Simons BMW rally car

Simon bought a used BMW 325i Rally car in November 2010 after several years away from stage rallying.

The plan was to be out in the first event at the end of December, which he thought would be plenty of time.

However whilst the car was advertised as Rally-ready only needing seats and harnesses, it soon became apparent it wasn't.

First job was to remove the glass as a full perspex kit had been sourced.

The seat mount bars were removed next and new mountings fabricated to allow the new seats to be mounted.

I should have got worried when i found some of the old weld was actually painted silicon sealer (yes really) But it did make removing the bars easier.

Then we moved the hydraulic handbrake, improving the mounting and re-plumbed the pipework.

The extinguisher was moved to the rear of the car and pipework redone. We also removed the extinguisher nozzle that was aimed at he rear of the dashboard (no i don't know why it was there).

The front corner had been bumped previously so it needed stripping back to straighten and weld up the torn seam.

We also removed the airbox and swapped to a cone filter to give more room in the engine bay.


The NS sill had been flattened at the lower lip and was starting to rust inside. So i chopped that out to repair it and also replace a prior patch found in the footwell.

When its right by the roll cage mount it needs to be done properly.

We had planned to run a lamp pod, but when it finally arrived from Magnum motorsport the fit wasn't what we were expecting.

Combined with the other more important work still required before the first event we decided to leave that for later and run lamps on a bracket instead.


Well we made the deadline for the rally and the car was up and running a whole 3 days before the event for its first shakedown on the road.

The event itself was slippery as the recent snow had been replaced with rain in the night so we had slush with ice under it in places. Perfect for a car simon had only driven 20 miles in.

He started off steadily and worked his way up to a bit more speed.

By stage 4 he was getting better and hanging the rear out on the long sweeping bends.
The on stage 5 a Peugeot 205 out braked himself through the slush and T-Boned simon spinning him into the gravel trap

The OS arch was caved in and rubbing on the tyre, the drivers door and sill were also pushed in from the BMW being spun across the front of the 205.

After limping to the pits we checked the back end and the OS wheel was buckled but worse than that something in the rear end was also damaged as the wheel would move back and forth an inch.

So game over and home time.

With the car back in the workshop the rear suspension was dropped out. The problem was with the mounting tabs on the beam where the trailing arms bolt on. The bolt holes had been ovalised at some point allowing the bolts to move front and back. So a replacement beam was sourced.

The rear diff was also stripped and inspected, all looked good but the oil that came out was very thick so we replaced that with 80/90 LSD oil which was a lot better.

With the rear beam out we also dropped the fuel tank to find the leak. The filler pipe was ok, but none of the tank breather pipes were connected so the fuel was just flowing out when the tank was filled. A new alloy tank was sourced to mount in the boot rather than the standard under floor tank, so that problem is now solved aswell.

The rear arch was pushed, pulled and beaten back into shape, the inner arch was ripped so that was removed and replaced with new metal.

It just needs a skim of filler and it will be ready for paint..

As the car was going to be in the workshop for a while we decided to fix a few other issues we had with it.

As we were putting an alloy fuel tank in the boot we needed to address the firewall around the rear cage feet (plus it looked rubbish and had always bugged me! )

So the rear sheet metal was cut back leaving the upright supports for strength.

Tank mounts were also fitted in the boot.

Before an alloy firewall was fabricated along with rear shelf and 1/4 panel trims.

The original spare wheel well had been removed and covered with a sheet of plastic, but we wanted something stronger and also needed a bit more height so we could get 2 spare wheels in for forest events.

So a new metal floor was fabricated and sunk enough to give the room we wanted.

We needed a new door and wing after the accident, also the other wing and door had been filled poorly before so we wanted to replace them with better panels.

Individual panels were difficult to source in good condition so we ended up buying a complete spares-repair car to take the panels off.

It also filled up our spares cupboard for future issues.

With the arch finished we fitted the new panels and started prepping the car for painting.

Once painted in 'Traffic Safety red' (although it looks more orangey in the flesh) the car was returned to my unit for re assembly and a few finishing off jobs.
Starting to rebuild the outside, looking better as the black trim went back on.

Fully assembled and MOT'd once more.

Now its time for Simon to drive it around and try to get used to it before deciding on its next rally.