BMW E28 M535i Driftcar, buildstory and Alpina V12

After using the pristine BMW M535i at Papenburg, we were certain E28’s are preferable to E30’s when it comes to drifting. The indirect recirculating ball steering rack, widely regarded as inferior to the E30 rack-and-pinion, makes for larger steering (and drifting) angle.

The M535i you see above remains standard, and is only used for street use. The M535i below, is the result of  a three-year innovation. As we like to put most our money into the E30 Alpina racecar, we try to stay on budget for the E28 M535i driftcar by fabricating most of the stuff ourselves.. The car is currently getting an Alpina V12 5.0 out of an E31 Alpina B12 coupe, but there’s been quite a story to the car before we got to this :

We got ourselves another BMW E28 after paying the storage bill of the past 6 years, so to say it was cheap. However, there were many problems with the car, it appeared that time wanted to turn it into a CSL, because the corrosion was having a field day. The engine didn’t start, the brakes failed, the interior was badly worn, the bodykit looked like it hit every car in this hemisphere and the LSD was more of an SD. However, it was an originally Dutch 1986 model, and I immediately fell in love with it.

We decided restoring it would be way too costly, with pristine examples going for 6-8 in 2006. So, a driftcar slash racecar was to be its destiny. I started out doing what I love most, completely stripping the interior and getting rid of all the sound deadening. The E28 is notoriously ‘shaky’ regarding the body, it wasn’t untill the E34 that BMW started using sills made out of steel thicker than an envelope. I welded in reinforcements in the critical places, and welded most of the spot-welded areas completely. This is time-consuming since one can’t simply start welding as you would drawing a line, because the heat would warp the thin material. Doing one part of about an inch at the time and jumping back and forward to dissipate heat is the trick. Picture shows the inner wheelwell on the drivers side

Because of corrosion, I also discarted the fuel filler door and replaced the tank by a maritime 20 liter tank, with a quick-release knob in the parcel shelf. An all-alloy 1960’s style filler cap was added just under the rear window, making it easy to fill fuel from both sides. The alloy 4mm strip that hosts the filler is incorporated into the chassis for 45cm length.

Given the fact that good rust-free front wings aren’t that easy to come by, I decided to save the RH side:

I made some new steel and welded it to the wing:

Sills were badly corroded, I welded in some L-shaped 2mm strip and attached that to the frontal inner wheelwell

This being a racecar, I went for form-follows-function.

The car is to receive a rollcage too, but for that the indicator stalks would be in the way of getting in. The E28 has considerably smaller doors than an E30 2-door, so I decided to take all stalks off the dash and replace them by an alloy custom dash:

Exhaust was gone too, I decided to make a sidepipe that exited through the LH rear door, after that I made a rectangular box, and after that, exhaust version 1.3, I used a Flowmaster 3″ twin muffler on the RH side.

I also got hold of a replacement LSD, of Ivo Christov, the resident E28 specialist.

Painted it, stuck it on.

Floor painted, starting to look like something:

I cut out the inner frame of the bootlid.

Machined a flange for the quick-release steering wheel hub.

I went for the BMW -M colors on the body, since this was a budget job, (in parts the whole story you see above costed € 2,500) I sprayed it with a can.

Also, the windows got replaced for Lexan, some Alpina B10 E34 wheels, the front bumper is merely the plastic outside and has quick-release.

After the M30 engine failed horribly horribly at ATP Papenburg (it had done a considerably amount of its 288.000 km on full throttle), we luckily got an Alpina V12, which is in the process of being installed now. More info under the post ‘Toy Box’ of some weeks ago. As this build is one we want to document, rather than the above build simply being full improvisation, it takes a bit of time to get all the custom parts CAD drawn and waterjet-cut. But, 350+ hp in a 1089kilo car, that’s our idea of fun.

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This entry was posted in Alpina, BMW, Drift, E28, E30, Magazine, Racing, Uncategorized, Wheelmen and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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