End of an era

The gold 1992 BMW 325i sedan is no more. State Farm has declared it a total loss after a front-end altercation in a parking lot (no-fault accident).

I bought this car in March 2005 with 172,000 miles. As of December 2006 it has 233,400 miles, still on the same engine, transmission, clutch, etc. That’s 61,400 miles in 20 months, or almost exactly 100 miles per day average.

It made two appearances on track — Talladega Gran Prix (TGPR) and Barber Motorsports Park, and three trips to Deal’s Gap (Tail of the Dragon). I’ve salvaged the suspension (Bilstein Sports/BavAuto springs) to reuse on the next car, along with my personal additions.


Accident damage

BMW E36 Links

These are mainly for my own reference, as I’m at work and won’t have these bookmarks when I get home to work on the car. I bought another BMW today, same as the one I already have — a 1992 E36 325i sedan, 5 speed manual with 201,000 miles in decent condition. Definitely needs some attention, but that’s what this is for.

Installing a Valentine One Radar Detector
E36 electric window fix
E36 back seat removal
Other guides
Installing gauge cluster trim rings

Live from the BMW Performance Center, Spartanburg, SC

7:50am – Got in around 7:30pm ET yesterday, 6h 15m drive from Pulaski to Greer, SC. Terrible traffic in Atlanta. Got a good night of sleep, woke up early. About to leave hotel and head to the Performance Center. Updates to follow.

4:45pm – Back at the hotel. Activities today included slalom course, ABS braking exercise, skidpad, another slalom, oval skidpad/mini-race, powerslides, and timed autocross. I had the best autox single run time, but only by a couple tenths. I’m exhausted.

Morning started out slow, classroom session was overly simplistic and nothing new (define apex, etc.) and the first few exercises were easy, but looking back built up both confidence in the car and set some benchmarks for the rest of the day. I’m the youngest in the group by quite a few years. Many in the class don’t even own BMWs. One of the instructors does WERA road racing. Going to get dinner and get some sleep. More tomorrow.

Day 2: Wow! Delayed posting this, I’m back at work, but what an awesome time. Due to special circumstances, we got bumped up to M3s from the 330is we drove on day 1. Amazing cars, and I may be convinced on SMG now. More slalom, skidpad, emergency braking, emergency lane change, just at faster speeds. Also more autox. Then we got to test-drive the Z4M Roadster, M5, M6, 760Li, 650Ci, and X5 4.8L on the autox course. After that we took the X5s out to the off-road course for a bit of fun.
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BMW Performance Driving School


So it looks like I’m going to the BMW Performance Driving School on September 15-16 (tentative, date subject to change).

I think this will be a bit low-key: emphasis on car control, maybe a bit of skidpad. Not really an advanced track school or anything, but hey, its a(n expensive) freebie.

This is in Spartanburg, SC at the BMW Performance Center. I may try to work in a drive through Deal’s Gap on the way there or back. Or I may decide to fly and skip the 8 hour drive there & back.

Update Dates confirmed, hotel reservation made.

Little of this, little of that.

Some cool stuff I’ve found lately:

· RumbleStripRadio: a motorcycle racing podcast, covers MotoGP, WSBK, AMA…
· MotoGPod: another, focus on MotoGP
· Rossi Files: blog of Valentino Rossi news, etc.

Some of you know I recently got a used Powerbook G4. So far, I love it. Here are some Apple links.

· Applepedia: Like Wikipedia, but for Apple/Mac stuff.
· VersionTracker: software repository

The pictures are posted from our trip to The Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. And if you missed it, my album is still online from the AMA Superbike round at Barber back in April.

Barber Motorsports – AMA Superbike – 2006
Barber 2006 – The Porsche 250

The AMA Superbike album also has pictures from the awesome museum there. Check it out!

Ariel Atom coming to the US

Also recently announced, the Ariel Atom will be coming to the US through Brammo Motorsports.

Pricing will start in the low 30s and go from there depending on options. Engine options include a 300HP supercharged Ecotec. 0-60 in 2.something seconds, or roughly as fast as a litrebike like an R1 or ZX-10R. Mainly a track weapon, it will be street legal as a kit car in many states. If you aren’t familiar, this is the car that Clarkson hailed on Top Gear and set a near-record lap time with the Stig at the wheel — just behind a Ferrari Enzo and Maserati MC-12.

Build mine with the best Brembo brake kit available, please.

Busy weekend for the Bimmer

This week we’ve done rear shocks, front brakes, oil change, power steering flush, new rear tires, and rotate/balance. New exhaust gaskets go in today, bleed/flush brake fluid today, new front struts on order, and clips for the door mouldings on order (all of them started coming loose at once?!?).

Car turned 193,000 miles this week. Will add almost 1,500 more over the next week driving to all those events and participating.

Rumor: Chrysler to show Challenger concept at Detroit


“To all those purists who still can�t forgive Dodge for building a four-door Charger, here�s your answer: the 2006 Dodge Challenger concept. The Dodge boys released a sketch of the car to the world, but we obtained these exclusive spy photos of the car, which will premiere at the North American International Auto Show in January in Detroit.

“Built on a shortened Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger chassis (116-inch wheelbase vs. 120 inches), the Challenger gets a 6.1-liter Hemi hooked to a six-speed manual transmission with a pistol grip shifter.”

If Chrysler builds this car with a six speed manual, I will own one at any cost.

Something worthwhile for Valentine’s Day

So instead of being doing some sappy romantic garbage for Valentine’s Day ’06, why don’t you sit back, turn on the TV, and tune to TLC for an all-new episode of Overhaulin’?

February 14 is the air date for the episode that was filmed at SEMA. Look for me somewhere in the front left of the crowd during the reveal of the car to Merrick.

It will be lots more fun than buying roses.