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The rust monster ate my old car, so it was time to find a new sedan. This time I wanted something with rear-wheel drive so I had a solid platform to work into higher power levels. And it had to be a manual. I came across an article in Eurotuner magazine about a budget BMW 325i build which got me thinking about BMW's. I started my search for a cheap e36 but my eye was quickly drawn to the e46 ZHP. Inline 6, 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive, attractive modern interior, timeless looks. Perfect. Since rust is the devil I wanted a clean specimen. So I started a nationwide search focusing on the southern states for an e46 ZHP, 6-speed manual, with sunroof. I found one for sale by a nice young man who was in the air force. After exchanging emails, phone calls, and some pictures, I bought a one-way ticket to Alabama with a travelers check in hand. Upon arrival, everything checked out, and the car was everything he described it to be, it was in flawless condition with about 33k miles on the odometer. That night I started my drive home to Michigan, but took a slight detour. I drove up through Washington DC, New York, and wound up at Turner Motorsports just north of Boston. I had read about the subframe failures in the e46 ZHP and I wanted to head that off right from the start, and who better to handle the subframe reinforcement than the company that sells the reinforcement kits and professionally races BMWs including the e46 chassis. It was my first preventive maintenance. From Tuner Motorsport near Boston I started home through up-state New York and Canada but I almost didn't make it. Being the car was from Alabama it had summer performance tires on it. And being that it was November there was a chance of some slight snow-fall. Turns out that chance materialized within the last hour or so of my drive. I was within 1/2 mile from home, and now there was about .5 inches of snow on the roads. The problem is I live up in some hills, and with the snow, the summer tires, and the steep roads leading to my home, I couldn't get there. I tried. I tried two different roads for about an hour, trying to get enough momentum to make it up the last hill to get to my house. Finally I had taken things just right, and the DSC was working hard to keep me moving, and I literally inched forward up an incline at a rate of about 200ft an hour. After 30 minutes of inching forward slower than a snapper turtle, tires spinning, I crested the hill, and at last, I was home. I parked my new ride in the cozy garage, and have been loving every moment since.
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