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E36 BMW Check Coolant Level OBC Message
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E36/E46 BMW Rear Shock Mount (RSM) Replacement
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E30 318i and 318is Suspension and Tie Rod Replacement
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BMW Cooling System Flush/Antifreeze/Refill I
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E28 BMW 5 Series History and Information
More Power for BMW 2002 and 2002tii Part 2
More Power for BMW 2002 and 2002tii Part 1
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BMW Differential Repair, Replacement, and Upgrades Part 1
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E30 BMW 3 Series History and Performance
E34/E36/E39 M50/S50/M52/S52 BMW Engine Coil Replacement
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From E12 to E39: BMW M5 and M535i History and Development
My BMW Dream Garage
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BMW Radiator and Cooling System Information
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Performance Mods for M20 2.5 i engines
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Buying BMW Parts Online
BMW World
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My BMW Dream Garage

Real BMW enthusiasts are interested in more than the latest Chris Bangle Lexus-clone monstrosity. BMW nuts like myself still turn their heads when an E21 323i or E30 318is or clean 2002 or 635csi or e28 M5 etc goes by. The fact is, the company that makes vehicles bearing the roundel has produced many classics over the years that auto enthusiasts would be proud to have in their stable. What if you could have a dream garage of 5 BMW cars? Let's be somewhat realistic here. This means no ex-IMSA racers, no 1991 DTM series ex factory cars, no M1's (sorry, for the $100k+ BMW M1s seems to be selling for, you can get a lot more car with just about ANYTHING else) etc. I know it's difficult to come up with 5, even my list changes just about daily. *Today*, here's my picks:

  • An E30 BMW M3. The king of the boy racers, the winningest race car of the 80s by some counts, the BMW that brought back the raw performance edge to a fairly stody US lineup in 1987, the original M3 with its wild flared bodywork (sharing only the hood with the pedestrian E30 3 series), kidney punishing ride, and screaming S14 2.3 liter engine is one of a kind. BMW never quite recaptured the all-out blitz appeal of this car in subsequent M3's. Though the E36 and E46 M3 models torch the E30 M3 in acceleration, civility, and refinement, the original M3 sedan is an automotive icon whose appeal extends far beyond diehard Bimmer fans. Make mine alpine white with a Turner Motorsports-built 2.5 EVO engine, hot cams, euro evo interior with the harness-ready recaros and Mtech II steering wheel, adjustable splitters and wing, nice light BBS wheels, and a Passport radar detector.
  • An E9 coupe of some sort. Be it a 3.0CS, 3.0 CSi, or 3.0 CSL (ideally), the forerunner to the E24 6 series is in my opinion the pinnacle of Wilhem Hoffmeister's career. The rear window 'kink' - known as the Hoffmeister Kink- became a BMW coupe trademark that defined the C pillar/rear window treatment on coupes right through the E46 3 series. The E9 coupes are just beautiful. I don't need the mighty 'batmobile' CSL to be happy, though I certainly would surely love one. Give me any solid, rust free-one, and I'll build a triplr-Weber carb 3.7 liter-stroker M30 engine with a hot Schrick cam, ported and polished with a 3.73 ltd slip out back and a 5 spd. Maybe some Scheel old-school racing bucket seats. Paint MUST be classic silver with the blue and orange motorsports trim. Maybe an old school Kamei or similar airdam....
  • An E30 325ix. The first all-wheel-drive (AWD) BMW sold in North America, the E30 325ix was available from 1988-1991. The 325iX has a viscous coupling (filled with silicone) in the drivetrain to split torque front to rear and another in the rear differential to provide a limited slip function. Handling in the dry is decent in stock form and far superior to the RWD 3 series on wet or icy/snowy surfaces. With with a few modifications (like cutting the front springs to lower the front 1-1/2 inches or better yet replacing the springs with aftermarket ones, adding a stiffer rear sway bar, installing Bilstein/Koni/similar sport shocks, upgrading bushings and running sticky tires), an iX will run with any E30 in the dry. Equipped with decent snow tires, the E30 BMW 325ix becomes a fearsome winter weapon, ready to go toe to toe with Subaru or Audi cars much newer. The 325ix never really caught on in the US. I'd love a 4 dr 325ix, especially with the red leather interior and sport seats. Make mine silver and give it powdercoated black steelies. Of course, I can't leave well enough alone. Let's take that M20 engine and toss the block. Find me a block from a plain 1988 325, the revised 2.7 M20. Swap that block in under the ix's head/cams/intake/throttle body. Instant cheap stroker. Maybe only 15-20 more hp, but the torque delivery and output is noticeably better. Cheap headers, a good chip, MAF conversion, and intake all help further. The M20 i engine has a pretty hot cam to begin with. Altogher, my dream hot rod 325ix would be a great foul weather machine!
  • A BMW 2002 or 2002tii. This is where the BMW performance sedan reputation begins. The 1968 introduction of the 2002 model, derived from the 1500/1600 design of 1961, was the birth of a true giant killer. I believe that if you are not planning on considerable engine/performance modifications, it makes more sense to just get the cleanest 2002tii you can find. Especially a pre-1974 round taillight model with the smaller bumpers. It's very expensive to tune the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system, and there are not many qualified shops who understand this setup. A well maintained one will make the car run excellently. Tuning it to handle power beyond 145 or so hp is not easy. Plus, why molest a pristine and rare car? If you want to build a monster 2002, starting with a base model of any year -especially the less expensive 1974-1976 models - is the way to go unless you are fixated on the early look. Hot M10 engine with weber carbs, a 288 cam, 5 speed conversion and limited slip from an E21 320is would be quite the screamer. Of course, the near-mythical BMW 2002 Turbo is another story, but good luck finding one!
  • The E39 BMW M5. The E39 BMW M5 was also the first official M car powered by a V8 engine (I say official because the E34 540i with the M sport package and six speed manual transmission was absolutely breathed on by the M divison!). Featuring the new S62 5.0 liter V8 engine, the new M5 was the world's most powerful sedan. With 400 hp at 6600 rpm, and monumental 369 lb-ft. of torque at just 3800 rpm, the M5 delivered stunning thrust virtually throughout its wide rpm range. This 3,700 lb land missile hits 0-60 in the 4.6 second range. An E39 M5 will dance with a C5 vette on the track while seating four in comfort. Ronin's Audi can kiss it's @ss! I don't understand why anyone would buy this car in anything but black or silver. When you've got a sledgehammer of a car (and please spare me the whining from the automatic tranny sissy Mercedes Benz fans with their AMG fixations ;)) like an M5, you don't NEED to be noticed. This would be my ride for long road trips.
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