About this time 2 years ago I swapped from the Subaru (which was only just recently towed away) to the current e34. Considering its price and condition, I had anticipated the car to be my “beater”. I had even considered a few track days for it. As time went on I grew more attached to the car than I should have. It also didn’t help that friends, both internet and real life, thought I should keep the car and spruce it up a bit. It still needs a repainted grill and nose panel, new headlights, new half shaft, a new MK3 lip, tow hook covers, idler arm, rear trailing arm bushings, interior carpet dye and a few other touches. This doesn’t include the long list of things already done including a full steering linkage overhaul, Broadway Static coilovers, new rad, new alternator, motor and tranny mounts, both front wheel bearings, all pads and rotors, rear calipers and shoes. This still doesn’t address the big issue of mileage and body wear and tear. A few of the panels have rust, dents and scratches. I like to tell myself it gives it character, its really the only way I can justify keeping the car. One thing I absolutely hate about the car is winter drivability. Its a big lumbering sedan with a sloppy steering box an open diff and no traction control (not that it was helpful any ways). It was not fun in the snow. Add that with my reluctance to add another season of salt and snow to the underside of the E34 I decided to look for a winter beater.
The more I looked the more I realised the only cars I would even consider buying are E36s, a BG/BK Legacys, or GC Imprezas. No other cars interested me, or fit my tight budget. Winter is an arduous 5-6 months, why not have fun during that time? After many days on Kijiji I spotted a 1998 328i across the road from my work. A few test drives, a look under the car on a hoist, some emails to Steve Van Sleuwen and the car was bought. Thats when it went from just a winter beater to an autocross/track/possible drift car. If I had bought a smaller motor, or any Subaru. The idea of keeping it for a track car would not have crossed my mind. But as it sits, its a 190hp, 210 ft lbs dirt cheap RWD sedan thats begging to enjoyed. The price, parts availability, especially considering 5-6 friends own e36 beaters now, it was almost the smart choice to make. Out of sheer curiosity of the local used E36 market. I perused Maxbimmer and Kijiji for a few days. The result of which are a set of full M replica bumpers (BNIB) and a set of smoked lights (fronts, side markers and rears BNIB) and a set of Style 32s (17×8/9). The parts were located in Ottawa, so I asked Mauncho to pick them up. Long story short, he’s keeping most of the parts, while I keep just the front bumper and wheels. Probably for the better as a full M kit on this car would be overkill. But then again, they’d actually go on the car instead of lying around while Mauncho goes through another season stock. We’ll be working with Broadway Static once again to provide the suspension. They’re usually the guys providing all the BMWs with massive lows, but since they’re made with Fortune Auto internals track abuse shouldn’t be a problem. Other upgrades I’m considering are a welded diff, bucket seat, Nankang NS2-Rs, maybe an aftermarket wheel setup (even though I just sold my Nardi wheel to Devo), hydro e-brake, short shifter and the usual mounts and bushings. The more I think about it the more I realize the E34 won’t be seeing much life outside of July-September. But having a fun beater track car will help ease that realization.