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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
No, we are not going to talk about sleeping in the car although there is enough room for me to do so. This is a short story about wolf in sheep's clothing.







This is what the car looks like now. Somewhat sporty grocery/kids hauler, right? It's actually a bit more sporty than it looks.

North America hates wagons for some reason. They are very popular in Europe and you can buy some very nice high performance models. BMW only brought the 325 (2.5 liter 6 cylinder with 184hp) here and most of them had automatic transmissions.
My wife unexpectedly doubled the size of our family (twins) so my 325 coupe was no longer practical. I wanted to stay with BMW but I was a bit disappointed with their new car offerings.
So I decided to build my own sport wagon ...

It started by several month long search that resulted in finding this gem:





High mileage, ugly aftermarket mirrors and fiberglass body kit, paint chipping off from DIY colour matched body moldings, interior full of dog hair. But the potential was there.

At first I just wanted to swap in an engine from the 330 model (225hp). I already had a stage 1 twinscrew supercharger from my 325 at home for added performance. I would just have to clean up the looks.

So I pulled out the credit card and first parts started to arrive (engine and OEM sideskirts):



With the engine out it was very easy to do a lot of preventative maintenance so I ordered just about every gasket, hose, sensor, and other replacement parts I could (this is only about one third of all parts):



Time to start taking things apart, it's easier to pull the engine with the front of the car removed:



Might as well do VANOS



Halfway through the project things started to snowball a bit. I was thinking that when I'm already putting in this much work I might as well go all in. So I ordered a stage 2 upgrade (injectors, smaller pulley to raise boost to 8.5 PSI, air to liquid intercooler). The car came with 5 speed transmission rated for 250lbs of torque and it started to look like I would be putting over 370 through it. Oh well, I always wanted a 6 speed anyway.







Now that I was expecting more power and needed to change the differential I ordered limited slip gears from Quaife and some boost and AFR gauges to be hidden in the sunglasses holder:





Showtime. Out with old:





In with the new:



Supercharger got the intercooler cores



With the new engine in I was pretty sure it would drive well so I decided to make it look good. All new side and bumper moldings, OEM M-Tech II bumper



The car runs! You can barely see the supercharger on the right side of the engine. If you don't know what it's supposed look like it will appear pretty stock.



Yeah, but what about that wheel gap?



Billstein has the answer (PSS10)



Dyno time! This was taken on a Mustang dyno that typically reads lower than a Dynojet. Still, with calculating 17% drivetrain loss it outputs close to 400hp and over 350lbs of torque from 2500 to 6000 RPMs.



With the gauges hidden behind the sunglasses holder flip door the car looks very stock. An M3 steering wheel, 265/35/18 rear tires, and lower ride height might give hints that the car is modified but not many people expect this level of performance from a wagon (again, things are a bit different in Europe but I'm talking about this side of the world).

So was it worth the time and money? Would I do it again? Hell yes, it was fun. I had no previous experience working on cars. My biggest job prior to this was changing my own brake pads. I learned a lot and enjoyed every minute of it. Now the car puts a smile on my face when just looking at it and an evil grin everytime I press the accelerator pedal :D
 

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damn.. very nice and cant believe you had no experience doing this before. nicely done! and thats one fast wagon now!
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Very nice! Any videos of the sound?
It sounds pretty stock, just a bit louder. The headers are from BimmerBrakes (coated), mid section is Super Sprint cross pipe with high flow cats, rear section is stock.

Taylor - I doubt the car will ever be up for sale. Maybe if I win a lotery and build even faster one based on a e9x or f3x :D
 

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Fantastic build... I always had a soft spot for wagons especially the e46, and with the Mtech-II package I think it looks amazing. Congratulations !
 

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It sounds pretty stock, just a bit louder. The headers are from BimmerBrakes (coated), mid section is Super Sprint cross pipe with high flow cats, rear section is stock.

Taylor - I doubt the car will ever be up for sale. Maybe if I win a lotery and build even faster one based on a e9x or f3x :D
Curious to know if you did any research on the headers before you purchased. What made you choose the bimmerbrakes headers over the more inexpensive headers on the market? Im am currently shopping for a set for my wagon. thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Curious to know if you did any research on the headers before you purchased. What made you choose the bimmerbrakes headers over the more inexpensive headers on the market? Im am currently shopping for a set for my wagon. thanks.
I think both are based on the Super Sprint catless headers design. I was made to believe that BimmerBrakes version is better built and fits better. I remember somebody comparing them, using a magnet to determine BB used better steel for the flange. Also by ordering BB you can eliminate the common mistake of receiving wrong type (323 header for 325 or vice versa).

If you are planning on installing them yourself I would suggest the BB, if you will have a shop do it then I think you can save some money as they probably have better tools to make them fit (if the midsection needs to be modified).

Please note that this happened 3 years ago and there might be better options now.

I would love to have a Touring like that to carry gear to jobs.
If I could build it anyone can. The truth is that for the money I spent on this I could have had a low mileage S4 Avant. But I would have boring car and would have missed out on the fun of learning.
 

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AW wagon that is SC'd? :drool:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Small update on the stereo.

Stock head unit into Audiocontrol LCi6 line out converter
Alpine PDR-V75 5 channel amp (4x75W and 1x250W RMS at 4ohms) with remote sub level control
Alpine SPR-C60 component fronts
Alpine SPR60 two way speakers rear
JL Audio 10inch W3V34 sub in a custom spare tire enclosure (there is space for the thin spare under it)

Looks stock, just the way I like it (well, I could vacuum the trunk perhaps)




I'm not sure if the sedan has that little covered area in front of the spare tire. The touring does.




... and this is what I filled it with.




The sub hits incredibly hard for just 10inch with less than 1 cubic foot sealed box. Doesn't go very deep but it's really tight and that's what I was going for. Any song with good kick drum (Rage Against the Machine, Foo Fighters ...) is now joy to listen to.
 

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This is just too f'n cool. What a great touring!
 
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