Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Step 1 - Aquire a BMW

Step #1 in doing an engine swap on a BMW was to acquire a BMW 3 series. This sounded easy but living in RURAL Virginia there aren't too many E36's near by to choose from. I watched for about a year for one to be reasonably close to me for a decent price. After barely missing out on what was probably the pefect car only 40 miles away I became frustrated and was about to give up on the idea. Instead I bought a car sight unseen of e-bay for $1600 just to get the project started. The car was 1993 BMW 325i with 200,000 miles and in need of some help.

I had never asked the mileage on the car or if it ran prior to me buying it. The owners excitedly showed me that it ran when I went to pick it up. Sadly the way it ran was probably the best feature of the car. Closer inspection showed that the car must have been run thu a wire fence leaving it with scratches on both sides and small dents in the doors on both sides. It was also missing one side mirror.
The leather seats were cracked from age.

What can't be seen in the photos is how the car smelled... Since the car did run i thought I'd try to drive it the 1.5 hours back home. In less than a 1/4 mile I was pushing all the window buttons trying to get the windows down with no luck. I was thinking if I can't get the windows down I'll tow it because it just due to the smell. I turned the fan on full blast and stopped at the first gas station. As I filled the car I found the windows only went down with a door open. Odd. Have to look at that later. But hey it ran and driveing it was more fun then towing it.

About halfway home the car attracted the attention of a local police officer who noticed it didn't have plates. He suggested that we should put it on the dolly and tow it home. was more like put it on the dolly or it isn't leaving. Hey, Not a problem. That's why I brought the dolly in the first place....see it's on. Ok? He didn't write me any tickets so it's all good. I climbed up in my old Pathfinder, the same pathfinder that towed my Rx-7 project home (another story). And to my surprise it towed the BMW easily. Even through the blue ridge mountains.

All in all we made it home safe. And hey. Even with the worn shocks and a short drive I could tell this was going to be a fun car to drive.

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