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Pistons & Pivots

Pistons & Pivots: Noah's BMW E30 Pickup

Photos Deniz Merdano
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Pistons and Pivots features cool vehicles with character, and a little about their owners and the bikes they ride.

If you've got a vehicle and bike that fit the series, we'd love to help you share them with a wider audience.

You can submit your vehicle in one of two ways:

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We'll get in touch to work on featuring them on the site.

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Das Camino the 1986 BMW E30 pickup.

Das Camino

Sometimes there is a man, he is a man of his time and place. He doesn't think like all the others. Grinding through the day from 9 to 5, working for the man. The desire to create and make something different just tugs at his being. Rather than regurgitating the same old porridge, he takes what's good and makes it better.

This man is Noah Wilcox.

I was directed towards Noah's existence through a mutual friend who knew about the Pistons and Pivots series. My desire to find something unique and beautiful is challenged daily by the utilitarian handsomeness of the Toyotas that surround me.

Noah is a creative young man. Like creative young men before him, he took a path less traveled by while creating Das Camino.

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The iconic round headlight simplicity of the 90s BMW.

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The kidney grill and all the right proportions.

in 1986, the M department at the Bavarian company decided to have a bit of fun with the cars they had access to and possibly facilitated by the lax management of those days, chopped the rear half of an E30 into a pickup truck/ute. Their actions were fueled by the need to haul parts around the expansive factory, and having a unique toy to play with. This toy actually managed to stay in the workforce until 2011 when it was restored and put away to make space for the next gen ute they would release.

BMW makes exciting cars to drive. There is an unlimited amount of footage of M3s plowing into crowds and curbs all around the world at car meets. The desire to drive a BMW sideways is the epitome of reckless youth exercising their freedom to hurt, and get hurt.

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Carries 2 bikes no problem.

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And without bikes, it can carry a bunch.

Noah picked up the 1986 325e that had 360xxx kms on the clock with bad paint and was the less than desirable "eta" model that output significantly less horsepower than the 325i. Noah decided he wasn't going to be angering any purist German car lovers with his sawzall parade. In November of 2019, Noah broke his scapula racing flat track motorcycles. With his arm in a sling, he taped the saw to his hand and cut the back right off of the unsuspecting E30. As 2020 rolled in, the lonely time that was the COVID pandemic gave him the opportunity to focus his energy into building something unique at his East Vancouver garage.

As the car started to deconstruct, it began to turn into a local interpretation of the cult famous E30 factory pickup. A first gen Dodge Dakota provided the back of the cab but after that Noah wandered around the wrecker with a template in his functioning hand looking for the best donor truck. Once the fab work was done, he sprayed the Camino with Tremclad thinned through a spray gun. His desire to mix his own green was met with the possibility of having to re-paint later on as he would be driving the shit out of it. So he stuck with the paint that came out of the can rather than the deeper green he was after. And we all know what happens to cars painted in BRG, a cursed colour that is.

The hand riveted rear lexan was eventually replaced by custom cut tempered glass.

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Plenty of clearance with the lighter back.

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Tires are bigger than stock, but Noah wants to go more aggressive with them for his next set.

Noah rebuilt the motor, keeping it mostly stock but running a new fuel management chip. The running gear has all new bushings and the truck runs tight and snappy, especially with the lack of rear weight and 4.10 lsd rear end. With the bigger tires and all the backroads to explore, Noah may change the gearing to 3.73 down the road.

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The 125hp 325e engine destined for the lame ass North American market.

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The hoodliner is like a Lego piece that fits snugly over the engine.

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New fuel management system, but other than that, all stock.

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A custom dual tip exhaust that sounds lovely.

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Lovely derriere on the Camino.

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Does not go that fast..

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Modern audio but vintage interior.

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The information center is where you should be checking your rear mirror often. Must have been a German decision to put that there.

