We started rallying around 2001, buying our first car, a Talbot Sunbeam from a friend in our motor club. We kept this for around 6 years, upgrading the engine from the Fiat/Lancia Twink to a Vauxhall RedTop, MBE Engine management, Quaife LSD, etc. However a few things made us think it was time to have a newer car. Whenever anyone who is not a rally person asks what you rally they look at you blankly when you say Sunbeam – no real problem, but it demonstrates how old the car was. Secondly, parts were starting to become rare and expensive, and thirdly I was unsure that when I wrapped it around a tree I would be able to find a shell. I put it up for Sale and it quickly sold and so we were Rally-car-less.
I had been mulling over the next car for some time. Propshafts are in short supply,people like driving tuggers too much, and so those of us with a rear wheel steer penchant have a limited choice. Enter BMW and the E36. My inital thought was to buy something like a 316/318, take everything out and throw away and install an “M” engine. Then experience kicked in and I remembered how much trouble installing the XE into the Sunbeam was, so thought change of plan, lets get a 328. Nothing much happened on the enthusiasm front until Wifey (AKA Navvy) and I marshalled on the Fat Albert Stages at Keevil on Saturday in July. We were on the start line, so after letting 600ish cars go I spent that evening looking for 328s. Then I saw a page about someone racing an M3, so as a matter of interest I looked at the prices. For relatively small amounts more than a 328 I could get an M3. Sunday I rang up a couple of owners and by Next Friday evening, and after a quick trip to Inverkip Nr Glasgow, we owned an M3.
I feel that it is only appropriate that I mention someone called Lindsay here. Lindsay lives in Inverkip Nr Glasgow (Co-incidentely where I went) and is the girl I bought the M3 off. I made no bones about what I wanted the car for, but poor Lindsay didn’t quite appreciate what turning a car from road use to rallying use meant. I told her I didn’t care about the Radio being less than functional, as it would come out. I told her that I wasn’t stressed about the mirrors not working, as they would be changed, but still after looking at this page too often I got an email from her shortly after I started this web page entitled “Traumatised”. On the bright side she still talks to me but thinks, in Lindsay’s words that I am, “off my head”. Good job that she has not met some of you then. More alarmingly she has now informed me the car is called Eric. I have never understood naming cars, and certainly not Eric.
The owner before Lindsay, Jim, has also been in touch but doesn’t seem quite so stressed, maybe Lindsay prepared him for the trauma.