I’ve been very busy of late. My mind has been 24/7 on cars… mine in particular. The picture above is my latest affair, a German coupe that took a lot of searching for and a lot of changing of minds. Up until purchasing her I’ve also been very confused, and now she’s mine, I still am. You see, it’s all to do with drifting…
HeLLga takes the place of my Subaru WRX. I loved my Scooby and it’s surge of turbo but the AWD didn’t allow for drifting unless you entered at high speed, murdered the engine and felt the horrible resistance of Jap technology – a lot of noise and unsettling vibrations – reminding you a trip to the bank was imminent. As we all know, RWD is the only way to go if sliding is your game, so I watched more videos, read more articles and had my mind on something a little different. However, HeLLga wasn’t on the list at the beginning.
I ended up dismissing the RX-8 and S2000 because of their low torque compared to other rivals. The RX-7 and Nissan 240ZX were out of the question, as were the Skyline R32 & 33 because I simply couldn’t bring myself to butcher and abuse such great classics. As for the Silvias, meh, they just don’t do anything for me. Although the S13 could’ve been a possibility, finding a solid example that wasn’t automatic and painted gold was impossible – they’ve all been snapped up, slammed, and had their innards ripped out by hardcore drifters.
So I was 100% sure I wanted an MR2 Turbo, the mid-engined lunatic above I knew could be drifted (albeit with some different approaches and methods). Yeah, I was going to be a little different and the MR2 Turbo was going to be my daily/drift missile…
…until I remembered the late Giorgi Tavzadze and his BMW E34 M5. I then found myself re-watching the E34 325i chase scene in Ronin. I’d seen some mean-looking old-school Bimmers as drift missiles before, and the decision was finally made after witnessing The Ugly Duckling, a stock-engined E36 325i climb a carpark sideways.
Having owned an E46 M3 and remembering how powerful yet planted it was, I did a little research into why the former E36 M3 and 325i models were so popular as drifters. Because they are lighter, have a 50/50 weight ratio and good torque, the E36 chassis was perfect for the job. The 325i seemed the most popular because of its bombproof and revvy 2.5-L inline 6, plus its cheaper repair and maintenance bills over the M3. Many welded the diff, too, something I was thinking of getting done. Although turbos were a popular add-on to the 325i, I’ve seen enough videos to know they can be drifted with the right set-up.
However, after I handed over the cash and sunk into HeLLga’s leather embrace, I realised what a beauty I had aquired. Spotless, 62K miles all accounted for with 8 BMW stamps in the service book. The small white torch, tool kit and first aid kit were all present, and as for the interior, well, I knew I wouldn’t be ripping it out any time soon. I realised all of this whilst driving her home, a car I couldn’t believe was 19-years-old. She was solid, taut and her 6-cylinders hummed and let out that familiar hiss and BMW rasp at high revs.
So what do I do now?
After a rather reserved effort but enough to maintain a slide (this was on a quiet road in the evening with no traffic whatsoever), I came to only one conclusion: Buy a high mileage 325i beater, of course.
Ed: If you enjoyed this post or love old school Bimmers, check out the 2nd part with HeLLga.