For sale: 1974 BMW 3.0 CSi race-car project. Rebuilt 3-liter with Schrick cam, headers, triple Webers (not installed), full coilover suspension (not installed), big brake kit (not installed), Sparco fully adjustable seats (not installed), fiberglass hood, trunk, doors, dash (not installed), complete gauge set (not installed), Smartire tire pressure monitoring system (not installed), cheap, giveaway. All offers considered. Trades accepted. Contact Dan Erwin, c/o this fine book.

Ha! You wish!

But ain't that always the way? You start a project with this wonderful end-state vision: The most graceful of BMWs, prepared for the track with all the right stuff, and on a very limited budget. You do all the preliminaries, the clean-up, the disassembly, the beginning stages of restoration. The vision is still strong. You can see yourself running, perhaps, a tarmac rally in your well-sorted monster. It's all there, right in front of your nose: The trophies, the accolades, the overt race-car envy from those on the sidelines. Then one day, as you're grinding away at yet another rusty body panel, the image flickers. You dismiss the momentary faltering of your imagination as an aberration. You've done projects on this scale before. No problems. But as the days stretch into weeks, the edges of that old end-state vision begin to get a little fuzzy. And this isn't just a split-second lapse either. You begin to let other, more accessible projects distract you. The one-week fender replacement on an Alfa sedan takes a month, but the car is a hoot, so why not? Then, along comes a cheap BMW 635 CSi Euro that just needs a fuel pump...and brakes...and a few electrical renovations. Two months later, the Greyhound has acquired a protective layer of dust. And the end-state vision? Well, it's become a 1x1-in. jpeg blown up to 13x19 in. The vague outline is still there, but you can't pick out a single detail. It's at this point you look at the rusty derelict occupying 1.5 spaces of your two-car garage, and you start to think, "Why are we doing this again?" Eventually, internal and external pressures prevail. "Are you ever going to do anything with that junker?" she said. And you finally admit to yourself, "Maybe I'm not ever going to do anything with this...junker." Game over, man.

So you swallow what's left of your pride and sell that "unfinished project" along with all the neat go-faster stuff you've acquired while the vision was still plasma-screen clear. You sell everything, hoping to divest yourself of this albatross and all the bad memories it inspires: the arctic days spent trying to get frozen hands to do your bidding in an unheated garage. The rivers of blood spilling from fresh grinder wounds. The jagged scars inflicted by all that nice, razor-sharp sheetmetal. And you sell it for pennies on the dollar, because as I've said before, an unfinished project, no matter how much of your heart and soul is in it, isn't worth squat.

And you wait for that end-state vision to disappear completely, along with the guilt and self reproach. You wait. But, like a broadcast channel on the edge of the spectrum, it never does quite go away.

Do I sound like someone who's been there? I should. So, when the first self-activated ass-kicking machine comes to market, I'm going to be first in line. Because some memories just won't go away.

To wit: I bought the car for a 160 bucks. It came with the usual boxes of new and old parts, spares and essential pieces. It was showing the effects of long neglect, perhaps because of one or two seemingly insurmountable problems, like sourcing a huge and unique roller bearing for one of stub axle carriers on the de Dion suspension. It looked for all the world like a D-Type Jaguar, with fiberglass bodywork and a carefully crafted square tube frame rather than the aluminum monocoque of the original. It was, nonetheless a thing of beauty, if a little gnawed-on at the edges. All it would take is some hard work and a rock-solid end-state vision to restore it to its former glory as an SCCA D-Modified Production racer. And I had that vision...at first.

By Dan Erwin
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