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Fizzy Bimmer - DOUBLE JEOPARDY


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As with many of you the recent COVID crisis and subsequent lockdown has caused me to reflect on my priorities, and a degree of fleet rationalisation has now become inevitable. Therefore the tried and tested method for achieving this has been implemented, and I've bought another car.

1. Bought sight unseen off facebook marketplace - CHECK

2. Category C write off - CHECK

3. Last MOT in 2009 - CHECK

4. 170K miles on the odometer - CHECK

5. No engine or gearbox - CHECK

6. No seats and all the external trim in the interior - CHECK

7. Signs of corrosion on the underside - CHECK

8. Not told the wife - CHECK

What could go wrong?

 

No collecshun unfortunately but delivrly impending...

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Having spent the last 36hrs worrying about sending ££££ to a complete stranger it is a relief to finally be looking at a pile of fizzing metal and unidentified parts. The delivery guys gave me the knowing look of sympathy that you give to someone who is about to spend all their spare cash and time on something rather marginal. On the plus side the first person to pass the gates asked how much I was wanting for it... so I'm guessing there will be no shortage of greater fools when reality really bites. Here's the details:

1990 BMW 318is - Diamond Black.

167k on the clock, off the road since 2009. Looks like someone has started a resto but stopped and it's been left to sit. No engine or box. No seats. Lots of bits all over the place. Plenty of tin worm in awkward spots.

Partial resto required - plan is historic rally car. These were homologated in Group N for 1990 and as luck would have it the FIA have just extended class 4 historic rally cars to include up to end-1990. Therefore it is eligible to go up against the Audi Quattros, Lancia Stratos and 037s, Escorts, Mantas, 131s, etc. Should make for a few fun British and European jaunts next year hopefully.

Looks good from a distance... r,r,right?

A4BCA1D9-B0F5-4481-B6BB-C72C371F17C9.jpeg

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So I won't get a proper chance to look at this for a few days but my preliminary thoughts are that if Dodgy_Bastard can get his blue Chevette roadworthy than this car should be saveable. However, the man maths that seemed so optimistic before are now looking a bit less rosy.

First up - ROT. I saw from the pictures that the sills were a bit crusty (holey would be more accurate) and this is confirmed. Perhaps a few small repairs would do it but maybe best just to replace with whole new sills which are not expensive. What I didn't see is that the sunroof is all taped up and is very rusty at one corner, and looking on the E30 forums this is a terminal killer of cars. My plan however is plate the sunroof in proper rally car fashion so I may be able to get away without too much pain in this area if i'm not going for full original resto here. There is also a small hole at the scuttle at the base of one of the A-pillars and few holes in the battery tray. One wing is toast. No doubt there is more to be unearthed but that Is what I saw on a quick look. The floor and remainder of the chassis look ok, fairly solid and clean unbroken underseal.

PAINT. Looks good from 3m, looks pretty bad close up. However for something that I'm going to crash at some point I'd say its just about acceptable and a few small repairs and it'll be good to go.

PARTS. Given that I bought this as a rolling shell from a car dealer who'd taken it in PX I'm wasn't too sure what to expect. The seller gave a reassuring 'everything's there mate, apart from the gearbox, engine and seats' but honestly didn't sound like he'd looked particularly closely. Anyway, a gamble is a gamble. I'm going to look again over the weekend but from what I can see there's some decent bits in there:

Coilovers on the car, fancy rear brakes, no front brakes, big purple ARBs inside, lots of powerflex bits and fancy purple mounting brackets, a couple of steering racks, rear bumper, grille and brake ducts, most of the interior is present but not the drivers door card or seats, carpets and console in boot, headlining is good, OMP steering wheel, more aftermarket dampers, propshafts, guibos, a bunch of new parts in boxes, extra headlights, a bunch of other stuffs. The rear beam looks mint like it’s been overhauled.

MISSING PARTS. Engine and box, and the majority of ancillaries. Seats. Drivers door card. FUEL TANK. Lockset. Front brakes. Not looked at the diff yet but I assume it’s gone too.

