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Thread: BMW 36E or E30 FOR IT/TRACK DAYS?

  1. #1
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    Default BMW 36E or E30 FOR IT/TRACK DAYS?

    I am looking for your feedback or opinion on the following. i have a 1995 325is with 149,000 miles on it. I also have a 1987 325is with 159,000miles on it. Both cars are zero rust, completely stock cars. I am an experienced race car fabricator/driver, but a novice road racer. Which car would be the best to build into a IT/ track day car? Please give consideration to build cost, maintenance, chassis tuneability, competitiveness , resale, and any other variable that you would think that may be pertinent to this discussion. I have read a lot of iformation and am conflicted as to which car would be the better build. Thank you for your thoughts and ideas.

  2. #2
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    that is an extrmely hard question to answer.. I believe the E36 would cost more.. I guess it all depends on what you want from it. the E36 would be faster, the E30 could handle better.
    Track Speed Motorsports
    http://www.trackspeedmotorsports.com/

    Steven Ulbrik (engineer/crew/driver)
    [email protected]

  3. #3
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    First, you have to determine if you're building just for track days, or for an IT class. I've seen some "track day" cars at BMW Club events that have modifications done to them that are not allowed for a class-specific build and that would cost a bunch to un-do. So, step one is to get the relevant rule book and build with that in mind.

    I think you'd have more options with the E36. In IT, it can run in ITS and ITR (plus whatever BMW CCA Club racing class you could put it in, or even NASA Spec E36 if you don't go too nuts on a build - see my rule book statement above), there's tons of aftermarket support, and it's got that nice multi-link rear suspension vs. the E30 trailing arm setup. It's also almost a decade newer than the E30, in case parts (particularly body parts) availability is an issue in the distant future.

    As for resale, for a race car, forget it. The E36 is likely more marketable, but if you look in the classifieds here, you'll find some top-flight E36 cars for sale now for a fraction of what it would cost you to build either car (and a fraction of what they cost their owners to build) - even with your own labor for free. Those cars are also fully sorted, too, so unless the "build" is part of the sport for you (as it was for my first two race cars), I'd sell the ones you have now and buy one already built. Many a racer has gone broke building a "free" car rather than buying an already built one (been there, done that)..
    -noam

    On racing hiatus for a while
    NER SCCA

  4. #4
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    Depends.......If you want to go racing, the cheapest way is Spec E30...period. Spec E36 will cost at least twice as much to build. You can build the E30 to run ITA, ITS, Spec E30, M Prepared, K Prepared, PBOC, and even vintage. The E30 is the most versatile chassis you can have. There is a wealth of knowledge about both chassis as far as suspension is concerned. Good luck, Chuck
    Chuck Baader
    White EP BMW M-Techniq
    I may grow older, but I refuse to grow up!

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
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    Thumbs up

    Thank all of you for your replies. All feedback was relevant, well thought-out, and very helpful. I'm starting to lean towards the E30 due to simplicity, build costs, and my beginning status as a novice-road racer. Thanks again for your help!

  6. #6
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    Dec 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by chuck baader View Post
    Depends.......If you want to go racing, the cheapest way is Spec E30...period. Spec E36 will cost at least twice as much to build. You can build the E30 to run ITA, ITS, Spec E30, M Prepared, K Prepared, PBOC, and even vintage. The E30 is the most versatile chassis you can have. There is a wealth of knowledge about both chassis as far as suspension is concerned. Good luck, Chuck
    You forgot one Chuck! The E30 is a fun "24hrs of Lemons" car too!

  7. #7
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    Actually missed another one...ITB with the early 318. Chuck
    Chuck Baader
    White EP BMW M-Techniq
    I may grow older, but I refuse to grow up!

  8. #8
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    beaverton , oregon
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    e30m3 is an ITR car and at least in the northwest there is PRO3 another specish style racing class basicly ITS -100lbs on spec tire

  9. #9
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    An alternate consideration - the e30 is one generation closer to becoming "an old car." The point at which parts start to be a problem will come sooner for that chassis.

    BUT I'd suggest that maybe the question is moot. The body of knowledge and parts stream is probably similar for both the e30 and e36, and ultimately the variables of interest (e.g., cost) are not dependent on what shape the metal box with wheels is, that all of the money goes into...

    K

  10. #10
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    I don't mean to hijack the thread. I'm wondering how competitive the e30 318is can be in ITA. Any opinions?

  11. #11
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    I have been trying to find someone that has done an IT build on the M42 motor, but have not been able to. I wan considering changing from a "e" car to the M42 for balance but as I said, no information. I would think, if you can get the hp to about 140 at the wheels, the package would be quite competitive. Chuck
    Chuck Baader
    White EP BMW M-Techniq
    I may grow older, but I refuse to grow up!

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