This BMW E30 isn't just a work of art with its Pandem widebody, custom BBS wheels, perfect stance, and individual throttle body setup. It's a true labor of love as Mano Aguilian built it for his son, Emmanuel "Eman" Aguilian. Of course, Mano didn't simply hand his 16-year-old the keys to a fully built car. Instead, he made a deal with his son: If he could get straight A's in school, he'd help him build a car. Eman did what any other teenager would do and rose to the occasion.
Upon Eman fulfilling his side of the promise, Mano was able to pick up the perfect starter car for him, this '89 325is. The only caveat was that it had a snapped timing belt, among other things. With plenty of BMW rebuilds under Mano's belt, though, he didn't have many issues bringing the broken E30 back to life. However, when the first stage of the project was done, both Mano and Eman weren't exactly satisfied with the power. So Mano took the next step and found an '89 BMW 535i that was hit from the side. The salvaged car ended up having the perfect powerplant to drop into the E30.
It doesn't sound like much in comparison to today's modern sports cars, but the 220hp M30 mill out of the 535i was a huge difference from the car's original 167hp M20. After the swap was finished, Mano fabricated custom equal-length headers that lead to Borla true dual 2.25" piping, an X-pipe, and ATAK mufflers. Borla then made special 2900 Series 50mm DCOE-type throttle bodies and air horns for the straight-six. The final tune produced 260 hp and 300 lb-ft of torque.
Next on the priority list came aesthetics. The Aguilians reached out to LTMW for body and paintwork, and as luck would have it, Long Tran from LTMW in El Monte, California, was looking for an E30 to fit one of the first Pandem widebodies on. The 10-piece kit was installed with ease and brought out the front fenders 50 mm wider per side in the front and 70 mm per corner in the rear. Eman envisioned his car slammed to the ground, but there were some clearance issues after the Air Lift air suspension was equipped. "My dad had to restructure the whole front upper frame, wheelwells, and rear quarter-panels in order for the car to be slammed and turn without any rubbing," Eman told us.
With the safety concerns addressed, Mano dressed the interior with quintessential MOMO accessories that included Supercup bucket seats and a gangster 50th anniversary steering wheel.
It's not every day you see a father-son duo like Eman and Mano. It's as if Eman—young teenager—is the visionary and Mano—the experienced mechanic and car builder—makes sure everything is structurally sound. We just hope that one day Eman will pay it forward and build a car with his own son.