E30 Updates

E30 Updates is the E30 Update blog.


E30 Updates is the E30 Update blog. Posting new products, capturing events, and other adventures with Michael’s 1986 BMW 325es.

  • E30 Cigarette Lighter Retainer Clip
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    E30 Cigarette Lighter Retainer Clip

    In true old-school BMW fashion, E30s were not equipped with cup holders. While not as much of a space hog, they were able to find a spot for a cigarette lighter (where you plug in your USB dock ;)) in the center console. While nearly every car ever made after WWII has one of these conveniences, the cigarette lighter retainer clip is somehow one of the weak points of the E30 interior.

    It’s no secret that BMW tends to err on the side of over-engineering. True to form, the cigarette lighter, or more accurately, the cigarette lighter retainer clip, is a tiny, over-engineered piece of plastic, Even in the E30. It is a translucent amber, cylindrical plastic sleeve. Halfway around the circumference from each other, two clips protrude from the top ring and past the outer wall. The two clips hold the the canister to the ash tray assembly for inserting DC power adapters. Like much of the other plastic attached to these 80s legends, this little plastic clip becomes brittle and often disintegrates after 30+ years. The power port is then left to float around in the cavity between the console and the transmission tunnel.

    At this point the port is resting on the two electrical leads at the bottom of the can. Because it is in the vicinity of the ash tray which most people fill with loose change, a coin can find its way underneath the cigarette lighter port, bridge the two leads and short the circuit – or worse… ask me how I know.

    Printed in clear translucent PETG, the replacement cigarette lighter retainer clip from E30 Update has been engineered to be stronger than OEM. E30 Update now has an OEM style replacement if yours has cracked and dropped out of the ash tray. It is not amber like the original, so we recommend replacing the stock illumination with a red or amber LED replacement lighting.

    If you prefer a stock console setup, this cigarette lighter retainer clip from E30 Update is a must. Installation is super breezy, and when installed, it provides a firm, like-new DC outlet experience. E30 owners no longer have to find random less than ideal solutions for plugging in a USB dock, or even a cigarette lighter!

  • 1st year / Independence Day Sale

    To celebrate Independence Day (and our first year in business) we’re having our first ever…..


    Use the code “E30U23” to get 23% off all items in the shop..


    Have a fantastic 4th – and maybe get a little work done on that #e30

  • At The Vintage 2023


    The Vintage 2023

    What an incredible event! For anyone who wasn’t there, you just have to know, At The Vintage 2023 ended with a spectacular double rainbow and a black bear!

    Now that I gave away maybe the best part of this years event, I do want to say Scott & team once again did world-class job organizing “Another Great Event” for At The Vintage 2023. This year was my second year back after having not been since 2015 when it was in the Winston Salem area, and my first ever as a vendor. And first time as a vendor anywhere for that matter!

    I have to admit I feel a bit awkward just bursting back in to the scene and immediately trying to hawk E30 parts. But after so much positive feedback last year hanging out at the Clarion hotel and at the main event in Hot Springs, talking to event goers and other vendors, I felt confident the At The Vintage crowd would be accepting of my vendor-ship this year. I was thrilled to have my highest hopes validated.

    In fact, I was a little amazed at how many times I heard the phrase “Thank you for doing this”! So I want to give a huge “THANKS!” to everyone who stopped by the booth and offered support, insights, and ideas for future parts!

    Already the orders are coming in and we’ve only just gotten started. While that tells me we are on to something, I’m also just thrilled I’m able to use my skills to give something back to a community that is just as passionate about these cars as I am.

    If you’ve never been to “The Vintage” before and you are on the East coast, I hope you’ll come check out the event next year. There are tons of great people, great cars spanning from “barely got here” to “Pebble Beach”. Above all it’s just a bunch of great people and it’s just superchill.

    I can’t promise a double rainbow, but if you own a vintage BMW or appreciate vintage German cars, you’ll have a fantastic time!

  • Love 4 The Diving Board

    This is a project that’s been on the list for a while, but recently I saw several prople on the forums and reddit looking for something like this, so I decided to go ahead and bump it to the front of the E30 Update project list. 


    If you know anything about the E30, you probably know about pre & post-update versions. Before 1988, the US models shipped with the endearingly nicknamed “Diving Board” bumper; a big, bulky, impact regulation-meeting aluminum beam. Some people replace them with the Euro bumpers if they’ve got the kachinga, which, not gonna hate on that, they do look nice. At the very least they get tucked, which is a nice compromise and definitely one of the mods I’m thinking about for my car. Either way, while generally considered an inferior design to what was sold in Europe and the rest of the world before the 1988 update, I think it has aged, kind of like a fine cheese; a little stinky, but still, a delicacy to the seasoned pallet :p

    So I thought it was time to give the “Diving Board” a little deserved attention. 

    What would that be? Well the issue is the US front plate frame. Some states require front plates, but many don’t. So adding to the somewhat inelegant presence of the US spec bumper, is this dangling hunk of plastic which, may or may not need to be there. But if it doesn’t need to be there, you can’t really remove it, or else you’re left with the bare aluminum beam revealing the license plate frame brackets and some holes, including the tow hook hole. And nobody is going to do that unless they just don’t have it anymore. Which, many cars don’t. Even if they did, they don’t have any real way to mount a Euro-style plate like you could with the ’88 and on bumpers. Now there are a couple other guys out there making a similar part, but it doesn’t look quite “stock”, and it doesn’t have a “designed in” way to mount the Euro plate.