General condition is OK, and to be fair the car appears to be in much better condition that some of the things people restore. I’m not looking for a concourse finished result, just something with a bit of character that I can motor about in and not worry about damaging it too much. My outline plan was to maybe buy an E36 318TI as a donor car and fit the M44 engine, 220 gearbox and an LSD diff to it, alongside things like the seats etc, maybe some other bits will be interchangeable. However, I’d like it to be eligible for the historic rallying so it may have to stay with the M42 engine which will no doubt make things more difficult/expensive.

Anyway, too many words here's some pics. I couldn't bring myself to photograph the really crusty bits.

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44BAA7A4-BEE8-4949-BD1F-C45A09BDA754.jpeg

EBE678CA-4E4E-4872-9CB6-E9122ED2428F.jpeg

F7022477-C2EB-4619-9E04-95D52A0AB360.jpeg

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Well in! 

I had one of these back in the day. Red shell, white wings, silver bonnet. Comfort front seats and one seatbelt

It met it's maker when an associate put it 6ft in the air atop a railing coming off a roundabout.

We took the roof off with a 9" grinder to get the gearbox out (it's easy to do from under the car!)

If you wanted, you could fit a 2.5 M50 or 2.8 m52 easily for a bit more chooch (if the rally regs allowed).

Also a good mate of mine is THE MAN when it comes to making diffs for these. If you go M42, you'll be wanting a 4.10:1 small case LSD. They can be spendy, but best for acceleration.

Alternatively a 3.91 medium case LSD is decent too.

 

If fitting an M50/2 and using the box that goes with them, you need entirely different ratios - those gearboxes are 1:1 5th, not 1:1 4th. 

LSDs are ID'd by an S on the ratio tag bolted to the diff.

(Apols if any of this is teaching you to consume eggs via straw)

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E30's just look SO right.  I still can't believe I bought a runner for £80 back in 2002.  Sadly I fell out with my best mate and it was on his driveway, he gave me 24 hours to move it (having hidden the keys) so it got winched away.  

I like them a lot, but I lack the required talent and bravery to take one on that I can afford - and lack the spuds to buy one that doesn't need the work. So i'll be here vicariously over the next few months.

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48 minutes ago, 320touring said:

Well in! 

I had one of these back in the day. Red shell, white wings, silver bonnet. Comfort front seats and one seatbelt

It met it's maker when an associate put it 6ft in the air atop a railing coming off a roundabout.

We took the roof off with a 9" grinder to get the gearbox out (it's easy to do from under the car!)

If you wanted, you could fit a 2.5 M50 or 2.8 m52 easily for a bit more chooch (if the rally regs allowed).

Also a good mate of mine is THE MAN when it comes to making diffs for these. If you go M42, you'll be wanting a 4.10:1 small case LSD. They can be spendy, but best for acceleration.

Alternatively a 3.91 medium case LSD is decent too.

 

If fitting an M50/2 and using the box that goes with them, you need entirely different ratios - those gearboxes are 1:1 5th, not 1:1 4th. 

LSDs are ID'd by an S on the ratio tag bolted to the diff.

(Apols if any of this is teaching you to consume eggs via straw)

Cheers. Your car sounds like it had an interesting life!

 

I'd like to keep 4cyl to meet the regs but I don't think an E36 M42/M44 swap would be particularly detectable especially as you need to use the E30 M42 rocker cover and inlet manifold so it would look standard.

 

The diff is not present as expected and I don't think it's inside the car either so I will probably go for a E36 318ti box and LSD diff. What car does the 3.91 medium case LSD come out of?

 

Thanks for your help.

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2 hours ago, dc2100k said:

MISSING PARTS. Engine and box, and the majority of ancillaries. Seats. Drivers door card. FUEL TANK. Lockset. Front brakes. Not looked at the diff yet but I assume it’s gone too.

Result; doing motorsporty things you're safer with a fuelcell anyway. 

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23 minutes ago, dc2100k said:

Cheers. Your car sounds like it had an interesting life!

 

I'd like to keep 4cyl to meet the regs but I don't think an E36 M42/M44 swap would be particularly detectable especially as you need to use the E30 M42 rocker cover and inlet manifold so it would look standard.

