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76 2002 Track Car Project

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I decided it was time to start a blog on my project. Over the past year I have gleaned much valuable information from others, so felt it was due. I have always been a musclecar guy, but held a sweet spot for BMW’s in general. Particularly 02’s and the E9 CS series.

In 2010 I ran my 67 Mustang in the Silver State Challenge. It was a blast and made me finally get serious about building a dedicated car for local track days. The list was short, and quickly focused on an 02 that I had been keeping my eye on. It had been sitting next to a neighbor's barn since I moved into our current home 9 years ago. After a few friendly drop in visits, it was mine. It would not drive due to a siezed cluch, but a little TLC and it ran pretty nicely.

My initial plan was to do a quick and simple strip down and run the slightly freshened M10 while building a second motor with serious upgrades. I hate to do thing twice, so the plan has eveolved. I will probably be hard pressed to be ready for next track season anyhow, so I am leaning heavily towards an M20 swap NOW and be ready the next year.

As things progress I’ll update and ask questions as needed. All the previous M20 swap stuff is very appreciated. Feel free to throw out comments/opinions. Pics and info below……..TIA.

This picture was taken as i blasted throught the "Narrows" section of the 93 mile course.



This is the 02 as purchased. $400 and I was happy.


Car was mostly rust free, except this area. I am an aircraft mechanic/sheetmetal guy, no sweat.


Began dissassy for paint and put my son to work. The sunroof was removed and I put in a piece of tinted Lexan. Much lighter. Also doing plastic side windows. Driver door will have a slider. Being a track car, weight is the enemy. I could not see putting back in the side glass and door guts.

Also fabbed a new dash and instrunt cluster. Anyone runing a Speedhut GPS speedo?? I am thinking of that.




Ready to paint. I have booth acces at work, so another "perk".



Re-assy begins, still not sure about a few things, but pushing ahead. No need for lights, so I smoothed the front with carbon fiber panel and kept one big nostril for the radiator. Also decided on a foam filled fuel cell.







Had to do a roll bar and 5 pt harness of course. They will keep me safe and the very supportive wife happy!



Will add more soon…. Thx for any feedback.

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Really good work! Aircraft mechanic background can be seen in the cockpit.

If you use m10 the car will be pretty light...only roll bar (no cage), no lights, etc. Of course it nicely compensates heavier m20 too. Weight would be better balanced with m10.


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Nice Work!

for a track car, surprised you are still using stock pedal box/booster/MC.

i would also get rid of the stock gas pedal arrangement. that is guarrantteed to break a the wrong time. replace the nubs on floor with bolts and hinge, fab a pedal out of aluminum.

with your skill i am sure you could improve on this design:


that is not the final seat is it?

so....what will suspension/brakes be? :-)

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THX for the complements:)

Yeah, the pedal thing seemed goofy. After seeing that thread link, I am kicking myself. Now I will do that and use a roller bearing. Cool.

Curent seat is temporary(hopefully). Needed something to position roll bar, dash stuff, etc.

M/C is the original style, but I am going discs at all corners, so that needs to change. Booster? i need some education on those options.

Still need to upload a few pics of suspension stuff. Every bushing is urethane, new links, ball jionts, etc.....Have Bilstiens for both ends and IE stage 2 springs on the way. Rear strut brace for battery mount too. Went with the front brake upgrade using stock struts and the e21 hub/rotor/Girling calipers. Still debating which rear disc setup to use.

I have a line on a good M20/trans from an 89 e30. That decison may happen soon. Reverting back to my muscle car genome "Thers's no substitute for cubic inches".

More research.

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Just saw the build thread....very nice....body came out very nice....and the cf looks very sleek up ft.....

Can we see more of the 'stang?..its kinda like the notchback version of BULLIT car...lol

I always loved the TERLINGUA Shelby yellow notch backs...

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I have not had a lot of time to work on the car or update this, but I did get some parts goodies in the mail. The drivers sliding window is done and partially mounted. Eager to get my springs installed and put the back window in.


