May 5, 2008 update to the BMW 325is project car

Chromepocalypse!

The rubber spring pads are easy to remove, but doing so requires disconnecting the damper and the anti-roll bar mount while the car is in the air.
We pulled the top and bottom spring pad from the left side only, giving our car a bit more right-side bias as indicated on the corner weighting scales.
All Thugnificent Chromepocalypse brand wheels--well, the one, anyway--are carefully prepared by master wheel artisans in our surgically clean rapid prototyping facility.
Our state-of-the-art welding robots apply precision welds to ensure that the decorative enhancements are one with the wheel.
Naturally, the Thugnificent Chromepocalypse wheel is balanced in conjunction with our patented Looksaboutright process. This ensures wobble-free rolling at idle and perhaps beyond.
With European-style speed bolts secured to the decorative outer fascia elements, the Thugnificent Chromepocalypse wheel is sent to our incomparable chrome plating facility, where master chrome artisans apply several coats of gangstah-quality bling.
Oh, snap! Snap indeed, Johnny, that's one glorious Thugnificent Chromepocalypse wheel. Now none will question that we've got some junk in our trunk.
We were shocked to find that the Thugnificent Chromepocalypse wheel and tire combo added exactly 50 pounds to the car's overall weight. That's the price to pay for a stylish spare, it seems. Oh well.

Our season debut with the Spec E30 is less than a week away, so we needed to address our weight issue. Specifically, our car is very light, and we needed to add some ballast to ensure that we’d still be over the class minimum of 2750 pounds with driver after we’ve burned up some fuel. When we weighed the car with a full gas tank, we only had 4 pounds of leeway; that’s less than a gallon of gas.

We were also a bit discouraged by the rear corner weights of our car; the left rear was 100 pounds heavier than the right rear. Fellow Spec E30 racer Rob Keehner saw our forum thread at spece30.com and suggested we play with the spring pads to get a slightly more favorable distribution.

To review, before touching the pads, we had corner weights (in pounds) of:
LF 729 - RF 743
LR 691 - RR 591

We pulled the top and bottom spring pads from the left rear spring perches and weighed the car again. Sure enough, we saw an improvement:
LF 753 - RF 718
LR 668 - RR 615

The time had come to address our low curb weight. In the interest of playing legal, we consulted the Spec E30 rule book.

9.2.2. A car found to be underweight after a qualifying session shall (3.1) have securely mounted ballast installed in the passenger compartment to meet the minimum weight requirement without exceeding the maximum ballast weight allowed. Alternatively, a spare tire may (3.1) be placed in the spare tire well and appropriately secured. The car shall (3.1) start at the back of the grid for the race if it meets the minimum weight requirement.”

We knew that our salvation lay in the spare tire wording. There are many kinds of spares in the world, and rather than settle for the relatively lightweight aluminum spare that wasn’t doing us enough good, we decided to create the Thugnificent Chromepocalypse: the ultimate spare. Nowhere in the rules does it say that the spare can’t have a little bit of style.

Each Chromepocalypse wheel is made from the finest raw materials. We went to a junkyard and found the heaviest steel 4x100 14-inch wheel and tire combo we could (about $20). The plain face of the wheel simply would not do, so we went to our local decorative supplier (the Wal-Mart fitness section) and found some metallic discs that would echo the wheels’ round theme even as they redefined its aesthetic. Wheels within wheels, people.

Our master artisan technician (Tech Editor Per) carefully prepared the Chromepocalypse with the deft touch of an enraged gorilla, and then sent the wheel to the welding department (Tech Editor Per) for the careful attachment of the decorative elements. Not to be outdone by those fancy European wheel companies, we gave the wheel a quartet of Grade 5 bolts to ensure that the decorative elements are doubly resistant to the advances of jealous thieves who covet thy neighbor’s bling.

Finally, the Chromepocalypse was sent to our chroming facility to receive its angelic outer coating. Carefully hand-lettered chrome decals were then affixed to the wheel, leaving no doubt that the end result is, in fact, the Thugnificent Chromepocalypse.

With the Chromepocalypse in place, our weight is looking much better at 2804 pounds with a full tank of gas. Corner weights to come shortly.

EDIT: Corner weights with the Chromepocalypse in place and a full tank of gas (minus maybe 6 minutes running time worth of fuel):
LF 746 - RF 718
LR 700 - RR 640
TOTAL 2804

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Comments
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Durty
Durty New Reader
4/1/16 11:23 a.m.

I recognize this was 8 years ago, but why would y'all prefer a spare tire and not just corner weights?

Desmond
Desmond HalfDork
4/1/16 11:33 a.m.

I'm guessing because it keeps the weight lower and more central in the car.

2002maniac
2002maniac Dork
4/1/16 11:58 a.m.

This was a great project. Is Scott still around?

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing Dork
4/1/16 12:23 p.m.

He has a BMW spec racing article in the new issue and is also listed as a frequent contributor.

rob_lewis
rob_lewis SuperDork
4/1/16 1:26 p.m.
Durty wrote: I recognize this was 8 years ago, but why would y'all prefer a spare tire and not just corner weights?

I read the article as saying there was an upper limit to how much ballast can be added to a car. The amount they would need to add would go over that. However, the spare had no designation other than being a spare, so it could weigh as much as they wanted.

Sounds like they read the rules with their Smoky Yunick glasses on.

-Rob

Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
4/1/16 2:03 p.m.
2002maniac wrote: This was a great project. Is Scott still around?

Yep, Scott is still around. He's been doing freelance work for us, as he's now a stay at home Dad. And of course, he still has his beloved ITR---which suits him perfectly. I don't think I've ever seen a better car-- driver pairing. They must've been formed in some sort of unholy automotive / human mating ritual.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
4/1/16 2:13 p.m.
rob_lewis wrote:
Durty wrote: I recognize this was 8 years ago, but why would y'all prefer a spare tire and not just corner weights?

I read the article as saying there was an upper limit to how much ballast can be added to a car. The amount they would need to add would go over that. However, the spare had no designation other than being a spare, so it could weigh as much as they wanted.

Sounds like they read the rules with their Smoky Yunick glasses on.

-Rob

I've heard of spare tires that were filled with water or concrete, or whatever the owner could shove inside.

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