Rallying had been my passion for a number of years but with the rising costs of both equipment and entry fees i found myself on the hunt for a cheaper form of motorsport. In the early months of 2012 i discovered what i had been looking for. Autotesting, its an entry level motorsport that is accessible to most people. Entry is granted for any production car or motorsport prepared car for a very little money and it has different disciplines to suit all levels of drivers. You have autosolo's, all forward autotests and full autotests. You tend to work through the disciplines in that order too as autosolo's and all forwards dont involve reversing.
So now i needed a car to compete in. Being a rather large man of 6 foot 5 inches tall and lets say on the porkier side, i had to take these factors into consideration. Of course i wanted a RWD car because well, its just more fun isn't it ?. I didnt want something too large as autotesting is done in car parks and smaller areas.
The hunt was on for the right car, at the right price. I wanted something i could also use on weekends and have fun with on the roads too. I bought and then subsequently sold five different cars, all different models of the BMW E30 variety, they just were not suitable for what i needed. All lovely cars but just no good for autotesting. As a nice bonus , I made enough profit from the five cars to fund the purchase and subsequent modifications to the car I ended up choosing.
I stumbled across the BMW Z3 while blindly browsing ebay for a suitable car. Ide never even considered one before for various reasons like over my budget and "i wont fit in it". I decided to find out if i would fit so i looked up the nearest one i could find from a dealer and went down to the garage under the guise of "im buying this for my son" , "could you show me the car please" ... haha .. i had no intention of buying that car as i was just there to see if i could fit in the thing. Good news !! .. apart from the lack of an adjustable steering column with the bus steering wheel they come with i could fit in there and my head wasnt towering over the level of the windscreen like dick dastardly from the wacky races !
So the i scoured the internet and ended up travelling 300 miles to buy my car, a far from showroom condition 1997 silver 2.8 wide body roadster that had stood immobile for a year and had no clutch left in it. (which i only discovered when i was there haha). I negotiated a price of £950 for the car and managed to struggle the three hundred miles home in it.
FIRST DAY 8th JULY 2012 !!
Ive spent the last year or so slowly modifying the car to suit my needs. Im on a budget so i havnt gone mental but ive definitely improved the car, handling and performance. I really enjoy the car and it gets driven very hard. Its been very reliable and has never let me down at any stage of its torture. A real fun car and a proper drivers car. These machines are looked upon as "hairdressers cars" and are totally under rated in my opinion. Ive won over a lot of people with my car that used to have preconceived ideas of the Z3.
Ive had a few shall we say a few mishaps and unfortunate things happen with this car along the way . A dog ran out into the side of the car and trashed the door and rear quarter ... and it lived haha , a week later some idiot ran into the back of me at traffic lights and i sort of trashed the front bumper in an embarrassing crash i had (see video below) , but these cars are solid in construction and can take a bit of hammer
Woops !!! (see video below haha)
THE CAR AS IT IS TODAY 16th OCTOBER 2013 !!
A list of the modifications can be seen with some photos in the "Performance Mods" section of this showcase.
Ive competed in many autotest events and classic rallies in this car now and had some great results. Ive attained class wins and class honours in this car. Recently i finished 7th overall from 50 and 3rd in class at the very competitive Durham Dales Classic Rally held at the Nissan factory test track in Sunderland. It was a great result and a great day.
Here is some video footage of me and the car being driven in events and generally tortured including my rather embarrassing crash coming home from driving the Hartside Pass lol. Dont forget to view fullscreen in HD
update : some more video
new video from a very tough and rough PCA i done recently
ivw been out on track ... my first track day experience in the Z .. the car handled great and was a real joy .. hope you guys enjoy the video .. BTW the Saab that pulls out in front of me is a 2.3 turbo running at 300bhp .. was wondering why it was as quick on the straight as my car lol
Used my Z3 as a chase car in the production and filming for a video production for Project Touge ... a drifting scene website ... i was sandwiched between 2 cars drifting. It was quite difficult as i had to gauge speeds and distances but it was a lot of fun ... The first video link is some of the footage from the car cam and the second is tha actual video production .. you can see little glimpses of my car haha
Also got 3rd in class and 9th overall at this years Wearside Classic Rally back in September 2014 .... was very happy with that competing against some top drivers with very good cars..
Till the next time !!! Enjoy !!
A little video of one of the stages from the Wearside Classic rally 2014
Mods to car
M50 inlet manifold modification
big bore throttle body with M50 manifold adapter contact plate
Shielded cold air intake system
full ECU/DME remap with rev limit raised to 7k and running on high octane Shell Nitro+ fuel only
full custom made high performance Power Flow Stainless steel exhaust system with CAT delete
Apex Springs with Bilstein B4 shocks
suede grip racing steering wheel with detachable hub
4 point racing harness's with custom made harness bar (original seatbelts are still in and work)
Hydraulic Handbrake fitted
Photo i took of my car
Its been a while since i updated the showcase. Ive been having some health issues but im still enjoying my car. Its been no bother at all. I replaced a few brake pipes for its test last time and bought four new tyres. The back screen is goosed now. I bought a replacement but ive not put it in yet. I think ill get to it this summer. Car dosnt do a lot of miles and stands for long periods but always cranks up and drives great when its time to play. As you know and have seen i do a lot of events in the car in the past. I managed to do the Wearside Classic Rally last September and i was running 3rd overall at dinner. However the lsd just stopped working in the afternoon session and i fell to 9th overall. still had a great day out.
I changed the oil in the diff and it seems to have resolved the issue. The oil must have just been old and overheated resulting in an open diff.
I may do the wearside classic again this year as i really love that event but the other events are on hold for the moment until my health returns.
Happy zedding and bye bye for now !!!
Its coming up to six years of ownership in July 2018. The old boot has lay dormant for nearly a year. Stuck the key in , started up and drove like kitten once the crud wore off the brakes .. i do love this car !!