    So I made the E30 Diving board trim strip to solve all these problems. If your state doesn’t require you to have a front plate, you can take the US plate frame off and streamline the look of your “Diving Board”. And if you like the Euro plate look, it’s got the Euro plate holes too. Even if your state does require a front plate, you can mount it over the Diving Board strip if you use longer screws. So you don’t have to you know, zip-tie it on or something like that… I’ve seen your pics bro! 

    What you see here is the first prototype, but I made a few tweaks before I putting it on the site. First, I designed it a little tight, so I reduced the overall width by a few millimeters. Then I got a DM from a guy about the reddit poll I did for this project, and that’s when I realized that you could still mount a US plate on this with longer screws, so I added leveling around the US plate mount holes. That way if you do want or need to mount a US plate it doesn’t angle up awkwardly. Lastly, I added the tow hook hole with a little twist-off beauty cap. I also made a couple other little tweaks to make it a little easier to install which you’ll be able to see in the pics on the shop page. This part is made from professional grade MJF (Multijet Fusion) process plastic, and should provide many years of classy 80s impact resistance trimming! 

    So here’s the deal! For the first 10+ orders, I can get the price down to $129. Because I’m small time & don’t spend money on Google ads & keywords & stuff like that I’m going to put a 30 day “Deal Period” on it. After that, the price will go up to the one-off price. So if I only get 9 orders in 30 days, nobody gets the discount, and if I get 99 orders in 30 days everyone gets the discount! So I’m pretty sure there are 99 E30s out there that need this… (mine did!). So if you’ve got a diving board E30, go order a front bumper strip at e30update.com! If you do, I’d love to see some pics of it installed! Post it on reddit or insta or wherever and let me know!

  • Question of the Week!

    I had an idea for a new part a while back, and then a few weeks later I noticed a few people looking for that exact part on various social media platforms. So I decided to go ahead and make it. I knew it was going to be a bit on the expensive side, but when I got the quote back, I knew it would be a hard sell to the E30 community.

    While it’s a cool idea, it’s apparently not that cool according to the poll results on the E30 Reddit.

    My 1987 BMW 325es missing the USA plate bracket for measuring replacement design.
    My 1987 BMW 325es missing the USA plate bracket for measuring replacement design.

    In the 70s and 80s, US crash protection regulations began throwing car manufacturers into a proverbial spin to design around the new impact safety requirements. As a short-term result, hideous, giant bumpers began growing out of the front and rear ends of almost all products of the era, and BMW wasn’t immune to this phenomenon. They did the best they could, but the “Diving Board” bumpers are still considered an inferior design compared to the European version of the same models.

    In addition to the less than elegant bumper design, many US states require a license plate to be mounted on the front of the car. The way BMW designed the plastic front license plate bracket, is rather than making it a separate part that mounted over the trim, it simply replaced that section of trim. As happens with many old car parts, over time they become old, brittle, break, get lost and leave an unsightly gap in the bumper – as can be seen in the image above. Not that having the plate bracket on looks that much better. ​But not all states require a front plate.

    For the “Series 2” E30s introduced in 1899, BMW had a more elegant solution for the bumpers; a more modern, “integrated” bumper with an ABS plastic shell. One nice thing about the updated bumper clip was that it accommodated both US, and Euro plate designs. So many enthusiasts living in states that don’t demand a legal front plate will opt to affix a euro front plate for th “cool factor” – like I did on my previous E30. And if you didn’t want or have a plate to put there, the black strip continued cleanly across the front of the bumper. 

    So as you have probably already guessed, the idea is to design a replacement strip for the pre-update, “Diving Board” bumpers that will accommodate the Euro spec plates (and US too with longer screws). The design is completed and quoted, and now I’m just trying to figure out if anyone would actually buy one.

    What do you think? Reply in the comments, or if you see this before the Reddit poll closes go put your vote in! Maybe it will be in the shop soon! Remember, if you become a 325es patron, you’ll get to see WIP updates and get discounts on your purchase! Give a like and subscribe to the little YouTube channel while you’re at it!

    NOTE 04/03/23: the Patreon page has been closed for now. We have had a couple requests to put it back up, so if we get a little more interest for Patreon we will definitely consider getting it back online. We’re definitely not going to turn down cash flow which would definitely help us get more parts online faster! Please let us know if you are interested in contributing!

  • Glove Box Latch Part 2 – The Fix!

    The update is up! See how I fixed the broken glove box latch on my 1987 325es.

  • Sneak Peek!

    (Part of) a future product just in! Super excited! Can you guess what it is?

  • First Vid Live!

    OMG I can’t believe I’m a YouTuber now. Well, here goes! In this first video, I “break into” my 1987 BMW 325es glove box. I finally get it unbolted and loose, but that’s just the beginning of the story. The solution spawned a YouTube channel, a website, half a dozen products and many more product ideas. Find out how it all unfolds in part two. If you like and subscribe it will help keep the web site up, and the new products coming! And if you have an E30, replace your glove box latches with these sweet replacement parts!

  • Coming soon!

    First YouTube video! What to do about a broken glove box latch?


Michael’s first car out college was a Brilliantrot 1990 BMW 325is coupe. He was in love. He was going to drive it for the rest of his life, but then tragedy struck. The car was destroyed in a traffic accident in 2018. After test driving several E36es and E46es he finally found a 1987 “325” es. It was then he realized; he truly was an E30 guy. This blog captures some of the adventures with his example of the car knows as “God’s chariot”.

We’ve also got the Facebook & Instagram things, cuz, links.