Question of the Week!

E30 missing plate holder

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!