Original Winfield BMW E30 325i Shadowline

BMW 325i Shadowline in action at Knysna Hill ClimbYear Raced: 1985 and 1986
Owner: BMW South Africa
Prepared by:
Tony Viana

- M20 Type 2.5 litre Straight Six
Power Output at Flywheel @ Sea Level: approximately 140kW
Differential: Limited Slip Diff
- Bilstein Shock Absorbers, with H&R Springs being used all round
Exhaust System: made by Van Der Linde Systems

Year Restored: 2010, by Evolution 2 Motorsport
Current Owner: Peter Kaye-Eddie
Drivers: Geoff Goddard, Robbi Smith, Mike Briggs (Festival of Speed 2018), Roelf du Plessis (Festival of Speed 2019)

Interesting Facts:
- Homologation special by BMW SA Motorsport (It is 1 of 10 BMW E30 325i's at the time to be sanctioned by BMW to campaign in Group N Class A)
- Built 4km from Welkom Race Track, in Odendaalsrus by Tony Viana and Kobus van der Watt
- Competed in the Stannic Group N Series, driven by Tony Viana
- South African Champion 1985 and 1986
- Raced against Opel’s ‘Superboss’ and the JSN Motors BMW E30 325i Shadowline
- YouTube Video: Knysna Hill Climb 2012

Tony Viana's Winfield BMW 325i Shadowline: The Shadowline’s main claim to fame was a higher compression version of the 2.5-litre straight six powerplant, and it was rated at 126kW and 226Nm – slightly more powerful but quite a lot more torquey than the mill fitted to the normal four-door. The hot version also had a limited-slip differential, while an ‘executive option’ package added electric front windows, aircon and power steering. A pair of front foglamps made kerbside ID easier. Without extras the basic Shadowline weighed in at a lean 1 140kg and this is how the racers were specced.

Most race drivers are unemotional about their race cars, usually disposing of them to fund the next one. Being a works car, this one ended up parked at Viana’s Odendaalsrus premises at the end of the 1987 season but by 1990 it had moved across the Vaal to occupy a rectangle under hail netting at BMW Motorsport in Midrand. When the racing team moved from there the car made a short hop to BMW HQ alongside the motorway, its slow decline continuing in a lonely corner of the employee’s parking area. After a while it passed to Goddard, a faithful servant of BMW South Africa on road and track, for a nominal R1. It was a small price to pay for the technical expertise and driving skill he had contributed to the brand.

The BMW 325i Shadowline in actionIt stood – now shrouded in a tarpaulin – for many years on his property near Pretoria, then was moved to an adjacent plot, taking up residence in a barn. For a while its only companions were rats and farm workers, who found that its grey tartan-trimmed back seat made the perfect dining area, and also proved ideal for post-prandial naps.

So when Goddard finally accepted that his dream of refurbishing it to its former glory wasn’t going to come true, he offered it to his mate Peter Kaye-Eddie, the nuggety property tycoon whose passion for motorsport is undiminished after four decades. Once again the car stood, but then the restoration began, first with a body overhaul and respray in its original colors, and then a rebuild at Evolution 2 Motorsport in Kyalami, the same company which revitalized the 745i Viana used in the last year of Group One and which is now campaigned successfully by motorsport connoisseur Paolo Cavalieri. The vast majority of the work has been carried out by Wade Noble, the trainee technician who is Alec Ceprnich’s understudy, and well on his way to becoming a first-class car builder.

The result is stunning. Stand back a few paces and it is – oval number boards aside – faithful to the car which Viana used to such good effect. Step closer and a couple of interesting details become apparent, like the chrome finisher strip (rather than a black one) on the rain gutter? No one seems to know, but we surmise that the donor shell, because it was an early two-door used for checking and measuring at the plant, didn’t have the ‘Shadowline’ cosmetic treatment in its entirety. It is also shod with 15-inch wheels, taking advantage of the fact that rules allow cars to run an inch bigger than they did historically. Look inside them and those in the know will realize the discs and calipers are from an E36 3 Series, but apart from that, it’s pure 1980s.

3 friends with an iconOpen the bonnet and you can’t help but be impressed by the new hoses, rubbers and cabling virtually throughout. The radiator is new too, as are the plastic windscreen washer bottle and header tanks.

Apart from the tubular exhaust manifold (replacing the specially-developed cast item used originally to increase clearance to the steering rack) and the exhaust heat shield, it is visually correct. But inside the engine a few things have changed: the camshaft is the slightly more radical item from the later 325is and a Schnitzer engine management chip helps to up power to 111kW at the wheels. Ceprnich reckons flywheel output at sea level should be close to 140.

There are a few suspension changes, and Bilstein dampers and H&R springs are used all round, while lower control arm bushes are from the E30 M3 – a tweak that was allowed back in the day. However, this tacitly-approved mod was what undid Smith and the Kaye-Eddie outfit in 1986, and with a three-race ban imposed, Viana had a far less difficult time securing the sought-after A1 plate for 1987. But that’s another story. Read the full article now on www.topcar.co.za

[Written by Adrian Burford for www.topcar.co.za]

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