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When Noah chopped the rear, he also chopped the sunroof drains so he has some occasional leakage that he will address before the rains come back. Headliner to come afterwards.

Serious Bicycles

You won't be surprised to hear that the man who converts a perfectly good sedan into a pickup also welds his own frames. Doing it the way he likes, the bikes Noah envisions have a unique taste to them.

The 'Cave Man Special' was a surprise for his buddy's 40th. Built for the Shore, it had to be slack and tough. Rocking a 150mm fork and a 65-degree head angle, 77-degree seat angle, 420mm stays and 482 reach, plus 810mm front center and a 650mm stack. The bike was designed around a 240mm dropper post as the pilot is tall and likes the seat completely out of his butt's way.

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The ol' Bluey is a a bike packer, trail shredder, and mile eater.

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Caveman Special is a 40th birthday present for his buddy.

For these boys, the saddle drop is of the utmost importance, so Noah also chopped his own Ti Tyaughton's seat tube to be able to run a longer dropper post (moves that can't be taken back are Noah's specialty). The tubing on his bikes are a mix of butted stuff from Bike Fab Supply. Noah digs the custom bent seat tubes he offers. "They are nice and thick at the top," Noah tells me as he pings the tube with his fingernail.

Noah goes for straight gauge tubes and then does his own bending for the bikes he builds. The head tube badge on the Caveman Special is a collection of Canadian coins adding up to 40¢ from 1983 - his buddy's birth year. A sweet touch and such a nice gift.

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Great afternoon light at this location.

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40¢ in coins from 40 years ago for Noah's buddy's 40th birthday.

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The man himself.

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Noah was a treat to chat with.

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Do as we say, not as we do.

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Noah, Erin and Das Camino.

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The only right way to leave.... in a blaze of glory.

Noah is a unique man living his best life in the lower mainland. Building, riding, chopping and creating something cool daily.

His creations are online @seriousbicyles and @noawashere.

Deniz Merdano



Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician


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+18 Pete Roggeman roil DanL HughJass PowellRiviera Hbar Mammal solar_evolution Cru_Jones cheapondirt JVP Ripbro gubbinalia Deniz Merdano Kerry Williams Unkas Escapism ohio

This is why we are here.


+4 HughJass Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Kerry Williams

NSMB or bust!


+12 Deniz Merdano Mammal Pete Roggeman shenzhe JVP DanL taprider Kerry Williams Unkas Zero-cool ohio kcy4130

This is by far the best of this series. He built the vehicle we need instead of the vehicle manufacturers say we want.


+5 Pete Roggeman Mammal bishopsmike Andy Eunson shenzhe

WOW that car is so cool!


+1 Kerry Williams

Without a doubt! To have the vision, skills and the time to pull something like this off is huge..


+8 Deniz Merdano HughJass Mammal Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson Andrew Major Kerry Williams kcy4130

Geez I would hate to be the next pistons & pivots that follows up this perfection.


+3 bishopsmike Kerry Williams taprider

We have to raise the bar.. it's the only way


+5 Cr4w Pete Roggeman Mammal Andy Eunson ohio

Yes to all of this. Love the E30 ute.


+2 Pete Roggeman Mammal

Das Ute is Das Dope


+5 Deniz Merdano Mammal Mike Ferrentino Andrew Major ohio

20-something me, part of 30-something me, and now 46-year-old me would really like one of these...AND it would be pretty damn practical for the way we use a second vehicle around here. Paging Noah Wilcox...


+4 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman taprider gubbinalia

Stoked to see a Pistons & Pivots without any pivots.


+3 BadNudes Pete Roggeman Mammal

The green splatter of the most excellent 40th present (friends like these...) reminds me of my first mtb, a Diamondback Ascent EX. 

Bluey though, woof! Delicious.


+3 Deniz Merdano taprider Kerry Williams

Might as well kill the series, as nothing will top this.

Kudos, Noah!


