Meet Chappie.

There’s a simple difference between incompetently hacking up a perfectly good shell “because ‘racecar’” and confidently building a rough and tumble street machine that’s down for whatever. One’s a weak excuse for half-assery. The other’s an everyday Joe’s Skunkworks.

When it comes to BMWs, the list of models we love is a mile long. From the 2002 and the 507 to the M1 and the Z1, there’s literally dozens of Bimers we’d like to learn more about—but where do you start?

E30, naturally.

Every generation has its unicorns; those storied models that stood the test of time and proved themselves worthy of appreciation (in more ways than one). You might favor the E36, E24, and E31—I know I do—but if there was one Bimer that set the world on fire and continues to burn brightly as ever, it’s the humble E30.

[tgp] Introductions: My understanding is you’ve got a pretty slick, rally-inspired E30. Is that correct? Anything else you’d like to mention?

[you] My E30 started life as an ‘85 318i. I got it from a friend of mine. He was going to junk it so I saved it and named it Chappie like the movie. I’ve always loved old rally cars so I decided to go that route.

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On E30s…

[tgp] The most important automotive opinions are those of real, actual owners. As an E30 owner, could you share a little unvarnished truth with the rest of us? What do you love about them? What do you not love about them?

[you] The drive is just so much different from any other cars I’ve owned or driven. I grew up with Pontiac and Chevy cars and when I got an E30 back in 2005 I just fell in love. The simplicity of it and the handling, it’s honestly the best all around car. You can take it up the canyons, track, dirt trails and then pick up the kids from school.

[tgp] How did you end up in this camp? Why have you stuck around as long as you have?

[you] One of my old coworkers, when I was 14, had one and it just caught my eye. My sister then got one when I was 15 and I just got hooked. I’ve been stuck on them because of the community and just love the BMW E30 platform.

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The BMW community…

[tgp] How’s the BMW community doing these days? Where do y’all hangout, share tech, and whatnot?

[you] The BMW community, especially the E30 community, has always been a huge part of me. We have local meets. We all have a lot of knowledge for these cars. We usually hang out at my shop for the most part or go out for drives. For a bit the community did die out, but now it’s bigger and better in my opinion. We have always helped one another, even when we just know each other from online or social media.

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This gearhead life…

[tgp] When you think about automotive culture in general, what stands out as being the biggest issue we should be working on together? What’s your biggest concern and what should we be doing about it?

[you] My biggest concern is young people not getting to know cars as a love activity. They go out buying what’s hot and not really understanding the vehicle. They want more and more power when they can’t handle it and more and more accidents are happening, especially in canyons, meaning more police force that messes it up for the rest of us that love to go for a canyon run.

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[tgp] Who’s made the biggest difference in your life with cars? How so?

[you] My big brother, who recently passed away, was who made the biggest difference in my life with cars. He showed me around cars and to learn to take it apart, just to learn and fix my own car whenever anything does go wrong.

Would you like to know more?

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