Sometimes It's Cheaper Not To Keep Her.
It's with a bittersweet defeat that I'm finally getting around to writing this. After a whole 8 weeks with the BMW I picked up for free, Project e30 is over. After much deliberation and some simple math, it would've been way too expensive and pretty much would've been a passion project as opposed to building a sweet ass LS swapped beater. Let me tell you why.
The more we worked on the car, stripped stuff out and made lists, the more daunting the project was starting to look. The interior was already beat to all hell so that had to go. After about 3 days of stripping the whole interior all the way down to removing the octopus of a wiring harness running through the whole car, we had a rolling shell on flat tires... and spiders, lots of them.
Some parts of the machine had beautiful metal panels that had never seen light or moisture and were flawless, but along the floor, pans are where the metal was showing it's age. The floor was rusting away and there were some places in the car where you could stick your finger through to the other side. Not ideal. Without even mentioning other parts of the car, the interior was going to need to be resurrected with some rust removal and cutting some rusty panels out and replacing them would be expensive and logistically a nightmare since the car didn't run and of course was on a downward incline. Fun.
Moving onto the engine, this is where a real headache began. The plan seemed simple enough, LS swap it, then drift it into a wall just like I imagined. But the steps to get there became more complicated day by day. Before even touching the engine I researched what would be needed to complete the swap. Engine, tranny, brake booster relocation, mixing and matching heads and other engine accessories to get everything to work and fit properly, all of this needed to be done along with a bunch of other remedial jobs to get the car running. On paper, it didn't look too bad but the estimated price to complete just the engine swap was creeping up to $5,000 pretty quickly, interior not included. Being a garage mechanic most of my life I've never even attempted an engine swap let alone had half of the heavy-duty tools I needed which only pushed the goal further back.
One night while talking about my LS pipe dream with a close friend and racecar driver Jourdan, he made a very good point. For the amount of money I was dumping into resurrecting a beater BMW, I could easily find a spec BMW ready to race for the same price, if not cheaper for a whole lot less headache. I thought about this and re-did the math for two days and as much as I hate to admit it, he was right, by a lot. My napkin math totals to get the car how I ultimately wanted would've put me past the 10k mark for the engine, body work (which was also beat to shit believe it or not) and a very barebones interior. For that same 10k, I could buy a spec car for 6-8k, with all the work already done and a lot fewer tears and bloodshed along the way.
Saving money and headaches during any build is a hard offer to beat and it would've just been blatant financial irresponsibility to continue with the project. I posted it up as a rolling shell up on CL for $200 and ended up selling it to somebody for an agreed upon $50 (a joke right), I actually walked away with $49.38 because the guy didn't have another dollar. A perfect analogy of how the whole project went.
So coming from a BMW fanboy, I say with a heavy heart that project E30 is over. A lot was learned in the short time I had the car but I honestly bit off more than I could chew on this one and I don't have Gas Monkey Garage money, unfortunately. Thank you to everyone who supported me, gave suggestions and encouragement but it's onto bigger and better things now!