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speedf50
speedf50
5/13/13 5:19 p.m.

Am I making a mistake here? I'm at the turning point of buying sticky track tires for my 96 M3 and pulling out interior parts, or repairing a few blemishes and selling the car to fund a track dedicated Miata and E34 wagon daily.

My issue is the car is too clean... I feel bad prepping it for track duty as the interior is so clean, the exterior is in pretty good shape, and the engine/drivetrain are sound with pretty low miles for the year (120k). This is my only car and although I have some money in the bank incase the clutch goes out or some other smaller issues, I keep remembering the 3 motors I blew with my Subaru WRX (long story) and fear that if the same thing happened in my M3, I'd be broke and carless for weeks. Is this an irrational fear? Should I just enjoy this car on the track? It shows no signs of illness, and I've recently installed lots of new parts/maintenance items including konis with 450/500in/lb springs.

On the flipside, I've owned 3 Miatas and loved every one of them (except for daily driving in LA). They are so easy to work on, so easy to find parts for, and are much cheaper to run than the M3, plus I have turbo parts sitting around for one. That's exactly why the idea of a cheap track rat to build from the ground up, an E34 wagon to haul crap with, and some money left over to start the build, is so appealing. The tradeoff is a slower track car to start, storing an extra vehicle, and the time spent selling my car, and finding 2 new ones.

I'm driving myself crazy with this one, and keep finding new reasons for each side. I'd like to hear anyone else's input or opinions on the matter, a fresh perspective is just what I need.

speedf50
speedf50 New Reader
5/13/13 5:21 p.m.

And because I know everyone likes pictures, here's my M3

 photo B0463B66-B483-4346-B6F7-C4D15140FA3D-5009-00000C1477F53E23.jpg

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
5/13/13 5:35 p.m.

I would not trade a well prepped E36 M3 for a Miata as a track rat unless you are fine with going a lot slower and planning on buying a trailer too (how are you going to get 4 track tires and a big ass cooler full of beer to the track?).

I wouldn't want to drive to work in a Miata or an E34 over an E36 M3 either.

The M3 isn't going to be worth any more or less with a few character scars. Go beat the hell out of it at the track and use the money you save on insurance on two cars to keep up on brake pads and tires... or buy an F-150, a trailer and keep the M3.

long/short:
M3 > (Miata + E34) unless (E34 + LS v8 swap) & trailer tows Miata.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Reader
5/13/13 5:50 p.m.

2 >1

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Reader
5/13/13 6:01 p.m.

I would have more fun at the track flogging a miata than taking it easy on a m3 because I knew I'd be screwed if I could t drive it Monday morning.

If you want to do a big project not having to have it done for the Monday morning commute makes it much more feasible

dyintorace
dyintorace UltraDork
5/13/13 6:12 p.m.

I wish we were closer together. I'm hankering for another e36 M3 and would work to make a trade with you for my turbo Miata track car!

HappyAndy
HappyAndy SuperDork
5/13/13 6:36 p.m.

Why not keep the M3 as a track toy and just add the E34 as the DD? If your going to use any car as a track toy its going to take significant time and $$, unless your buying it already fully prepped.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
5/13/13 6:49 p.m.
icaneat50eggs wrote: I would have more fun at the track flogging a miata than taking it easy on a m3 because I knew I'd be screwed if I could t drive it Monday morning. If you want to do a big project not having to have it done for the Monday morning commute makes it much more feasible

This.

I want a car I can take to the track that if I wad it up, I'm not going to cry about it. A prepped $2k Miata is that car, pull off good parts, find another cheap shell, rinse and repeat.

Putting an $8-10k E36 M3 in the tire barrier? That would be VERY hard to swallow, especially if it was how I was supposed to get to work the next day.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
5/13/13 6:57 p.m.

Will worrying about the car hold you back on track? Will you be screwed if you mess up the suspension on one corner and cant drive it to work?

I say separate DD and track rat.

Markde
Markde New Reader
5/13/13 8:35 p.m.

