Georg Plasa Judd V8-Powered 1990 BMW 320i and welcome back

car of the day 2024 #1: reconnecting over a universally loved hillclimb car

Georg Plasa Judd V8-Powered 1990 BMW 320i and welcome back
The picture might be blurry, but the sound is sweet… kind of like the unknown promise of a new year.

Its creator, Georg Plasa, is no longer with us, but the shivers its howling V8 produces will live on forever. Because fireworks on New Year’s are customary, and fireworks are just explosions, consider that a high-revving V8 is simply a high-quality box of fireworks rigged to a human-pedaled fuse. Happy New Year.

This morning, as I welcomed the new year after rolling out of bed way too late, I thought of this special 1990 BMW 320i. Car sounds relax me, and call me a freak but its hillclimb-appropriate KV675 V8 is as close to angelic as I’ve found. 

No matter what mood I’m in, it’s this YouTube video that jackhammers my brain into focus:

It’s not just me: long before YouTube was even a thing, Plasa and his special BMW shattered eardrums and stage times at hillclimbs across Europe, with event DVDs like the one above serving to immortalize this machine wherever quality automotive content is found.

Since Plasa’s death during competition in 2011 while driving the successor to this car, a BMW 134, this E36 had been stored as a complete car before being rebuilt ahead of the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Who could be trusted with such a task? Klaus Wohlfarth and his team — aka the world-renowned KW Suspension. The old BMW eventually finished third behind only the NIO EP9 supercar and Volkswagen ID.R during the Goodwood Shootout finale in 2018. Wow.

Written up extensively by the likes of Máté Petrány at Road & Track, featured by KW during its restoration, filmed by the likes of 19Bozzy92 during its Goodwood appearances, and rediscovered through remastered period footage, it’s clear the memory of this special BMW will linger for a while longer. Go looking and you'll find much more.

Retailed as a coupé. Reborn as a race car. Rebuilt as tribute. Remembered for the fireworks. Welcome, 2024.