Sometimes things are just meant to be.
My dad and I are always browsing Craigslist for different things, and his latest mission is to find 1970 Chevelle engine parts. He found a guy selling a pile of them about an hour away, so I went for the ride and to help carry stuff. He had looked up the house the night before to see where we were going, and noticed a e36 M3 in the driveway on Google Streetview.
We show up to Bill’s house to find him underneath a ’68 Camaro that he had just finished fixing, after he broke it drag racing the previous night. He claimed it would pull the front wheels off the ground, a lifelong goal for my dad.
We had never seen a house so packed full of car parts, both for the Chevelle and many other makes that he had had and raced in the past. After quite a long time of listening to his stories, his old BMW came up. We mentioned the picture, and he lit up about his 1995 M3 (same car as mine) that he used to own and track. This prompted even more stories from his glory days, and seemingly unending praise for the e36 chassis. The balance of the car, the strength of the metal, the predictability, and on and on.
He points to a box in the corner, and says he had bought a complete turbo kit for a 1995 M3, and since he no longer had the car, he was willing to let it go. My dad and I look at each other in disbelief for a second, as I have wanted to build a turbo car for years, but had never even considered doing so to my M3. However, I had just walked into a deal that I couldn’t refuse. I quickly looked through the box, and listened as he told me about the injectors, ECU chip, gauges, fittings, clamps, and more scattered around the garage in other unseen boxes.
My first plan about a year ago was to do an E30 turbo project. I looked at a few cars for sale, but they were overpriced and for the condition and would take a lot of work by themselves, even before a forced induction endeavor. Furthermore, the price tag of a well-done DIY turbo kit was just too high. I was looking at $3k in parts alone, assuming nothing broke along the way (which would definitely happen). So I dropped that idea, and looked more seriously into an M3, a dream car since childhood. I found it, and I love it, but now it looks like these two dreams will morph together and I couldn’t be more excited.
I had not intended on spending the kind of money that I did that day, but this was a dream build in the making and the pure impossible circumstance pushed me over the edge. To sweeten the deal even more, Bill was willing to let me have a set of catalytic converters I need, a full set of M3 wheels, interior parts, and an open offer to come back for more. We loaded up the truck with almost more than it could take, and headed home still with our jaws on the floor. To make this EVEN better, my dad got everything he came for and more, making this one of the best Craigslist ventures we have had.
I am currently still working on maintenance things on the car that aren’t very exciting to write about, but as soon as turbo things begin to happen, I’m going to document the build here. Stay tuned!
Here’s a picture of when I got excited and placed the turbo where it will go someday soon 🙂