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      01-03-2018, 03:55 PM   #1
E91WAG3N
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Das schwarze Einhorn: E91 Journal

tl;dr: guy who likes three pedal BMWs buys another one with the longest roof you can get.

Current state:








Back Story
This thread will chronicle the journey with my E91 328i. I’ve been a long time enthusiast and passively have been on the hunt for the right touring for a few years. As a porter for a BMW dealership early this century, I had the chance to park an e39 5 speed touring in Topaz blue a few times. For whatever reason, the color on a wagon combined with a third pedal was had me lusting after that car. In 2003, I had the chance to travel to Germany for a couple of weeks and saw wagons EVERYWHERE, not to mention factory clear indicator lenses and M Technic kits on everything. After my stint with the BMW dealership, I worked at a VW Audi store as I finished school which gave me the opportunity to see even more wagons on a daily basis.

Enter E36
My car history has been purely BMW: I started out with an autotragic 200k + mile Black on Tan e36 325is that was taken in trade. After a year or two I was able to get my hands on a somewhat lower mileage Black on Black e36 325is with an all-important third pedal. It is still my favorite car to this day and I wish I had never sold it. It received a full overhaul from suspension goodies to exterior and interior updates. If I recall correctly, I had Bilsteins and H&R springs, x-brace, M3 front bumper + moldings + side skirts, ZKWs, OEM clears, Stromung Exhaust, Dinan chip + intake, along with a full m3 interior swap including black headliner and 3 spoke steering wheel. I rotated between an OEM+ look with style 24s with stock grills up front and Darth Vader mode employing black DS1s and front grills.



E36 with more POWER!
A few years went by and prices had started to fall on M3s. I began my hunt and ended up picking up a 140k mile 1 owner Cosmos on Black 98 M3 from the original owner. Within a year, it got hit on the passenger side and was keyed. Looking back at it over a decade later, I feel like I never really bonded with the car because of what happened to it so quickly. Nevertheless, I had swapped over my exhaust and lighting bits and put nearly 100k miles on it over the next 8 years. I moved to Nevada in 2009 and spent almost the whole summer of 2010 with no A/C since I couldn’t afford it at the time, the car needed some love and as an apartment dweller at the time, a light colored car with a warranty had tons of appeal.



Another E36
In 2009, I unexpectedly took possession of another e36 that has been in our family for about 10 years. It is a 92 325i sedan in Alpine on Beige with an automatic. My Dad bought it off trade and all four of us spent time driving it through the years and was handed over to my younger brother when he was 17 or 18. His love of cars was overshadowed by bikes and he bought an R6 in early 2009. Late that October, he ran into a car making an unprotected left turn across his lane of traffic and did not survive. It’s still tough to be without him over 8 years later, but I am very happy to have his car to remember him by. We had tons of fun cruising around San Diego as teenagers and young adults in my e36. My goal is to transform him e36 into a fun weekend driver with all the rare parts I’ve lusted after. Progress has been slow by design but it currently has a refreshed m52 and ZF 5 speed on a stand waiting to go in. I’ve acquired OEM GT Wing riser blocks, OEM strut tower bar, and a few other rare bits.

As I took it -


Currently -


A big new car
Back to the daily situation: coupled with the lack of DIY space and a much better job to fund a new car, I pulled the trigger and ordered an e92 335i at the end of production. It was a 6 speed Alpine White on Black with M Sport. It was a great experience to be able to pick and choose exactly how I wanted the car spec’ed and anticipating it’s arrival for a few months. I briefly considered a wagon but decided to move into another coupe. The car was really nice, but I couldn’t fall in love with it. It was a great highway cruiser but day to day it began to feel more like an e63 6 series than compact coupe. I didn’t mod the car at all happily used it as an appliance, clearly something was missing. I came to the realization that what I love about BMW is their formula of a light naturally aspirated engine sent to the rear wheels through a fantastic transmission. The e92 was quick but felt big and heavy. About a year and a half into my lease, I mentally checked out of the car and decided to move on.



Actually I want something smaller
I realized I had dismissed an unusual offering in recent BMW offerings, the 128i. I made the mistake of not driving one as they did not enter US production until after I left BMW in 2005ish. I started the search for either an e82 or e91. An e82 would meet my ‘classic’ BMW formula and an e91 would at least give me some added utility to go with the weight penalty. I decided I would work to cut a deal on whichever I could find in good condition and spec I liked. I found an e82 fresh off trade at the dealership where my old boss worked but I still had about 6 months left on my lease. It ticked all my boxes except xenons, but to my surprise when I showed up to check the car out, it was a slicktop! I’ve still yet to see another Black M Sport 6MT with no sunroof. I was able to end my e92 lease early owing only a few hundred bucks for a cracked windshield and rear tires in need of replacement. With a garage at home to keep it out of the sun and have some room to DIY, I was back in black! I have loved my e82 and have done a few mods but still have not tackled the suspension which is its biggest downfall.



