Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Things I want: BMW 320Si

With a crazy busy work schedule I've not had the opportunity to finish up the GWagen thing yet plus a few other items on my plate. However, I did want to post this Japan-based BMW 320Si. Based on the current E90 chassis, the 320Si was a limited edition of about 2,600 cars built so that BMW could meet the production requirements for homologation of the 320Si race car with the FIA.

The 320Si has since gone on to do quite well in the S2000 spec of the WTCC and BTCC. What made the production version special was the 2.0L inline-4 under the hood churning out 170HP. Though not much, it was a detuned, non-Valvetronic version of the same engine powering the race car. Oh, and it was also a hand-built engine manufactured in BMW's Landshut plant alongside the Formula One engines when BMW still maintained a presence in the sport with Sauber.

Something about the limited edition, homologation-special 320Si has always appealed to me. Though not a powerhouse by any means it is still very rare for car enthusiasts to see cars built primarily for homologation purposes - especially one priced in-line with most any other 3 Series.

In my search for knowledge on this elusive Bavarian I eventually came across a gentleman in Japan named Yoshina who owned a noteworthy 320Si. I ended up interviewing him for BMWBlog as one of my first articles two years ago but I still absolutely love his car even today. He's managed to take an Alpine White E90 320Si and, through hard work, a lot of money and an eye for detail turn it into an incredible driving replica of the race spec 3 Series. He's caged the sedan, added a wing, custom-built diffusers front and rear, a revamped steering wheel and full BMW Works Team Great Britain 320Si - and that maybe covers a fifth of what's been done.

Honestly, if I had the money, I would probably do the same to a E90 chassis. I love that he's managed to somewhat keep the daily driveablility intact while maintaining a close mirror to the race-spec car. The only real difference I can see is the lack of a wide body front and rear - but STUDIE can make that happen too.

If you're a fan of a unique, cool car or just good automotive photography, check out his Flickr page.

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