I let my pile of wreckage sit on the trailer for weeks. I wasn’t devastated but I was upset that I only had one event after finishing it to enjoy. I hadn’t even washed it. Speaking to the owner of Spirit he saw that I had entered way too early right in a dip that gripped the car up and shot me straight at the wall. He had stopped me earlier telling me that the car looked to be way too gripped up on the Kendas. It had so much grip the front was pushing despite them being RS-RR’s. He suggested going up in air pressure. I decided to drive around it since I had spent so much time working on the car that day. I just wanted to drive. Big mistake. The spot I hit I was told was hit a number of times by other drivers which is why folks are told not to manji the straight. I was entering but since it was so early and aggressive I might as well have been manjiing.
The car had served its purpose. I crashed it and not the SC which I had driven at the previous spirit events. Those K-Rails are what pushed me to find a car that I would not regret crashing.
Now I had a choice to make. I just spent a lot of time and energy making a cage for the car. I could buy a new shell and cut it out or try to fix the smashed shell. It was kind of special since it was an M sport. I loved the color combo, and I had zero desire to put that amount of work in again any time soon.
Some local friends suggested a guy who they had used for frame damage previously. So I contacted him and sent detailed photos for assessment. He was confident it could be fixed as long as the center of the car was straight. The roll cage made the odds pretty good that would be the case. He estimated no more than $2,500 for the job. I was 100% ok with that. So I took the car back to my homies shop to get it rolling. I collected some super cheap parts in case I was going to end up not following through and got the car rolling. New wheels, new front coils, new steering rack, knuckles.
The only devastating part of the damage was my equips. I have owned these wheels longer than any car. They were boofed. Original lips and barrels. It took months to find someone willing to attempt to fix them. Most people laughing at what I wanted to do.
I had a Juneteenth event up in Wisconsin (I will make a separate post about that) that I needed to get to immediately so I pulled the SC out and drove to Wisconsin to forget about the 28 for a while.
When I returned I got the news the passenger cell of the car was straight and that I should pick up the car and pull the engine and return it for the actual work.
When I went to pick up the car the vibe was 100% different. The frame guy was giving me everything he could to discourage me from fixing the car. I had explained to him before that I JUST finished building the cage and had no desire to build another or cut it out and put into another vehicle. I just had a son and I had less time than money. When I pressed him he confirmed it was still fixable but he was about to move to a new house, he had other projects, it was going to take a long time etc. but it was fixable. So I told him I would take the car home, pull the motor and bring it back. He informed me that he spent more time on the car than he was going to charge me, at least $400 worth.
When I went to load the car up he informed me that the engine block had broken when he attempted to pull the frame. The engine block is the hardest part of an entire car and the mounts were broken so this made zero sense. Underneath the car was a massive oil puddle. He pulled the dipstick and sure enough there was no oil in the car. I asked him how he knew it was the block and not the oil pan which is aluminum. He told me he saw it leaking from the block after a pull. Immediately I figured this was the reason for the 180 in his confidence in fixing the car. He reminded me that he had more hours into the car than he was charging me, at least $700 worth. I decided to get out of there before the figure went over $1000.
I paid him the $300 for the frame time and took the car home. Frustrated at my wasted time and money. As I backed the trailer into its space I saw the passenger side over fender had blown off. I determined in my mind I was scrapping the car at that very moment. That was the final straw. I was not ordering another kit from overseas especially now when covid had slowed delivery globally. But when I got out I saw something that was a sign to not give up…
I had driven 2 hours at 90mph and the tire and strap saved the entire car. It sat on the trailer untouched for another 4 or 5 months. I didn’t even move the over fender.
During this time I checked various outlets for cheap cars. 300ZX, E36, S14, anything to switch to. But prices had gotten out of control. I also was able to pick up my wheels after they were most expertly repaired by Ehrlich Wheels. I paid a pretty good amount but the wheels were saved. Thanks to those guys again and jog off to everyone that said it couldn’t be done. I intended on putting the wheels back on the M3 fresh from paint. But when I put the car on the ground I instantly and inexplicably hated it.
So I put the Sparcos back on and sold the wheels to a homie who will take good care of them. He has dope style and drives real fancy.
At this point I started searching for another frame shop. Of the ones that responded, none were willing to take on the job. Finally I found a shop less than 10 min from me on Google that looked promising. An old school body guy from Detroit. So I emailed photos and his response was “We have fixed worse.” So I took the car for him to assess. It was bad but he was confident they could fix it. He warned me it would not be cheap. But at $50 an hour I was hopeful. He said they would need to find another car to take a front clip off of as well as measurements. So I stopped by the local junkyard and found a junked vert. The body shop planned to send their guys to the yard to cut off the front end that weekend. Sunday night browsing marketplace I found a deal that was like the older days. A complete 97 328i in MANUAL. Blown headgasket, asking price very reasonable. I just so happened to be off work the next day. So I messaged the seller and arranged to go get the car. Monday morning I pulled the 99 off the trailer and into my garage in the rain. I had just pulled the engine out which made it slightly easier. The rain however did not.
So my son and I drove 2 hours north to the Richmond area. Ironically where I had crashed the 99. I didn’t even negotiate the price. Paid, and loaded up the car for the drive home.
The frame guy from earlier saw the IG photos of the new car and messaged me telling me he was glad I went the route of re-shelling as it would have been too much work and too expensive. about 5 or 6 months of silence, and this was the first time he messaged me. I informed him I bought the car to cut up to fix the silver one and he stopped responding.
This purchase was perfect. Every bracket, clip, body piece, pump, line, I had put into my shopping carts pre-emptively I deleted. Not only could I use the body parts, the transmission that had been damaged in the crash would be usable. The PS pump, AC pump had also taken damage and I would have all of that for the sum of the car. MAJOR BOOST. The only things I would need to purchase would be the headers I planned to upgrade to, stiffer motor mounts, and glass headlights. I would be able to sell off the rest of the parts that I would not use and scrap the rest for whatever I could get. I would also have a spare engine to build for boost if I so chose. But first, I put everything up for sale. Both cars as a package deal. This was my last out before I went head first into the project.
Zero bites. So I took that as a sign and dived into pulling the engine.
This brings things current. I dropped both cars off at the body shop. I’m praying this is a good and straight forward experience because God knows that I have had too many bad shop experiences.