Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS
Written by Dave Pankew | Photos by Brian Fross

We all look for deals when it comes to cars and parts to make them go fast. I highly doubt anyone would bring a $500 car to SEMA, but that is just what this car’s builder did. Owner Ary Minassian of Northridge, CA wanted to build up an E30 to promote his business, EuroStop USA. But at the same time, he didn’t have the budget to build a project with the money most SEMA cars swallow up. He had to be resourceful and clever to meet budget concerns and have a car that attracted attention.

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

“I found this car on Craigslist for about $500.00 bucks.” said Minassian. “I went to look at the car and it looked like complete pile! But I knew it had potential for what I had in mind. After a few months, I decided I wanted to go crazy and started the body work M3 widebody. After taking the car to SEMA 2008, a year passed and I changed up the car again for the following year. I changed the hood truck and wheels and added all the race decals. I can’t stop. People say I’m obsessed, but it’s just what I love to do!”

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

With cost in mind, everything was examined to see if there was a better alternative. The engine build began as a healthy 2.5L M20 motor with fresh gaskets, ported heat and ARP studs. A custom turbo setup was made around a Garrett T3/T04E turbo with a 50-trim. Since there really are no mass market kits for this motor everything was custom. The intercooler, the piping and even add-ons like the catch can and filter relocation kit were all done on a budget.

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

The suspension was critical to get the right stance and put some athleticism back in this 22-year old. A set of adjustable KONI dampers were added with some heavy rated springs for ultimate handling. A set of camber plates were added to dial-in the camber and custom polished strut bars tied it all back up. To put it down to the ground, Minassian gave up trying to find original BBS wheels and went for the next best thing, ESM 002 alloys in 16x9-inch with a negative offset. A set of Toyo R888s in 245/45R16 all around maintain stupid amounts of grip on the track and street.

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

The attention turned to the exterior where the dirty-E-30 had to shine at SEMA. Minassian started by contacting DTMFiberWerkz.com for literally everything he could find for the E30. He ordered an entire GTR widebody kit complete with the M3-style fenders that are a full 2-inches wider than stock. A carbon fiber splitter, trunk and mirrors were added to complement the flap wing and eyelids. From there Minassian installed some of his own gear including a EuroStop: CF hood, CF sunroof and the trademark highbeam intakes.

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

The interior of the project maintains many of the classic E30 interior parts. If you have ever owned one of these machines, you will know the interior was light years ahead of its time. Only Audi rivaled BMW interiors for years until the rest of the world caught up. The console has been replaced with a DTMFiberWerkz.com but the balance is mostly BMW. The original seats were predictably destroyed and had to be replaced with some hardcore holders like the NRG carbon fiber race buckets with matching NRG harnesses. The whole ensemble is surrounded by a custom 6-point cage, which is color-matched and features a camera mount.

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

For a project that costs fractions of your average SEMA build, we have to hand it to Minassian. His creativity and hard work paid off because the car got noticed two years in a row even though it was the same car. We look forward to seeing what EuroStop has cooked up for us at SEMA 2010!

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

Owner: Ary Minassian
Location: Northridge, CA 
Vehicle: 1988 BMW 325iS
Power: 300whp (est)
Engine: BMW 2.5L M20 Inline-6

Garrett T3/T04E turbo 50-trim
ARP head studs
MLS head gasket
Custom equal length tubular turbo manifold
Custom FMIC and custom piping
Painted intake manifold and valve cover
Aluminum Radiator

Megasquirt2 ECU

ESM 002 Alloys 16x9-inch
Toyo R888 with 245/45R16

Koni adjustable dampers
Custom spring rates
Front adjustable camber plates
Front and rear polished strut bars

Bodywork by EUROSTOPUSA.com 
DTMFiberWerkz.com widebody kit:
M3 style fenders, rear bumper, front bumper
Carbon fiber splitter
Vented carbon fiber mirrors
Carbon fiber trunk
Gurney flap-wing 
EUROSTOP (Carbon fiber sunroof, Carbon fiber hood with custom cutout, Headlight high beam air duct inlets)

NRG carbon fiber racing seats
NRG harnesses
NRG carbon fiber shifter
Custom 6-point roll cage color matched to car with camera mount
DTMFiberWerkz custom carbon fiber center console
Autometer gauges

DTM Fiberwerkz
ESM wheels
NRG Innovation
Groma Race Fabrications
JS Design
Richard Reyes

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

Hidden Gem: Ary Minassian's 1988 BMW 325iS

More Vehicle Features

Rally Inspired: 2012 Hyundai Veloster

Designed to be sporty vehicle with excellent fuel economy, the Hyundai Veloster is an ideal vehicle for drivers that want to get a little more performance from their car without sacrificing gas mileage. When ARK Performance got its hands on…
Read More

Joyride: Derek Covington's Broad & Boosted 2003 Honda S2000

The Honda S2000 is a special car to a lot of people, Honda included. Initially introduced to the market in 1999 for Honda’s 50th anniversary, the S2K was the pinnacle of Honda’s engineering at the time all squeezed down into…
Read More

Rock Steady: Rockford Fosgate's 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR

The trend towards serious audio installs straight off the dealer floor is exploding. Everything down to your basic econobox has all of the 12V gear today’s consumer wants. Some sub-$30K cars come standard with navigation, Bluetooth, backup cams, music kegs,…
Read More


When audio builds come with two-tone paint jobs and two-tone interiors you know they mean business. Especially when they rock it in cream and orange like my personal favorite frozen treat, the Creamsicle. With a tangy orange interior and smooth…
Read More

Let the Good Times Roll: A.R.E.'s 2015 Ford F-150 Platinum

A.R.E.’S F-150 Fun Factory. Running around SEMA is kind of like being at an exotic car show. In the same way that the fifth Ferrari you see is less exciting than the first, seeing the same vehicles at the show…
Read More