Powerplant and ancillaries
When I purchased the car there was no engine or transmission! I couldn't be happier, open slather for my dream set up for this project! What to do?
So many choices
There are many examples of quality engine upgrades out there. Most go for the fuel injected M30 3.5ltr, which is an easy fit. The more ambitious go for the S38 3.6 or 3.8 Euro engine out of the E34 M5. A very nice upgrade, the only issue being that there were not many in Oz so difficult to source and a bit spendy!
Given that I like to put the modern spin on classic cars, putting an early 90's engine in this car seemed to fall short of what I want to achieve.
Then I spotted the S54 engine out of the E46 M3. Yer baby, 330HP, it shall be mine!
Seemed like a good idea at the time!
You can pretty much put any engine in any car if you throw enough time and money at the problem. The S54 has been transplanted into plenty of E30's but not many have been brave enough to try it on the E9. So there was never going to be a whole lot of expertise - or parts - out there. I knew it was not going to be an easy transplant, and that there were going to be plenty of issues to overcome. But it was worth it: what is better than driving a 1970 2800cs that goes like a 2005 M3?
Engine and transmission sourced
It didn't take long to find a S54 engine: I got a good one from a SMG car. This is a type of semi-auto gearbox, and they usually don't get over-revved. Luckily the same seller had the 5-speed manual from the earlier E36 M3 I was after. I wanted this because it’s smaller than the E46 6-speed and I didn't want a SMG transmission. I knew it would not require major transmission tunnel modifications.
The S54 was stripped to bare engine and given a thorough check over. As the motor had done 120K it was pretty rebuilt.