I enjoyed having two cars, in fact I currently am enjoying having 6 . I'd say go for the e34/miata combo, it sounds pretty ideal because it is.

mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
5/13/13 8:59 p.m.

the answer is of course, you need to give two E36 M3s (sorry, had to play with the filter) A nice one to DD and a ratty one for track use

M3Loco
M3Loco Reader
5/13/13 10:24 p.m.

That's why I picked up an Mr2 to flog and keep the MCoupe nice and cozy for the daily drive and garage queen.

Ditch the M3 and enjoy life.

kanaric
kanaric New Reader
5/14/13 3:13 a.m.

how about a E34 M5?

speedf50
speedf50 New Reader
5/14/13 3:23 a.m.

Wow, thank you for all of the replies! It looks like most people on this forum would recommend a daily driver and track car on the side. I love my M3 and would like to drive it on the track, but as others have mentioned, the fear of crashing may very well keep me from using the car's full potential.

z31maniac wrote: I want a car I can take to the track that if I wad it up, I'm not going to cry about it. A prepped $2k Miata is that car, pull off good parts, find another cheap shell, rinse and repeat. Putting an $8-10k E36 M3 in the tire barrier? That would be VERY hard to swallow, especially if it was how I was supposed to get to work the next day.

This really does make a lot of sense, I would be devastated if I totaled my M3, not to mention without transport and little money to purchase a replacement vehicle. Looks like I'll be polishing up my M3 for sale this summer... If I had the funds to keep it as a DD plus a miata track car I would, but selling the E36 facilitates everything else on my current college budget.

speedf50
speedf50 New Reader
5/14/13 3:29 a.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I would not trade a well prepped E36 M3 for a Miata as a track rat unless you are fine with going a lot slower and planning on buying a trailer too (how are you going to get 4 track tires and a big ass cooler full of beer to the track?). I wouldn't want to drive to work in a Miata or an E34 over an E36 M3 either. The M3 isn't going to be worth any more or less with a few character scars. Go beat the hell out of it at the track and use the money you save on insurance on two cars to keep up on brake pads and tires... or buy an F-150, a trailer and keep the M3. long/short: M3 > (Miata + E34) unless (E34 + LS v8 swap) & trailer tows Miata.

You do make a good point about insurance, it's something I need to look into before making a final decision. However, while my M3 is clean, I still wouldn't consider it well prepped yet, which is one of the main reasons I'm assessing what to do before spending the money on expensive tires, brakes, and other track necessities instead of the cosmetic items that will help it sell.

Honestly I think an E34 would be more comfortable going to work/school than my M3 on konis and 450/500 in/lb springs, while nowhere near as much fun.

As for having no storage in the Miata for track days, there are mysterious ways to shove a set of wheels into a miata lol, but ideally I'd have a friend drive the E34 wagon behind with all the beer, tires, and tools.

Oh and a LS E34 would be amazing... I gotta look into that Sounds like a way better version of the E34 530i mini V8 wagon I've been eying.

D_Eclipse9916
D_Eclipse9916 New Reader
5/14/13 7:24 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: I want a car I can take to the track that if I wad it up, I'm not going to cry about it. A prepped $2k Miata is that car, pull off good parts, find another cheap shell, rinse and repeat. Putting an $8-10k E36 M3 in the tire barrier? That would be VERY hard to swallow, especially if it was how I was supposed to get to work the next day.

You can also do the wad up, pull off good parts and find another cheap shell with the M3. There is a reason I run an m3 as a race car. E36s all share the same chassis, aside from $40 rear subframe mounting plates that get welded on.

You can pick up shell M3s without motors for 800-1500 all day long. One of my very close friends hit a concrete wall with his m3. Body damage was in the 3-4k range. We picked up a shell for $800 and swapped everything over. Funny enough, by selling the interior, and the suspension off both his totalled car and the shell, it actually netted him a profit and we put in a welded roll bar and safety into his car without hitting the bank.

That said, having a daily is nice if things go sideways.

Type Q
Type Q Dork
5/14/13 8:17 a.m.