 

The diff is not present as expected and I don't think it's inside the car either so I will probably go for a E36 318ti box and LSD diff. What car does the 3.91 medium case LSD come out of?

 

Thanks for your help.

It was a £500 heap but pretty good fun!

The 3.91 would come out of an E30 325i.

If going for an E36 318ti, get the engine box and diff. Also, be aware the m44 is a 1.9 (if that makes any difference for regs).The front struts from an E36 also fit, and give you 5stud, so a wider range of wheels if needed.

The rear end from an E36 318ti will also bolt straight on (it's an E30 rear end with 5stud hubs and disc brakes).

Normal E36 have the Z axle which won't work.

Any E36 diff should fit - but again be careful re ratios.

Essentially, you want to keep the gearboxes and diffs matched. 

An E30 box needs an E30 diff ratio, and an E36 box needs an E36 ratio.

 

Drop me a PM if you have any questions!

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4 minutes ago, 320touring said:

The 3.91 would come out of a 325i.

If going for an E36 318ti, get the engine box and diff. The front struts from an E36 also fit, and give you 5stud, so a wider range of wheels if needed.

The rear end from an E36 318ti will also bolt straight on (it's an E30 rear end with 5stud hubs and disc brakes).

Normal E36 have the Z axle which won't work.

Any E36 diff should fit - but again be careful re ratios.

Essentially, you want to keep the gearboxes and diffs matched. 

An E30 box needs an E30 diff ratio, and an E36 box needs an E36 ratio.

This is great info, thanks. I think I'm going to buy an E36 318ti donor car if I can find a good condition one for cheap (a minor smashed car would be ok I suppose). I would have thought there are probably lots of other parts on it I could use (seats, etc.)

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2 hours ago, big_al_granvia said:

If you are building a rally car and it is stripped then thats a lot of work saved, lot less rusty bolts to un-seize and plastic trim fixings to swear at before hitting with a lump hammer

This. Just think of it as pre-stripped and therefore MUCH better and a Wise Investment.

Got my popcorn here ready for the fun to start :-)

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6 minutes ago, dc2100k said:

This is great info, thanks. I think I'm going to buy an E36 318ti donor car if I can find a good condition one for cheap (a minor smashed car would be ok I suppose). I would have thought there are probably lots of other parts on it I could use (seats, etc.)

I added more info in, the 318ti engine is a 1.9 m44 - check it's suitable for the regs!

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12 minutes ago, 320touring said:

I added more info in, the 318ti engine is a 1.9 m44 - check it's suitable for the regs!

Yes I’m aware that it’s the later 1.9 engine. However I think you need the original E30 inlet manifold and rocker cover and sump to make it fit so superficially it looks the same. Grind off the engine numbers and Bob’s homologated as your uncle. 

I suppose then an M42 setup from an early E36 318is would be the best/affordable option although prices for these are on the up.

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18 minutes ago, Skizzer said:

This. Just think of it as pre-stripped and therefore MUCH better and a Wise Investment.

Got my popcorn here ready for the fun to start :-)

Once I’ve got the car cleaned out and cleaned up I’ll poke at it with a stick and see how many extra holes I can make. This I suppose will determine my enthusiasm to take on the project. I think there’s enough shiny bits that I could extricate myself without severe financial damage if I decide it’s too much work but at the moment it looks like a plausible project. 

Brucie bonus: has shiny rear strut brace fitted.

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Where is your mate who’s handy with the diffs based? 

2 minutes ago, 320touring said:

Aye, cool cool! 

I’ll have to delete that post when the FIA come looking ? I wonder how fussy the scrutineers are? It’s not like I’m going to be competitive in class up against 4wd Cosworths and Delta Integrales so I cant imagine anyone protesting too much.

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1 hour ago, big_al_granvia said:

For bits speak to alan kirkaldy (contact via cairnsmill caravan park) or steven dailly at kc motorsport. Both guys have broken a load of beemers for compact cup and are good mates

https://www.cairnsmill.co.uk/

http://www.kcmotorsport.co.uk/

Perfect thanks. They are not far from me so worth a visit I think whilst I'm calculating my plan of action.

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