The mighty but rare BMW 333i or as some say, the Triple 3!

This BMW e30 is not like anything you have can imagine, it is more rare and in some ways more special than the the E30 M3 ( hard to imagine but wait and see why)

We will start with why this elusive BMW Triple 3 was created in the first place, The BMW E30 M3 was a built for homologation reasons so that the company could enter its E30 into some racing events.

The E30 M3 featured a lightweight body complete with box-flared arches, powered by a high-revving four-cylinder motor however not all markets would be fortunate enough to receive this euro street machine.

South Africa being one of these markets to not receive the BMW E30 M3, and being a country with a massive passion for all things automotive, they decide to take history into their own hands and create their own variant aim at the group 1 racing division ( unfortunately the division never materialised)

The 333i was a collaboration between BMW South Africa and Alpina in Germany. It basically started out as a standard E30 325i, but quite a few changes were made, the most important and impressive being the engine.

This ultra rare BMW was destined for South Africa but built in Germany and only about 200 units were ever made (are you starting to see why this may be even more special than the M3 yet?)

The engine that would end up in the 325i chassis was a M30B32 engine, which at the time was fitted in the much larger 533i, 633CSi and 733i models.

A specially-developed inlet and exhaust manifolds and plenum chamber, heavy-duty copper-cored radiator, and various other cast alloy bits were supplied by Alpine. The Bosch L-Jetronic fuel management system was also modified, with all these upgrades resulting in a substantially altered torque curve that was a lot more potent in the lower rev range. The numbers: 194hp at 5,500rpm and 295Nm of torque at 4,300rpm.

The engine was physically much larger than the usual unit found in these cars, so it took some work to fit it inside the engine bay. It was such a tight fit in fact, that buyers would have one of two options when buying the car. If they wanted the car with air conditioning – they would have to sacrifice power steering. If they really wanted power steering, they’d have to forego the air conditioner system, just crazy!

Colours options for the 333i were very limited but not this is not a bad thing in some cases, the colour options were, Henna Red, Ice White, Diamond Black and lastly Aero Silver.

The interior also has some unique attributes. Alpina provided the instrument cluster with red needles, a detail normally only reserved for BMW M-cars. Everything that could be was covered in leather, including the sport seats, steering wheel, and gear knob, which was also adorned with some classic M-stripes

Altough you might be thinking that this is and M3 copy cat or less version, but in fact it is not, with the input from Alpina and M additions – the BMW e30 333i is no copy cat but a purpose built solution to problem that has never been repeated afeter BMW saw the love the South African community has for the M division.

A member Perth’s Finest team was lucky enough to see one of these In South Africa durning the M Fest weekend held at Kayalami Race Track.

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BMW e30 333i
BMW e30 M3
BMW e30 325i
BMW Triple 3