I’ve been pretty lax as of late when it comes to providing updated posts to Eat, Sleep, Tinker.com.   Those of you who follow my Facebook Page or my Instagram or my Twitter feeds will know why; I’m building a damn race car!  If you read my last post, you’d also know that I had settled on the Spec E46 class of racing.  So why no updates here?  Because when you are building a racecar by yourself (with a bit of assistance from your father) your energy to sit down at the computer and chronicle your work is at an all time low.  So I’ve been taking the easy route and just using the Instagram app on my phone to post updates, which are then automatically distributed to the various other social media outlets.  I did, however, add a nifty Instagram feed to the home page here at EST, you’re welcome.

Rather than an individual post to outline the work done (and there’s a lot), I’ll just continue to utilize the Instagram app to give real time updates.  For those Instagram or smart phone inept readers, I’ll provide a post here that’ll grab the pertinent photos and descriptions for your bookmarking pleasure (and in case you just want to look at it on a big screen.)  Stay tuned for that in the near near future.

Back to the project.  You may also recall that I recently went on a bit of a road trip to attend the 2015 Rolex 24 hr at Daytona.  The weeks, well months really, leading up to this I had been scouring the web for a possible donor for my SE46 build.  There are plenty of spec legal cars for sale, but I was being picky.  First and foremost I wanted a 330Ci (coupe), rather than the four door sedan 330i.  At 6’2″, I really appreciate the longer doors and wider opening into a coupe, especially when all kitted up and contending with cage bars and halo seats.  I also wanted a manual car to start with.  Sure I could get an automatic and swap it out, but that’s just added expense and work that I was hoping to avoid.  I also wanted the earlier car, just on aesthetics alone, but the much later cars also came with the less desirable 6-speed manual.  Finally I wanted an Alpine White car.  I’d also accept silver or grey if I had to, but white was the goal.  White is better for not cooking the driver in hot southern summers, while also being easier to repaint not being a metallic.

So with my options narrowed (I should also mention I wanted a car that lived outside the rust belt its entire life) I was left with only a very few potential candidates.  But as luck would have it, I happened across a possibility on the Savannah, GA Craigslist.  The car was a 2001 Alpine White 330Ci which had lived its entire life between Florida and South Carolina.  It was a high mileage car, but the chassis appeared to be completely straight and complete.  I began exchanging emails with the seller, and we agreed on a price based on the description and photos provided.  Since we would be headed through Savannah on our way to Daytona, the timing worked out beautifully.  We would check the car out on the way down, then if everything was in order, pay for it and drive it back on our return.

I knew the car wouldn’t be perfect, having accumulated over 220,000 miles in its 14 years, but lets just say it wasn’t up to the sellers description.  It had a bad driveline clunk on lift, wayward handling, was down on power, and a few other issues that made the previously agreed price unacceptable.  But knowing that nearly all of the car would be stripped and trashed for the race car build, I wasn’t too concerned with the problems, it just gave me some leverage to get the price down.  I pointed out the issues and gave the seller my estimate of actual repair costs, came up with a new figure for him to stew over while we went on to Daytona.  A few days later I received a counteroffer, which I in turn countered.  We eventually settled somewhere in the middle, but much less than the initial asking price.

Off we drove in our two Alpine White BMWs.  The 330Ci wasn’t the most confidence inspiring drive at night on the interstate.  The wayward front end turned out to be a bad lower control arm ball joint (and probably out of tolerance alignment), and I was constantly reminded that the differential was about to rip itself from the subframe on every throttle lift (turned out to be torn bushings).  I also managed to bend a rim on a pothole, which would normally upset me, but these wheels deserve to die a horrible death anyways.  Fortunately we made it home safe, with one more BMW in the fleet.

Picking up 330Ci Donor

Here’s some more photos of the car before its tear down:
(ps The entire interior and sunroof are for sale)



Tags: , , ,