"with its history in motorsport, it seemed like a perfect platform to start with and build on."
1992 BMW 318is (E36)
Owner: Bryce Cresswell
Occupation: Mechanical engineering student
NZ Performance Car: Hey Bryce, good to see a BMW tastefully modified. Tell us, what made you choose BMW in the first place?
Bryce: I’ve always been a fan of BMW, and, with its history in motorsport, it seemed [like] a perfect platform to start with and build on. I liked the look of the E36, and it also has a near-perfect weight distribution, so it handles very well, even when it had the factory suspension parts.
What were your modification plans from the get-go?
My original plan for this car was as a low-budget track-day car. I wanted something I was able to drive to track-day events and also just enjoy driving the streets in during the weekends.
What Japanese car is the engine and handling comparable to?
The engine in the 318is is not too different to inline-four engines produced by Toyota and Nissan. Even the exhaust note has a JDM sound to it when compared with the BMW six-cylinder engines. This car probably shares similarities with the non-turbo SR20DE Nissan Silvia of the same
Do you find that it’s difficult finding parts for a European car, or has it been fairly straight forward for the E36 platform?
It’s not difficult to find second-hand parts for European cars; however, it is often difficult to find parts that are still in good condition. Parts for the E36 like door cards are particularly hard to find still in good condition, so it was a matter of waiting for the right part to come up for sale. I was surprised to find how available performance parts are for the E36 in New Zealand. I found I was able to get the coilovers, camber arms, and seat brackets to suit an E36 BMW within Auckland.
Do you have any plans to race and further modify the BMW, or is it purely a street-only vehicle?
The plan is to race this car at track-day events. The car has only been on the streets [in] the last month, so I haven’t had an opportunity to take the car out on the circuit yet, but I can’t wait to see how it performs. The long-term plan for this car is … an engine swap for more power. I think it’s important to get used to how this car drives and handles before adding the extra power.
Thanks for taking the time to have a chat about your project, Bryce.
Engine: M44B19 1900cc four-cylinder, Simota air filter with carbon cover, stainless-steel headers, Coby resonator, 2.25-inch Remus cat-back exhaust system, twin three-inch exhaust tips, Fenix Auto Parts alloy radiator, electric fan, chipped ECU
Drivetrain: Getrag five-speed manual
Interior: Stripped, Sparco Corsa fixed-back seats, NZKW seat brackets, Sparco 300mm steering wheel, NRG quick-release kit, suede shift boot and handbrake covers, NZKW FIA-approved four-point harnesses, MotorSport New Zealand–approved four-point half cage
Exterior: M-tech front bumper, front lip, rolled guards, complete respray in factory Brilliantrot red
Suspension: BC BR Series coilovers, BC adjustable camber plates, Hardrace adjustable rear camber arms, M-tech sway bars front and rear
Wheels/Tyres: Street: (F) 17x9-inch (+42) Autostrada Modena, 20mm spacer; (R) 17x10.5-inch (+20) Autostrada Modena; track: (F) 17x8-inch BMW M-Sport E90, (R) 17x9-inch BMW M-Sport E90; (F) 215/40R17 Falken FK452, (R) 245/35R17 Falken FK452