Sol’s E46 Rally Build… Introduction

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Growing up Sol was an all time fan of RWD cars, and rallying was always a distant dream of his. Fast forward to being in a position to turn it into a reality, Sol jumped on the opportunity and gave it some serious thought. Given his experience with project cars over the years, he knows how complicated and time consuming they can become. Having a reliably built car needed to be at the core of his decision; and after doing a fair portion of research for a competitive RWD car, Sol landed on the idea of a BMW.

Specifically the E46 M3, which is not only reliable but is also a very strong competitive based car and is the most logical choice to start with. In addition to this, he would be taking a leap into a form of racing that he had little to no experience. Not being versed in this form of motorsport from a competitive standpoint, Sol spent a significant amount of time doing some research on the vehicle itself as he never owned a performance based BMW before. The E46 comes from the factory with a very capable motor, suspension and braking system; this is combined with a great chassis, making it optimal for most forms of motorsport.

Upon making a decision on moving forward with this plan, Sol went on a hunt for an unmolested E46 that wouldn’t require much effort in transforming it to rally specifications. As the BMW is a European based car, he decided it would be best to search within the U.K for a car that matches his criteria. He was successful in his search and found a great base to start with and immediately went to work on having the car stripped to be prepared. We’ll be taking a look at the first photos of the car when Sol purchased it and following through upon arrival on the island.

 

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A first look at the E46 M3 Sol purchased, which was in mint condition…

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A look at the rear of the car while it was in the showroom on display…

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A look at the interior with the optional leather seats…

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Given the age, the car was relatively low mileage…

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Moving to the rear you guys can get a look at just how well maintained the car was…

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Another shot of the rear just before it was on the way to be stripped…

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A few engine bay shots of the bone standard S54 motor…

The car was then stripped and sent to Custom Cages. While it was there the guys fitted it with one of their units to ensure the car will be legal for competition. This would also speed up the process of having the cage fabricated locally after it arrived. Upon completion the car was then loaded up and shipped…

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Shortly after the car was cleared and arrived at the workshop…

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The doors and other misc pieces stuffed inside of the car…

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A look at the partially torn apart front end as the car sat on a pallet…

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A look at the bay with the hood removed; from here the remaining items will be stripped before sending it off to be painted…

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A first look at the cage after the guys showed it some love with some sand paper…

The car sat for some time after arriving on the island awaiting some parts before it was sent off to Corbin’s Garage to begin the bodywork and paint phase…

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Based on the condition, it was clear the car had been sitting in storage for quite a while. Nevertheless it was time to start making some moves on the build…

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The E46 shell shortly after it arrived at the garage for the guys to fully assess the condition and make a decision on how they should proceed…

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Since the car’s arrival on the island, the front end had not been reassembled; a side shot of the missing front fender…

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Varying angles of the torn apart front end exposing the steering rack and bottom arms…

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A shot of the engine bay where the cage ties into the shock towers…

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Moving our way to the inside of the car, the exposed Custom Cages unit had seen better times…

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A look at the dash bar that ties into the cage…

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A view of the gusseted driver’s side door bars…

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Bars on bars on bars…

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In the rear a significant amount of pipe was added to aid with the rigidity of the chassis…

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A view of the trunk area…

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A glimpse of the fitment on the factory wheels…

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From the factory the E46 M3 comes with BBS 18×8 wheels at the front and 18×9 in the rear…

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The wheels came wrapped in a set of 225/45 series tyres…

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Another look at the gusseted door bar, this time from the passenger’s side…

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Cant get enough of this centre gusseted cross bar setup…

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A look at where the mid points of the centre section ties into the chassis…

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The guys went all out on the gusseted sections on this cage, here they are in the cross bars for the roof…

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A look at the floor where the factory seating brackets were removed in favor of some custom seating brackets that would allow both driver and navigator to be positioned lower in the car…

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Full side shot of the M3 sitting…

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After going through the car from top to bottom the guys came up with a game plan and started to begin work…

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A view through the quarter panel where you catch a glimpse of the Custom Cages tag…

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The guys began by first stripping the remaining sealant from within the cabin….

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The guys were making steady progress throughout the interior…

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Next up was the removal of the rear windshield as to make things significantly easier while preparing the interior…

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The trunk area after the bulk of the sealant was removed…

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Along with the rear windshield, the front was also removed…

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Working our way to the engine bay, it was clear where the guys spent most of their time…

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A view of the current state of the engine bay after the guys went to work…

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Random shot of the rear of the gutted E46 where the bars seem the be in perfect symmetry to each other…

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Having completed the interior, trunk and engine bay, the guys focused on removing any and everything they could have from the fender arches…

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A look under the rear fenders…

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What I was able to capture on the front under arches removal…

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And with that shot, thats all for today’s post. Thanks for taking a look at Sol’s E46 Rally build; and stay tuned for part one to come shortly where we take a look at the transition process carrying us into the paint stage.