I too highly recommend having a track toy and daily driver. I have seen many nice road cars leaving the track day on a flatbed. I damaged my Miata at Laguna Seca last year. It a few months to get the money and energy to fix it. It was nice to have another daily driver during that time.

If you are doing this on a college student budget then a Miata is a good choice for motorsports fun. To answer an earlier post. The Miata is going to be slower than an M3 on the track. But if you can afford more track days because the operating costs are lower, and you aren't holding back because the car doesn't have to get to work (or class) Monday morning,that sounds like more hours fun to me.

F.Y.I. If you do decide to sell the M3 I might interested. I am considering getting a new daily driver later this year. I am in the Bay Area.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
5/14/13 9:25 a.m.
speedf50 wrote:
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: I would not trade a well prepped E36 M3 for a Miata as a track rat unless you are fine with going a lot slower and planning on buying a trailer too (how are you going to get 4 track tires and a big ass cooler full of beer to the track?). I wouldn't want to drive to work in a Miata or an E34 over an E36 M3 either. The M3 isn't going to be worth any more or less with a few character scars. Go beat the hell out of it at the track and use the money you save on insurance on two cars to keep up on brake pads and tires... or buy an F-150, a trailer and keep the M3. long/short: M3 > (Miata + E34) unless (E34 + LS v8 swap) & trailer tows Miata.

You do make a good point about insurance, it's something I need to look into before making a final decision. However, while my M3 is clean, I still wouldn't consider it well prepped yet, which is one of the main reasons I'm assessing what to do before spending the money on expensive tires, brakes, and other track necessities instead of the cosmetic items that will help it sell.

Honestly I think an E34 would be more comfortable going to work/school than my M3 on konis and 450/500 in/lb springs, while nowhere near as much fun.

As for having no storage in the Miata for track days, there are mysterious ways to shove a set of wheels into a miata lol, but ideally I'd have a friend drive the E34 wagon behind with all the beer, tires, and tools.

Oh and a LS E34 would be amazing... I gotta look into that Sounds like a way better version of the E34 530i mini V8 wagon I've been eying.

FWIW I advocate having a backup plan to get to work if you go to the track more than say 2-3 times a year. Not because you will wad up whatever car if you drive within your limits. That is a worse-case scenario that's pretty infrequent. 90% of the fladbeds roll because of driving over one's ability. Not using a good judgement and yanking the car back on track from an otherwise salvageable off is probably the biggest single crash cause in all of DE-dom. The main reason to have a 2nd car is you will eventually break the track car somehow when you are 300 miles from home on a Sunday evening... clutches and wheel bearings and little unpredictable oddities that make getting home harder will catch up to you as the weekends stack up.

Also, if you are going to have a "chase" vehicle, may as well have a tow vehicle instead. A decent 20' open trailer is cheap. So is an Exploder or 'burban. Then it does not matter what sort of POS you take to the track... you are getting home. Hey... might as well get an enclosed trailer... and a full cage....

Slippery slopes are slippery. If you only do a DE 2x a year... just take whatever car you have and have fun.

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter UberDork
5/14/13 9:30 a.m.

I'm firmly in the multiple car camp. Backups are awesome and compromise sucks.

nderwater
nderwater UberDork
5/14/13 10:40 a.m.

Why not have both - I've got an M3 and a Miata.

speedf50
speedf50 New Reader
5/14/13 6:34 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: FWIW I advocate having a backup plan to get to work if you go to the track more than say 2-3 times a year. Not because you will wad up whatever car if you drive within your limits. That is a worse-case scenario that's pretty infrequent. 90% of the fladbeds roll because of driving over one's ability. Not using a good judgement and yanking the car back on track from an otherwise salvageable off is probably the biggest single crash cause in all of DE-dom. The main reason to have a 2nd car is you will eventually break the track car somehow when you are 300 miles from home on a Sunday evening... clutches and wheel bearings and little unpredictable oddities that make getting home harder will catch up to you as the weekends stack up. Also, if you are going to have a "chase" vehicle, may as well have a tow vehicle instead. A decent 20' open trailer is cheap. So is an Exploder or 'burban. Then it does not matter what sort of POS you take to the track... you are getting home. Hey... might as well get an enclosed trailer... and a full cage.... Slippery slopes are slippery. If you only do a DE 2x a year... just take whatever car you have and have fun.

