Team Broken Tranny
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the car

The Car


For the race, we selected the hallmark calling card of the yuppie:  The BMW 3 series.  The target was simple:  6 cylinders and a 5 speed, the rest don’t-a-matter.  Thanks to the miracle of Craigslist and a liberal policy for Internet usage at work, it didn’t take long to locate a pristine $300 example.



To describe the immaculate icon of motorsports we selected for our race, we enlisted the help of world renowned design analyst Robert Coverbun of Automobil Magazine **.  If you haven’t read any of his work, well let’s just say that his detailed critiques are usually measured against the highest standard of automotive excellence:  the French auto industry.  BWWWAAAAHAAHAA!!!!!   Oh, boy…..  sorry…  We just couldn’t help it…  where were we?   Robert is known for his highly refined taste.  In fact if Robert’s nose got any higher, he’d likely get a passing Piper Cub lodged in it.  His classical review follows:


§       Cheap Momo imitation shift knob.  Useful in for distracting buys from noticing the complete lack of shifter bearings.

§       Advanced 5 speed transmission with no discernable reverse.

§       Large catalytic converter filled with precious metals.  Good for selling to really scary junk collectors with Nazi tattoos.

§       Ridiculously oversized rims on the rear utterly incapable of fitting into the front wheel wells (if you expect to turn them anyways).

§       Complete refusal to start when needed.  Excellent bargaining tool for prospective buyer.

§       Built in wild animal shelter for “green” coexistence with nature.

§       Reduced weight steering rack.  Who needs all that heavy hydraulic fluid anyway?

§       Expired inspection sticker by 2 years – builds confidence that the vehicle has been well cared for.

§       Leaking heater core “jumped out” for added weight savings.

§       Missing wiper motor for added inconvenience to the buyers.



** Spelled incorrectly to avoid any nasty lawsuits from the actual magazine.  Can you guess which one we are really taking about?  Come on….  think hard….  you’ll get it.


Little did we know that the Judges hate these BMWs (known as E30s to BMW lovers everywhere).  They consider them unoriginal and boring - I guess I can see their point.  We just picked something we thought had a chance of surviving long enough for each of our 6 drivers to have a fair turn at the wheel.



The Transformation Begins….


Once we had our mule selected, the preparations began to get this thing ready for its new life.  That is: getting the snot beat out of it on the track.  I almost feel bad for it!  Here is a simple overview of the whole process:


Step 1:  Get it running, make it reasonably safe


Chris and Joel (aka Chef) got this crap-can running in the first place.  We bought it on a total risk not running.  The 17 year old we bought it from SWORE it actually started now and then (sellers always tell the truth don’t they?).  It turned out the main cause was the flux capacitors (aka crank position sensors).  That and a couple of el-cheapo tie rod ends and we had a good starting point.  That was hardly the last of the problems, but it gave us the confidence to keep going forward.



Step 2:  Rip everything out


While stripping a car sounds easy and fun, it turns out to be a lot of work!  The truth is that you really can’t avoid it.  So much has to be taken out just to be able to install a roll cage that you might as well just do everything possible.  Jodi and Ray tackled most of this job.  Thank god for free dumpsters at Doug’s shop.  Sadly, there was really nothing worth selling from the interior.

Below:  About 500 pounds of antifreeze saturated carpets were removed.  Doug is brave enough to tackle the dash.
Below:  Cam and Jodi have at it.
Below:  Ray has too much coffee and isn't sure if he was supposed to this stuff out.   Jim, Chris, Cam almost look organized.


Step 3:  Go broke on safety equipment


Buying a roll cage is not for the financially squeamish.  This costs money folks, so while $500 sounds like cheap fun for car racing, the roll cage will cost you 2 or 3 times more than that.  Ouch.  This POS better last more than one lap!



Step 4:  Paint it so that it looks redonculous


Cam took care of the fancy-pants graphics thanks to the miracle of 6 cans of Krylon and a cool graphics printer he has.  The finished product looked exactly like is “artist’s rendition”.

Below:  The girls get in on the act and cut out stickers. 

Below:  Cam sprays only the finest Krylon to Broken Tranny.

Step 5:  Put it on a trailer and hope for the best


There is a real leap of faith taken here.  You spend $500 on a car, several times more than that on safety gear and more still on track fees.  All for a car you know basically very little about and have no driving time to gain any confidence at all.  At the end of the day you just hope that everyone gets in a little track time to soak up the full experience.

Below:  The "Dougie Smile" finally appears on the maiden driveway voyage. 

Below:  $500 car?  Check.  Borrowed trailer?  Check.  Pack of idots?  Check.

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