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Sol’s EK9 Circuit Build… Part 2

 

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As with most projects, there were a few set backs along the way but the guys were still hopeful with the time they had left to be ready for testing before the event. The shell was now at a stage where most of the parts required bolting in place as most of the fabrication had already been completed.

The guys over at Y-Esuf Auto Clinic finished up the paint work on the EK9 an the shell arrived back at the workshop where the guys started the assembly. The majority of the parts had arrived during the absence of the shell. Today we’ll be taking a close look at this process, along with some additional parts required for the motor setup.

The car is back and the guys wasted no time in trying to have it assembled, we’ll be going through the first photos with the car back from Y-esuf Auto Clinic, I also have some shots of a few additional parts that arrived.

 

For those who may be viewing this build for the first time, I’ve provided the link to the previous post below:-

Sol’s EK9 Circuit Build… Introduction 

Sol’s EK9 Circuit Build… Part 1

 

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Having completed the paint stage, the shell returned to the workshop where the guys immediately began work in efforts to remain on schedule. With the assembly started I though we’d take a closer look at the paint work on the interior as well as the progress so far…

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A full view of the freshly painted floor with the custom exhaust tunnel and seat brackets…

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While the shell was off being prepared Sol received the Tilton Racing pedal assembly. This is a floor mounted assembly which gives the adjustability to the brake pedal to match Sol’s preference without having to change the master cylinder size. The assembly was placed inside to begin test fitting…

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A view where you can get a better grasp of the floor layout; on the opposite side of the driver is the battery box and the fuel cell mounted where the rear seats were located…

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Sol opted to go with an Aeromotive fuel cell with a built in baffle. The unit carries 2 in tank AEM 50-1200 fuel pumps that will be perfect for the fuel the car will be running…

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To give you guys a better view of the placement on the fuel cell…

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A few shots of the bay where the guys had already started the assembly, with the subframe and suspension bolted in place…

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The gutted tailgate back from the paint shop and up against the wall until its time to have it fitted…

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Likewise the doors were laid out until the guys were ready for them…

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One of the most important pieces that arrived was the Rays Gram Light 57DR wheels. Sol went with these wheels based on the group specifications along with their design which allows the fitment of a big brake kit. The wheels specs are 15×8 +35 in a matte bronze finish and they are wrapped in Maxxis  225/45 RC-1 rubber.

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The wheel mounted after the suspension and brakes were bolted up…

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The first full shot of the car as it sat on jack stands while the guys were getting ready to set it down on the wheels…

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A close up of the wheel where you see the AP Racing Pro 5000R big brake kit…

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Moving our way to the rear of the car, we see the exposed slotted and drilled Password JDM rotors…

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Extended wheel studs were used at all four corners. Already in possession of a set of Eibach Multi Pro coilovers, Sol decided to use them on the EK9. They feature external reservoirs which allow for a wide range of adjustability…

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Another shot of the brake and suspension set up where the billet aluminum lower control arms are visible…

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With the rear wheels temporarily fitted to the car, the guys jacked it down to check the fitment on the 57DR Gram Light wheels…

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Full on side shot of the EK9 as it came together, and looking amazing so far on the Gram Light 57DR wheels…

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After fitting the suspension and brakes to the Civic, the guys could focus on other aspects of the assembly…

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A slight glimpse of whats to come, EG Civic build in the background currently under the knife…

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A few more as it sat in the workshop…

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Moving to the rear of the car you notice the tail lights have been fitted…

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A better look at the lower control arms paired with the OEM Civic Type R sway bar which has been powder coated in red…

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Looking forward into the cabin, it speaks of all business so far…

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Things were really starting to take shape on the interior, power steering pump and reservoir mounted…

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A first look at the custom mounting plates required for the Tilton pedal assembly…

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I liked this partial shot of the Recaro Profi SPG seat with the contrast of the covered hydraulic handbrake…

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A few more shots showing off the Recaro seat now fitted in the EK9…

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Capturing a portion of all the current elements within the interior; the gusseted roll cage, race seat in place, shifter and handbrake placement in progress, the remainder of the bars that make up the cage along with the fuel cell tucked away in the rear…

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Given that the car will be racing in group 2 it would be fitted with a H pattern gearbox. Sol went with a K Tuned billet race spec shifter, base plate and shift knob combination…

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A quick mock up on shifter and final placement on the Wilwood staging brake…

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Gram Lights, AP Racing, K20 motor… speaks racecar build in progress…

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Exhaust and oil filter ports covered for additional safety…

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Close up on the Skunk2 intake manifold, fuel rail and 70mm throttle body fitted…

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The sun was about to set and the guys had made significant progress; a final look at the motor before it fills the EK9’s engine bay…

 

Meanwhile, a few more much needed components arrived…

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Ididit steering column that Sol chose to go with for the build which has a mounting bracket for a digital dash…

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Along with the steering column was the Speed Factory Racing radiator…

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With dual high performance Spal fans…

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Already having gone with a full head package from Drag Cartel, Sol opted to purchase their recently released, collaboration valve cover with K Tuned in a wrinkle black finish…

 

On that note I’ll leave you guys with a parting shot until our next update in this series…

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