Last week, I got reacquainted with my friend Taylor’s BMW 325i, which used to be my BMW 325i. When I drove the car, he and his roommates had installed a bolt-in rollbar and a used Sparco racing seat on the driver’s side of the car.

This past Saturday, there was no driving. Taylor had the car in full “hover mode” as he began the teardown that will lead to a solid foundation for the upcoming years of high performance driver education (HPDE) and competition.

Taylor had removed the entire front suspension and part of the rear suspension from the car, and was bolting the new front strut assemblies together when I arrived. The car will receive “new” (previously owned) Bilstein struts with Vogtland springs, front and rear, with E36 M3 top hats. The top hats will be flipped, left to right, for a cheap camber gain – about two degrees.

It’s important to replace rubber bushings on a car of this age, especially one being pressed into track duty. The front will see new lower control arms and balljoints from a 1996-1999 M3, new “lollipop bushings” to connect those arms to the unibody, and new sway bar end links. Taylor’s roommate Tyler broke out the Sawzall to free the old bushings from the lollipops.

While Taylor worked on the struts and rear brakes, Tyler and I got to work on the interior. The rear seat had been removed for roll bar installation, but there was quite a bit left to remove. Out came the C-pillar trim, rear parcel shelf, and about 15 pounds of insulation. The rear door panels were also removed.

There is far more weight to take out of the car, from nose to tail, but we stopped there for now. Taylor will be driving this car to events for the first year or so, and keeping some creature comforts like carpet, air conditioning, and washer fluid are well worth the weight penalty.

What’s next? Shiny new parts from FCP Euro will be arriving soon and can be bolted up, allowing “Green Hell” to be back on her wheels once again.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Mmm, anxious to see where this build goes. Document some of that progress with a video – a timelapse would be especially cool while the car is in hover mode. It’ll be fun for you to see your old car dancing around the track – maybe you’ll be competing against it even?

    • I’ll see if Taylor can get a GoPro in the corner of his garage once the parts arrive! Will definitely be fun to watch. Even though the E36 chassis is the same between Spec3 (his car) and GTS2 (my car), we follow different rules and will never directly compete. But, we could end up out on track at the same time, as multiple classes end up racing together (sharing the track surface) but take separate green flags.

  2. You should have had been around to take pictures when the angle grinder made an appearance to help free the passenger side RTAB. I’ll make sure that we take plenty of pictures for the next chapter of the write-up, if you aren’t around to take some yourself, that is.

    • I hate doing RTABs. Hate hate hate. I mostly want to know how you fit an angle grinder anywhere near that trailing arm and ended in victory.

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