In response to your request, here are a few more pics of the Mustang. Had a couple track days last summer. These are my You Tube links for SSCC and PIR.






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After looking thorough the posts for a rear strut bar/battery mounts, I decided to make my own. Going with an aluminum assy with attached battery tray for an Optima Redtop. Should have it welded up and bolted in this weekend.


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Awesome project and it should be a lot of fun when you are done. For the lexan window sliders, did you make them or buy a kit?

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assume the lexan door windows are just for street/storage use and are completely removable for the track? i don't know of any sanctioning body/club that would allow them. big safety issue.

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Got the rear bar all welded and ready to paint. Started thinking about a front bar next.


Regarding the windows, here a few more pics. I did not by a KIT. The Lexan is 3/16 thick and fits real nice into the front channel. The lower support is an alum. channel with tabs welded on that get bolted to the door structure. Lexan is glued/sealed into the channel. After drying, I drilled a couple small holes for #8 screws/nuts. Slider rails are 1/4 in thick strips . I routered one edge for the slide window. Assembled with #8 stainless flush screws.

The back edge needed some curve to fit the B-pillar better. I used a section of alum. angle and "shrunk' one flange to induce the curve. As I said before, I am an aircraft sheet metal/structures guy, so hat helps:).

As far as track suitability: I have NO intention of racing SCCA or other similarly regulated events. I get all the regulation and Big Brother oversight I can stand at work dealing with FAA stuff. There are 2 tracks nearby( PIR and ORP) that have numerous track days open to club events or pay by the day options. That is my goal. If I eat crow later, then the windows can come out by removing 3 bolts in 10 minutes.




One of my perks at work is availability of scrapped or worn airplane parts. I had this control rod on the shelf and it is pretty stout. It should work fine for a front strut support.


Cut out rings and brackets to fab each end. I will have to bolt or rivet them together as the bracket extrusion is 2024-T3511 alum (not 6061) and that is not a wieldable alloy. I have some cool hardware and it will allow me to change just the bracket in the future if a different rod is warranted.





More to follow................

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Very impressive build. Love your approach to fabricating everything you want.

Keep on doing what you're doing, as you're the one that is going to be driving it, where you want & when you want.

I've had many comments from people questioning my build, and suggest doing things differently. Their intentions are mostly for good, but the decisions i make i will live with.

I think building cars like this, is what makes other more regulated cars boring and run of the mill.

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you are doing more nice work!

my point about the windows was NOT about over regulation, it was about safety. most clubs and tracks require windows to be fully open when cars are on track. the reason is that if there is an incident, the occupants can get out of the car if the doors can't open (car on its side or upside down) and the track workers can reach in to help passengers get out. your windows prevent all of that. it is about your safety.

dang cool fabrication of the windows though!!!!

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Thanks again for the positive feedback. I DO get your point about safety. The track days I have done the last couple years have all had a policy of windows all the way up OR all down. That is my experience at least.

Here are a few more pics of completed front strut. I decided to put a steel bushing into the brackets. After adjusting the rod ends for a nice snug fit, tightened the jam nuts and safety wired. A little paint and they will be done.




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Time for an update. Weather has been chilly, but have made some progress. The front strut bar is painted. I felt the bar was a little too wiggly and fabbed a center support tied to the firewall. Steel sleeve with a tab riveted on the tube and that bolts to the brace. Much stiffer now:)




My Stage 2 springs arrived with the camber plates frim IE. Hope to assemble this weekend.


Had been looking into bump steer spacers also and I saw the IE's for $100. Pretty simple part, so I am building them now.

Machined the spine and groove into a piece of 5/8 alum plate.


Had to counterbore a relief for the lower ball joint stud.



Cut to shape and ready to back drill.


I have started to dwell on wheel and tire selection. Just for a reference, I bolted on my MINI Cooper S wheels to see how they fit.



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Amazing work! You had me at Mustang. Pretty impressive work on the strut braces. Looking forward to more forward thinking. Keep posting.

More on the Mini wheels.

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