Just kidding, I want something practical
After a wonderful year in my e82, a second bay on the way, and the desire to tackle more renovations to our house, I threw in the towel and started actively hunting for an e91. I pondered doing a pre-LCI + M3 front end conversion for a bit, but accepted that I do not have enough time for two project cars. I narrowed my hunt to the following non-negotiables: RWD, 6MT, M Sport, xenons, dark interior with a strong preference for no iDrive and black interior. This of course is a ridiculously rare combination, of which under 100 exist. At the end of 2016, I along with 25 other people, came across an Alpine White 6MT e91 at Beverly Hills BMW. I attempted to get in contact with their sales team and their used car manager and couldn’t get any info on the car, hours before hopping in the car to drive down and show up in person, it sold. I recall it ended up with a fellow enthusiast who had it shipped to the northeast to replace their e46 touring.

Some 30 posts in the E91s for Sale thread and about a year later, a Black M Sport 6MT was listed. I rolled my eyes at having yet another black car, but reached out to the seller anyways. Through the past several months, we exchanged countless texts and phone calls. I warmed up to the car and the seller but it was literally on the opposite side of the country from me. We went ahead and scheduled a PPI and with the weather turning and my wife expecting and discussed holding the car until the spring with a deposit at which time I would fly out and drive the car back. Understandably, we both became a bit anxious with a 4 month layoff, we worked towards making it happen now. Lots of variables came into play between waiting on the new Euro spec bumper, to the property tax due on the car while Kentucky under his stewardship, to the transport. I spoke with Shane from Motorsports of Lexington (great shop!) and he gave glowing reviews of the car and only noted a couple of minor issues from their PPI. I rolled the dice and decided to go for it. We agreed on a price and I bought the car sight unseen. As a word to others attempting the pursuit of a similar vehicle, I had difficulty financing the full amount as it was quite a bit higher than the $17,000 book value and ended up covering the balance in cash. Similarly, I am insuring it on an agreed upon valuation so I’m guaranteed my money back should an unfortunate incident happen. Anyways, by this time we were quickly approaching Christmas and had some trouble finding a transporter, but it finally hit the road a few days before the New Year.

E91 at last!
My unicorn was real. After several years of pondering and several months of getting to know the seller and the car, it was on a trailer in front of me. My initial impressions were surreal as I’d only even seen 2 M Sports in person and never driven a manual e91. I’ve had the last couple days to get to know the car and am completely satisfied with the conclusion of my journey to find an e91 and the beginning of a new journey of owning it. The car is in fantastic condition and I haven’t come across any issues with it other than the failed TPMS and a couple other very minor cosmetic issues that were disclosed by both the seller and Shane at Motorsports. I was particularly worried about the condition of the paint as it’s black, but it cleaned up quite nicely and is on par with my e82 of the same vintage. All said, I’m over the moon with it so far and look forward to many happy miles and DIY jobs. I am sad to move on from my e82 (which is currently for sale) as I do not have garage space for it any longer, but the e91 will be a worthy successor and allow me to focus on my e36 build.

Basic specs:
Black Sapphire on Black Dakota Leather
M Sport
6 Speed
Xenons
No iDrive
Harmon Kardon
Attached Images
 

Last edited by E91WAG3N; 04-02-2018 at 12:00 AM..
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      01-03-2018, 03:57 PM   #2
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Last edited by E91WAG3N; 01-07-2018 at 11:19 PM..
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      01-04-2018, 09:40 AM   #3
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Congrats. I will follow along as you update!
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      01-04-2018, 10:10 PM   #4
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nice find and way to go after what you want.
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      01-05-2018, 10:05 AM   #5
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Wish there were more of these!

Waiting for updates
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      01-05-2018, 08:02 PM   #6
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nice post. enjoyed your journey so far. Sorry to hear about your bro but glad you have the e36 to continue the memories.

Looking forward to your updates with the unicorn.
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      01-07-2018, 11:41 PM   #7
E91WAG3N
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Thanks for the kind words all!

I added a couple of pictures to the original post. I've put about 75 miles on it so far and love it. It's quite interesting how it feels so similar to my 1er but so different at the same time. My e82 feels much more nimble but the e91 handles far better with non-runflats and suspension mods. Tires seems to be the biggest difference between them, but it's hard to say for sure since I haven't pushed the e91 too hard yet.

At 56k, my basic plan is to get ahead of some regular maintenance and keep things OEM+. The first batch of parts included oil, brake fluid, trans fluid, and diff fluid. Luckily coolant was already taken care of by the previous owner a few months ago.

I also ordered a new micro filter, air filter, as well as some e46 M3 transmission mounts. The trans mounts were a perfect little add on my e82, so I thought I'd continue the trend. I was going to drop in an OEM CDV 'delete' but it feels like this car either came with the less restrictive one or it was done by a previous owner. Finally, one of the TPMS sensors failed, so I'm dropping the wheel off at the tire shop this week while I have the car up in the air. I knocked out about a third of the work this weekend and hope to have the rest done after work this week or next weekend.



