMWs old twelve valve 2.3 liter engine with 150hp) with L-jetronic, and used it about a year. After some time, I got lucky to buy a well priced 2.5 (170ish hp) so I swapped it in. After some use I discovered that the engine had a well ported cylinder head so it produce a little more power than the factory.

Actually, during the restoration I completely swapped the interior too. Bought some Recaros and a new headliner, steering wheel, rear seat, changed the suspension (Bilstein sport), front brakes from the 323i, five-speed gearbox, and Black Hellas.

I love that it’s RWD: it’s raw, it’s kinda lightweight, tail happy, and I love how it looks.

I was watching used cars ads for a while looking for a six cylinder E21, and that was the cheapest. I really like to travel anywhere on good quality B-roads, because I like fast cornering. Lateral G’s are my best friend.

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Michael Beury Jr.
Michael Beury Jr.

That is a beautiful machine. I hope to one day bring my E30 to a glory similar to this. Clean and fresh, no need to slam and go gaudy on it. Love it.

joyce
joyce

what is wrong with gypsies driving a BMW?

Gabor
Gabor

Bela,
Your car is absolutely fabulous. Very nice to see a superb example of a well sorted machine run by an enthusiast – and not the typical gangster type. Thanks to the background, I have better appreciation of what my Hungarian relatives must have thought of me when I answered the “what do you drive?” question. (Had I know, I would have said -“Golf!”) BMWs can be equal to Chevys here in SoCal.
Really good enthusiast article!
Gabor
😉

André Paluch
André Paluch

Used to own a 323i. My first car. I always said it would be my first and last car, until the day it was robbed. Never did anything put a bigger smile on my face than revving the engine, the wheels pointing outwards and the rear sliding. And that 6 cylinder was the best orchestra I ever heard play (even when it was running only on 4 lol). Every time I see one I just stop and marvel at it; deep down I still believe I will get my car back (even though I know it is impossible, as it… Read more »

maupurr
maupurr

Csoda egy gép!

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

You’ve got to love the E21 and this particular example looks amazing. Kudos for not going with 18’s and slamming it to the ground, which seem so popular nowadays.

Rob
Rob

Beautiful job restoring this 320!
Looks like a quality restoration.
Must be a hoot to drive on the twisties.
You would make BMW proud.

TJ Martin
TJ Martin

Isn’t it ironic that BMW’s have such a negative reputation across the entire Globe … even in places like Hungary ? Not because of the cars themselves mind you . But because of the majority of people who own and drive them . Its kind of a shame that such good cars have managed to appeal to such a vast number of idiots , criminal types , @$&hats and lowlifes . Fact is .. I cannot think of another manufacture that does have such a massive worldwide negative stigma attached to its cars and owners . A genuine case when… Read more »

Emerson Shaw
Emerson Shaw

Simply flawless.