longhorndude
longhorndude New Reader
April 15, 2011 12:24 p.m.

so, i have discovered that repairing the rust on my miata is going to cost about half the value of the car... something that im not keen on knowing that i'm a poor college student and i will never get that money back. so heres my thoughts. drive it until june, get what i can for it, make it through the summer with the motorcycle, then when i get paid in september, find a decent e36 to enjoy. thoughts on the situation from anyone. i've driven my uncle's '97 m3 and it was probably one of the best drives of my life, granted ill be looking for a 323i probably, but i feel like this would be worth it. input please.

ReverendDexter SuperDork
April 15, 2011 12:34 p.m.

I think that justifying a 323 by how an M3 drives is setting yourself up for disappointment.

HStockSolo New Reader
April 15, 2011 12:54 p.m.

I like my 325i, but it has more than its share of rust. As far as suspension, that is all easy changed, and the unique suspension parts on the M3 are not worth much.

nderwater HalfDork
April 15, 2011 1:21 p.m.

My feelings on E36's run the gambit. The early 318i automatic is about the worst car BMW ever sold in this country. On the flip side, my E36 M3 is the best sedan I've ever owned - and it's bone stock. I nearly bought an E36 328is instead, but I'm glad I held out. The M3's powertrain and chassis work so well together, both at the track on on the street. My car is a bit of a beater, and is worth maybe $5,000 today.

My old NA Miata was a great car, but was from Long Island and I sold it instead of modifying it because of rust issues. On the other hand, my NB Miata is the most fun vehicle I've ever owned - but it has forced induction and suspension work. Nice turbo Miata's can be had for $5,000 or less.

What's your budget? If it's super low, why not just drive your current car as is until it falls apart? My Miata's have been the most affordable cars to maintain that I've ever owned - low operating costs are a lifesaver when you're on a shoestring budget.

AngryCorvair SuperDork
April 15, 2011 3:40 p.m.
longhorndude wrote: so heres my thoughts. fill it with expanding foam like this awesome guy did and drive it until it returns to the earth,

FTFY.

oldtin Dork
April 15, 2011 5:02 p.m.

sell off the extra stuff from the miata - buy steel tubing and aluminum panels - go fast

dj06482
dj06482 Reader
April 16, 2011 8:38 p.m.

My $0.02 is that I'd hold out and get an M3. I have a 328is with the 5spd and Sport Package, so in theory it's one step below the M. However with smaller brakes, less power (and lower redline), the suspension's not as good, the chassis lacks the M's reinforcements, and it has an open rear differential (M has the LSD and better ratios). In short, it's a big step between a lesser 3 series and the M. Although I love my 328is as a three seasons daily, the M just takes it that much further.

A 328is in good shape can be had for cheap (3-4.5K), but the M3s of the same vintage aren't much more. By the time you fix the deficiencies I mentioned above, you've easily spent more than you would have spent on the M3.

HStockSolo New Reader
April 16, 2011 11:26 p.m.
dj06482 wrote: My $0.02 is that I'd hold out and get an M3. I have a 328is with the 5spd and Sport Package, so in theory it's one step below the M. However with smaller brakes, less power (and lower redline), the suspension's not as good, the chassis lacks the M's reinforcements, and it has an open rear differential (M has the LSD and better ratios). In short, it's a big step between a lesser 3 series and the M. Although I love my 328is as a three seasons daily, the M just takes it that much further. A 328is in good shape can be had for cheap (3-4.5K), but the M3s of the same vintage aren't much more. By the time you fix the deficiencies I mentioned above, you've easily spent more than you would have spent on the M3.

I purchased my 325i for autocrossing, so I had some specific wants. The 1994 325i was the last year the LSD was an option. The 325 is also geared lower than the 328s, have a lighter transmission, and a better intake (there was also an M-Technic package that year for the 325 that had the same suspension as the 1995 M3 and same interior as the M3 LTW. That interior would be something to get. I so hate cheap leather interiors especially on neglected cars.)

The stock suspension is sure to be junk now on nearly any E36. If you want one of the M3 spring setups, sure, go ahead. It's not at all uncommon to see some clueless 325/328 seller touting the M3 suspension he had installed. Just know the reason they have them is because there are much better suspension options available.

April 16, 2011 11:40 p.m.
oldtin wrote: sell off the extra stuff from the miata - buy steel tubing and aluminum panels - go fast

Do that.

If only someone would write a book showing you how...

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