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SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:36 p.m.

This has been a really long journey.  

I've been the owner of this car for more than 10 years, and have never made any progress.  First it was time.  Then it was talent.  Or more precisely, my LACK of talent.  I always wanted to do something with it, but this is gonna really stretch my abilities.

Disclaimer:  Though some people think I am pretty talented at this stuff, the truth is I don't know E36 M3.  I can't weld, I don't have a good shop, I can't do the math for decent suspension geometry, and I've never built an engine.  I am just a carpenter. Nothing more.  There is no reason I should be able to do any kind of automotive build.  OK, I've had a few good $20XX Challenge cars, including a podium overall finish, and several top autocross efforts.  But those cars were at least partly built by someone else.  I've never built a significant build from beginning to end.  So yeah... this will be as grassroots as it gets.  

 I didn't want to do a build thread.  It feels like too big a responsibility.  I suck at keeping them up.  But the truth is that I was afraid of making big promises that I couldn't keep and looking like an idiot.  I finally decided that I need your input.  I need your help.  I need you to hold me accountable and keep me on track, to inspire me, and to tell me when I am doing something stupid.

This build won't go quickly.  It will stall, and chase rabbits.  I have a family, and they are my priority.  But hopefully this will be great fun, and a fabulous car will be the result.  You will be a big part of it...   

The dream?  Retro-rod classic styling with a modern drivetrain and a weight to power ratio of about 6:1.  surprise  devil

Do I have your attention?? wink

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:41 p.m.

This is the starting point...

The Europa arrived in my shop sometime in the summer of 2009.  It was the GRM dreamer's whore.  It had been the property of 7 different GRMers (I think).  Each owner took a few pieces off of it, and there wasn't much left.  No engine, no trans, no rear, no interior, and a really E36 M3ty body.

But FREE Europa, right?  RIGHT??

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/29/19 6:42 p.m.

You have my attention, but you won't be beating me at the challenge.

Take dat sun!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:46 p.m.

In reply to Robbie :

Well, yes.  I absolutely intend to kick your ass.  cheeky

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:46 p.m.

At least it was rust free...

Robbie
Robbie GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/29/19 6:51 p.m.

I really do think you need to name this build Hotel California

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:52 p.m.

I want to give some credit to Machinenbau.

I had pulled out of participating in the Challenge for a few years.  I felt like it was being dominated by builders who put me to complete shame.  There was no way I could even consider competing with some of the incredibly talented builders who were showing up.  I enjoyed showing up and seeing their creations.  But I was never gonna build a 10 second car, and simply didn't have the fab skills to play.

Travis' win this year really inspired me.  He won with a great grassroots effort in a 13 second car.  He didn't take 1st in ANY category, but he did a tremendous overall performance.  And he reminded me what this event is all about. 

So, thanks Travis for making it grassroots again!

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
12/29/19 6:53 p.m.

You should keep it original! It's a classic! cheeky

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:54 p.m.

To put it in perspective, the young painter in this picture is now 6'-4", living on his own in ATL, and old enough to drink.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:54 p.m.

In reply to MrJoshua :

Nothing about this will be original.

RossD
RossD MegaDork
12/29/19 6:55 p.m.

I love Europas! I have 2 old Renault 688 engines and old swing axle transaxles I dont want and arent worth anything if you want them. They are rear engine versions and I dont know if thats matters.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 6:59 p.m.

I thought the first thing I needed to do was decide what engine to put in it.  I wanted about 300 hp.

Because I am not smart enough to pre-plan this, I just started trying to stick engines under it.  I wanted to keep the Lotus suspension and handling, because I thought that was the best part of the car (more on that later).  That meant keeping the chassis.  

But that meant the engine needed to fit tight in the "Y" of that chassis, in FRONT of the rear wheels...

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:00 p.m.

In reply to RossD :

Thank you for the offer.  Stay tuned... they are not gonna help me.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:04 p.m.

The first victim?  A 2.2L from a Dodge Spirit RT.

Yeah, I know.  It's pointed the wrong way...

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:05 p.m.

I guess it looked pretty cool.  

Too bad nothing about it was gonna work.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:06 p.m.

Maybe the other way...

 

 

Dear Lord, I am SO OUT OF MY LEAGUE!!!

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:07 p.m.

If I wasn't gonna cut the chassis and weld in a new rear section, there was no way the turbo Dodge was gonna work.

I had learned the chassis was gonna limit an awful lot, and I was on the hunt for something I could fit in the "Y".

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:15 p.m.

Next up, a VW ABA bottom end.

I figured with boost the motor may get close to my target, but more importantly it was small enough to fit, and would mate to the longitudal transmission from an Audi Fox, which had the side outputs, and could come close to driving the rear wheels from a location that wasn't in the next county.

It was a plan.  Then life happened...

 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:21 p.m.

Kids growing, job changes, endless things in the way.  The car sat for a long time. 

During that time, I considered the design hurdles.  My power goal was too big to hit with an engine that would fit.  The chassis really limited my choices for the rear end (and I totally suck at being able to design a rear suspension from scratch).  The firewall was cardboard (Factory OEM spec).  And the floor pan was bugging me.

It's fiberglass.  Completely.  There is absolutely NOTHING in a Europa to attach a roll bar to, and this thing was gonna be a total death trap with the power I was trying to put in it.  I couldn't come up with a solution that made me feel safe with the chassis, and I didn't want to give up on the Lotus handling.

The car sat for years.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:23 p.m.

I scored a nice LS, and thought I would try that.  Sofa King beat me to it!  (And he is a MUCH better fabricator than I will EVER be!!)

Nope.  Engine #3 wasn't gonna work.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/29/19 7:29 p.m.

I'm gonna take a break for a bit, but I'll give you a hint what's coming...

That chassis had to go.

physician
physician Reader
12/29/19 7:32 p.m.

The suspense is intense! Would a vigor inline 5 fit in? An old legends gs v6 6spd will be found? Or just an old VW 1.8t?

Recon1342
Recon1342 HalfDork
12/29/19 7:39 p.m.

Waiting...

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/29/19 7:41 p.m.

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