+2 Deniz Merdano Pete Roggeman

Finally a pick up that makes more sense than the terrible fuel monsters that so many north americans love to drive. Quite apart from the technical and artistic aspect. Full of respect!



I'd be curious how it genuinely compares to modern pickup trucks.

It's from the late 80s so the engine is likely less efficient than modern ICE vehicles, but that's likely the only mark against it. It's smaller than any modern pickup truck, it's likely lighter than a similar sized vehicle would be if it were made today, and then engine is fairly low powered (by today's standards).

So I suspect you're right that it beats a modern truck, but maybe not by a lot. A modern (non-altered) F-150 claims 20 MPG city and 24 MPG highway (11 L/100km | 9.8 L/100km) and a Tacoma gets 20 | 25 MPG (11 L/100km | 9.4 L/100km)

The internet tells me the 325e get 19 | 26 (12.4 L/100km| 9L/100km). So, it's not a huge difference.

All that said, I love the look of that ute, and, like you, I respect the time/effort that went it to getting it where it is regardless of its gas mileage.



It would not have the payload or towing capacity of a pickup truck either. I dont want to assume anything, but cutting off the c-pillars would make me think that there some effect on the rigidity (and safety) of the body as well.


+3 Deniz Merdano DancingWithMyself ohio

The one the factory put together in the 80's started as a convertible. I did a few of the reinforcements that the stock convertible had (x- brace) and I added some subframe bracing. Honestly loosing the c pillar probably did less than removing the backseat bulkhead. I've got a strut tower brace that goes in the back when there aren't bikes in it.


+2 Kerry Williams Deniz Merdano

Had to make my first comment on this website on this article. Love old BMW's and framebuilding. Makes me want to take up the blowtorch again. Amazing stuff Noah.


+2 taprider Deniz Merdano

I keep coming back to this page to re-read and look at the pictures again. Both the ute and the 40th birthday hardtail are just such classy builds.


+1 Pete Roggeman

So cool! The 1996 year isn't making sense to me though. E30 is 1991 and before



Yeah, maybe 1986, but not 1996. The ETA engine was used through I think 1987, and E30's through 1991 (for the most part).


+3 bishopsmike Polk ohio

1986 guys!!! A brain - finger malfunction on my end while typing..


+1 Deniz Merdano

Oooh la la!


+1 Deniz Merdano

So damn cool. I used to ride by this thing all the time and wonder about it. Super cool to see that it gets loaded with bikes and shoots rocks out the back.


+1 taprider

Awesome build, and I love the tailgate! Well done.

"Bumpers, when bumpers did nothing"

These are likely modified stock domestic market bumpers (obviously the rear is not stock), I remember the stock front bumper being much burlier and to be fair, the only bumpers that did anything were these mid 70's-early 90's 5 mph bumpers that actually had shock absorbers.

Now that we have acrylic colourmatched overbumpers, they cost as much to replace as body panels, and are effectively useless as a bumper .



Dont let ICBC see this! Im pretty sure they wouldn't insure it if they knew it was a pickup truck conversion :)


+10 JVP DanL shenzhe bishopsmike ClydeRide Pete Roggeman Andy Eunson WheelNut Hardlylikely Jotegir

I got pulled over for speeding a few years ago. The cop said he had never seen a bmw pick up truck. He asked if it was imported? 

I paused, “Yes, from Germany.”

I still have the ticket that says pick-up in the body style spot.



That's where going full mad max and mounting a flame thrower will help



For all the hate ICBC gets, "didn't insure my weird vehicle" is remarkably low on the list. They're VERY chill in that regard compared to most other provinces!



That’s dope.



As a full on member of the Pistons and Pivots fanclub, I fully appreciate this pick-car? truckar? Ute? Love it.  My personal bike hauler couldn't farther from this (Toyota Sienna so I can haul bikes inside the vehicle,#siennaisthenewtacoma), but I appreciate all bike haulers, the wierder the better.


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