Paul’s E36 328i
Finally! I managed to get some time out of what is proving to be the maddest of years and get a much needed moment in my ‘man cave’ where a few of my old bangers are kept.
Last month I managed to sort out a new set of shoes for the 328, thanks to my good friends at Toyo, Calibre and Tread Mark. This month, under threat of death from Seb, I was told to get them fitted up sharpish… or I could forget my invite to the work’s Christmas do. Knowing my love of a free dinner well, this cruel move was the impetus I needed to break out the trolley jack and do the do.
The Calibre wheels are BMW-specific in their drilling, meaning not only do they have the required 5 x 120 PCD, but also a factory-drilled centre bore of the correct OEM size. Many aftermarket alloys make do with a universal oversized centre, which then gets spigotted out to the correct diameter. These bad boys go straight on, however.
Fitting the front pair was the work of mere minutes, with the wheels offering superb clearance on the brakes, as well as missing the BILSTEIN coilover bodies with plenty of room to spare – something the standard balloon-sized 15” tyres were struggling to do. Fitting them on, then lowering the car down, allowed me to stand back and admire my choice. I’m biased I know, but I think they look amazing. At this point, there are doubtless a few stance aficionados out there who think I should have gone an inch wider on the rim and stretched a tyre for an extra 10 scene points… but not on this car, guys! This is built to be driven quickly, so a ‘square’ tyre wall profile is what I need. While I love the look of a bit of ‘poke and stretch’, this look is not a good bedfellow for the track work I have in mind for this old girl.
Despite being a whole inch wider, the rears bolted up just as easily, although once the car was lowered down, they are perilously close to the rear arches. I tried the old hot rod trick of rolling a socket extension around the tyre as I pushed the car, but the arches are just too strong on this old E36 (That has to be a first! Ed). The result is that, while I was able to take a few snaps of my hard work to make me (and Seb) happy, the rears are going to need to come off again for a little pull-and-roll style massaging in the body shop.
Not to worry… Suitably inspired by how it’s all going to look, I’m ringing a few mates in the trade as you read this. Until next time!
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