Thanks for all the input. I am leaning very heavily to the two car option as I would ideally like to start doing more events and the lower cost of consumables, lower initial investment, and backup vehicle all make sense and would give me more seat time with less prep time. Plus in a miata I would have the correct mentality of driving the wheels off the thing, instead of conserving consumables and babying the car.

I'd go the tow vehicle route, but I hate driving a truck/suv as a daily. They just feel too big and clumsy for me, not to mention the abysmal mpg in most pickups/suvs that are suitable to safely tow a 20" trailer, car, and supplies. Willow Springs is 100 miles from me, thank god for AAA (extended tow if anything were to happen.

Any why not have both? Money, what I could get for the M3 = E34 + miata + $ for parts. And it turns out my premiums would go up just $28 every 6 months!

Type Q wrote: F.Y.I. If you do decide to sell the M3 I might interested. I am considering getting a new daily driver later this year. I am in the Bay Area.

If you're still looking in a month or so let me know! I would be happy to sell it to a GRM member.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron UltimaDork
5/14/13 8:29 p.m.

Here is a test: If I were to give you enough money to fix it, would you kick in the door of your car as hard as you could? That answers whether or not you should track it.

z31maniac
z31maniac PowerDork
5/14/13 9:55 p.m.
D_Eclipse9916 wrote:
z31maniac wrote: I want a car I can take to the track that if I wad it up, I'm not going to cry about it. A prepped $2k Miata is that car, pull off good parts, find another cheap shell, rinse and repeat. Putting an $8-10k E36 M3 in the tire barrier? That would be VERY hard to swallow, especially if it was how I was supposed to get to work the next day.

You can also do the wad up, pull off good parts and find another cheap shell with the M3. There is a reason I run an m3 as a race car. E36s all share the same chassis, aside from $40 rear subframe mounting plates that get welded on.

You can pick up shell M3s without motors for 800-1500 all day long. One of my very close friends hit a concrete wall with his m3. Body damage was in the 3-4k range. We picked up a shell for $800 and swapped everything over. Funny enough, by selling the interior, and the suspension off both his totalled car and the shell, it actually netted him a profit and we put in a welded roll bar and safety into his car without hitting the bank.

That said, having a daily is nice if things go sideways.

Not only do I think you missed the point, I've got a hard time believing that decent E36 M3 shells are available "all day long" for ~$1k

D_Eclipse9916
D_Eclipse9916 New Reader
5/15/13 7:48 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Not only do I think you missed the point, I've got a hard time believing that decent E36 M3 shells are available "all day long" for ~$1k

I respectfully disagree, as I was in his position about 4 years ago deciding to rip up a perfectly nice and beautiful 1999 m3. I decided to do it and have enjoyed every minute of it. I considered going miata + daily, I considered all of that.

In the end, I kept mine, tracked it, and over the course of the 4 years turned it into a race car, and once I got the money, I got a cheap gas truck, and had a cheap "fun" daily.

As far as the "800-1500 shells". What typically happens is people are delusional and advertise $2k for their shells, but quickly drop to $1-1500 after a couple weeks having a useless piece of metal taking up a lot of space.

Here is a wtb post of not wanting to spend over $1k, he got a couple offers, and found one pretty easily... http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1962248-wtb-e36-m3-shell!&highlight=shell

kazoospec
kazoospec HalfDork
5/15/13 12:19 p.m.

I turned my STX prepped Spec V into a Miata and a Saturn SL. In retrospect, I'd have to say it was a good move. I don't do track days (yet), but even at an autocross level there's a certain freedom in knowing your Monday ride to work is sitting safe at home in the garage. The additional bonus with a Miata is that most of the major stuff that breaks (including the shell itself) is cheap and readily available.

I can only assume if/when I throw track days into the mix, I'll only be happier with the 2 car decision. Also, with both cars as liability only (if that's available in your state), 2 car vs. 1 car insurance was pretty much a wash.

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