VIDEO. Budget BMW. Rallying a $2000 1988 E30 325is. Drive

NOW UPDATED WITH PART 4. In its new ‘ Budget BMW ‘ video series, TheDrive team discovers just how much motorsport can be done with a 1988 BMW 325is bought and modified for just $2000. First up, hot laps at Raceway Park, rock crawling in Colorado, and competing on the Empire State Performance Rally

Here’s a question: what car could be bought on a relatively moderate budget, tweaked, and then used to compete in as many race events as possible, both on-road and off, without spending ‘racecar’ levels of money? TheDrive team figured it was time to find out.

Few could knock their choicer of road and rally charger, a 1988 E30 325i bought for $2000. That’s not to say there weren’t issues from the get-go, however. In the first episode, new 325is owner Ryan Symancek admits that “[he] knows literally nothing about BMWs” and must therefore put his trust – and his $2000 budget – in the previous owner Eric Rivera: “I know…I just bought a pile of shit, but this was the most rust-free shell I could find in my area.” Solid start there, Ryan.

Fortunately things do start to improve. After a quick shakedown at Raceway Park in Englishtown with Mike Spinelli (in which the Beemer’s 2.5-litre ‘M20’ six-cylinder miraculously does not blow up), the 325is is sent to Broken Motorsports garage to have its ride height raised, a new skid plate added and its suspension basically gutted ahead of a quick rock crawling exercise in Colorado for NBC Sports. More was to follow though ahead of the Budget BMW’s first ever rally, the Empire State Performance Rally.

To start with, Ryan gutted the 325is interior, including seats, upholstery, the dashboard, and even the sound deadening. Next up was a custom-built roll cage, repairs to a completely smashed fuel tank (again, rock crawling), and a brand new clutch and flywheel. And yes, Ryan really did sleep at the shop, and no, he didn’t shower for four days.

But how did Ryan and co-driver Alex Jagger fare with the Budget BMW on the rally stages? Let’s put it this way, the ‘roads’ were “bullshit” and before the rally had even begun, the 325is refused to start. And this is before the 325is’ final challenge, a lemons endurance race….

  • You can check out more in-depth details on the build HERE

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