One Friday evening while standing at the ATM queue at the service station to draw some money for a Friday night out, a BMW e30 325iS – which really made me recall the seamless 325iS my father owned in the late 90s – showed up impeccably, and looking all-original.
My father had given it over to my 35-year-old brother after it developed some fuel injection snags and he [Dad] wasn’t really prepared for such a thing. I never got to see the car ever again.
Right after admiring the 325iS, which brought back all those memories of the long-gone “Gusheshe” my dad had, it made its noise and off it headed to the east disappearing in the taxi jammed Soweto streets.
The e30 325iS is now being sought after by collectors who are willing to pay at least double the launch price for a clean factory-standard example.
They are also properly respected by the youth, who are often younger than the vehicle itself.
What’s in the name … Gusheshe ?
So much is said about it, and so many people want it. Some lucky individuals own one, but don’t want to part with it.
To refresh your mind a bit, the 325iS (commonly referred to on the street as the “Gusheshe”) was aimed at dethroning the dominant “Big Boss” Kadett 16V in Class A of the exciting and competitive Stannic Group N Production Car Championship series.
It was launched in the first half of 1990, was equipped with aluminium doors, fenders and bonnet, was fitted with the 5-stud race-tuned suspension from the European BMW e30 M3 (never made available in SA due to its right-hand only production) and was, most importantly, endowed with a butter-smooth, Alpina-fettled, 2.7-litre version of BMW’s M20 straight-six engine, spec’d at a healthy 145 kW @ 5800rpm and 265 Nm @ 4000rpm.
Gusheshe is a term South Africans use to label the iconic e30 BMW 325is for its power and translates to “very fast”.
It thrilled me to find out that not only the black community labels the e30 325iS that way; in fact, it is referred to in that by almost everyone. From all these streets across South African communities, the word ‘Gusheshe’ crosses the mouths of locals.
The year 1985 saw the introduction of one of the most brutally contested race series in South Africa: group N for production vehicles.
It became clear that the e30 M3 would not be coming to SA due to its left-hand drive production and we got the 325iS instead.
This car gained immense popularity as well as notoriety over the decades, having been used as the getaway car of choice in many a heist. BMW claimed a 0-100 time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of just over 225km/h, which was quite something for its time.
The Gusheshe has become popular in the local “spinning” scene, too, because of its rear-wheel drive layout and easily controllable nature while doing doughnuts and burnouts.
It is hailed as the car of all cars among local drag racers and car fanatics in Mzansi for its spinning, racing and drifting capabilities. Recently the South African hip-hop scene has come out with tracks mentioning the cult classic, Cassper Nyovest had Gusheshe ft Okmaloomkoolkat and rapper Sheen Skaiz did Gusheshe Versace Freestyle.
All these translations and meanings confirm that the e30 325iS is indeed renowned. But here it shows just how this cult classic has moved on from an era when these cars were brilliant race-track champions in our inimitable Stannic Group N Racing Series.
There are noticeable differences between the e30 M3 and the 325iS. Although some parts were shared between the two cars, such as the chassis and suspension, the differences make each car unique in its own special way.
Track inspiration was then used in the road-going cars to give true purpose to the words Sheer Driving Pleasure for the public, and now, some 24 years on, this vehicle is still in the limelight. Whether you are a car fanatic and remember those glory days of racing, or even if you are a youngster, you probably want one of these cars.
Fortunately, we have people who treasure this legendary vehicle and always make sure the name survives.
Fast facts about the e30 325iS
How long? 4325 mm
How heavy? 1147 kg
What size engine? 2.7 litre, 2693 cm3
How many cylinders? 6, Straight
How much power? 145 kW@ 5800 rpm
How much torque? 265 Nm @ 4000 rpm
How quick? 0-100 km/h: 7.5 s
How fast? 225 km/h