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      01-08-2018, 05:17 PM   #8
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Very nice thread
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      01-10-2018, 12:49 PM   #9
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Great thread, thanks for sharing. Its always good to read about the path other people have take to get to their current vehicle. Great looking wagon too!
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      01-10-2018, 05:56 PM   #10
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I picked up some OEM Euro amber flashing tail lights from across the pond. The red blinker is kind of difficult to distinguish from the brake and running lights. With everyone paying attention to their phones and who knows what else instead of driving these days, more visibility when turning or changing lanes can't hurt.

Blinking lights were a bit tough to photograph but I did manage a picture with an amber and a red to compare. They are the same brightness and intensity that I've seen on a few 7ers of the same vintage. Clearly it's not a mod for everyone but as a lighting fiend, money well spent in my eyes.



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      01-11-2018, 02:00 PM   #11
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She's pretty. Nice baseline to begin with. Thanks for sharing, will be watching your journey!
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      01-11-2018, 03:25 PM   #12
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Awesome. The splitter looks good. What one is it?
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      01-11-2018, 07:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brads2002 View Post
Awesome. The splitter looks good. What one is it?
Agreed!

certainly will follow as I'm new to the e91 market and am absolutely in love.

what suspension is your car on at this point?
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      01-12-2018, 03:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tetsuo111 View Post
She's pretty. Nice baseline to begin with. Thanks for sharing, will be watching your journey!
Thank you sir! It has a couple mods from the previous owner in line with what I would have chosen. I thoroughly enjoyed your previous e91 build as well as your new one. Happy to be in the club

Quote:
Originally Posted by brads2002 View Post
Awesome. The splitter looks good. What one is it?
It's an ebay one, I actually took it off since I have quite a bit of trouble getting out of the garage at work, I'll look to see if it has any branding on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattpete13 View Post
Agreed!

certainly will follow as I'm new to the e91 market and am absolutely in love.

what suspension is your car on at this point?
Me too, I'm smitten as well, it's been a long search! Best of luck with your hunt.

It has ST Coilovers with Dinan Camber plates up front. Again, I have to raise it up a touch. The previous owner was running 19's which gave it a touch more height.
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      01-16-2018, 12:50 AM   #15
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Before I could begin any work on the underside, I took off the front lip. I'd never been a fan of them but grew to like it quite a bit over the past few weeks. Unfortunately my garage at work is really steep in one area and I got hung up at every angle I attempted. Also swapped the chrome grills back in. The car has some mods but my preference is to start from a blanker slate where possible.



Anyways, I had time to knock out another chunk of maintenance this weekend. I took care of the oil service, trans fluid, and trans mounts. The diff and brake flush will have to wait for another week or two.

The trans mounts didn't make as big of a difference on this car, it seems like the e9x rubber bits are slightly stiffer than the e8x ones. My e91 has fewer miles than my e82 did at the time of the upgrade so that could play a part as well. Still worth the upgrade.



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      01-16-2018, 02:40 PM   #16
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Looking sharp. If you want to sell those black grills hit me up. I might be interested in slapping them on white if they are decent quality.
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      01-17-2018, 12:43 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brads2002 View Post
Looking sharp. If you want to sell those black grills hit me up. I might be interested in slapping them on white if they are decent quality.
They look great on white! I'll probably swap back and forth between the two every 6 months or so.
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      01-17-2018, 08:11 PM   #18
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Nice like getting new car every 6 months. Haha
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      01-19-2018, 01:39 AM   #19
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I like this thread, good job OP
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      01-22-2018, 03:44 PM   #20
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I took the touring over to the local BMW dealership and had the airbag recall completed.

While I waited, I walked the lot and they had actually had an M2 in stock. I've pondered adding a 1M to my fleet for a few years but haven't come close to getting one. Seeing an M2 I could drive in the flesh was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. It was a 6MT slicktop with executive package.



Honestly I was not impressed. Admittedly, I am a fan of older generation BMW's from the e36 to e90 era. The steering and overall feel of the car left a lot to be desired. It felt an awful lot like my previous e92 335i. There were far too many nannies and gizmos for my tastes (automatic rev matching was annoying, nav screen unnecessary, clutch was funky - apparently it has an auto throttle feature so you don't stall in 1st gear). It's a nice car but a step in the wrong direction for me. Nothing about the car felt special to me. If I was in the market, I'd rather spend my money on a 50,000 mile 1M or half that on a nice e46 M3.

I was grateful for the opportunity but gladly drove my outdated e91 to work after it was done.
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      01-25-2018, 12:43 AM   #21
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I noticed you took the front plate mount/base off.

Did you get plugs for the holes or did you leave it as is?
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      01-25-2018, 10:29 AM   #22
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Wow that is a find! Never seen Mtech E91. Is your exhaust aftermarket? The tips look different.
Also someone who appreciate slicktop and no I-Drive! That my kind of driver! My wife thought I was nuts looking for months for E90 with no sunroof and I-Drive.
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