We’re excited to announce that ShiftAtlanta’s 2023 community project will be building a dedicated track car. Our goal here is to get people out doing more with their cars. So we’ve established a new community project to help make that happen.
One of the biggest limitations we’ve found to people getting on track is they don’t own a car they feel is sufficient to go on track. Also, even with track day insurance, there is often hesitation to take your personal car on track if you don’t feel it’s track oriented.
So for 2023 we’ve decided to build a car we can use to help get people on track. In the process, we’re also going to help car enthusiasts answer a number of common questions they deal with. Why? Because we’re going to literally go through the process and document it.
It includes: restoring a 25+ year old car to road worth condition, replace a lost title and determine what “track prep” upgrades are worth it.
Update July 25th: Our Attempt At Track Laps
If we were great content creators we would have probably skipped over this part of the story. But we’re all about real life being done by real people. So join us as our attempt to our track laps turns from bad to worse.
We Almost Made It To Atlanta Motorsports Park
We set out on a Thursday morning to hit Atlanta Motorsports Park hoping to get a few hotlaps in our mostly stock E36. The car was running great, and even managed several hours of driving in traffic without overheating or having a problem in the days leading up to our lap attempts.
The morning started with a quick stop to top off the fuel tank with gas. And we hit the road. We almost made it to AMP. And by almost, we literally only got 2 miles up the road (a good hour still from AMP) when the car stopped accelerating. In fact, it wouldn’t even rev when you pushed in the accelerator peddle.
We pulled over into a parking lot of some very nice religious organization, who were actually very friendly and asked if we needed anything while we tried to troubleshoot what happened.
After about 30 minutes of troubleshooting everything from ECU to transmission, we discovered the throttle cable had come detached from the accelerator peddle. We got the cable hooked back up enough to drive, though it still popped loose 2 more times before getting back to our house. Needless to say, we knew we needed some repairs.
We also couldn’t help but notice the giant stream of gas coming from the rear passenger side wheel. At this point we canceled any ideas of track laps.
It Gets Worse
After ordering a new bushing for the accelerator cable and troubleshooting our fuel leak a little more, we determined it was probably a bad line. There was a pool of fuel on the top of the pump assembly under the rear seat. We had to replace the fuel float anyway, so we ordered a whole new assembly.
When we swapped the float out, we discovered something unexpected, there was no fuel seal at the top of the pump assembly at all. Sadly our new fuel pump and float assembly didn’t come with one, even though it was supposed to, so we ran over to Global Imports BMW to pick one up.
During the reinstall the pump seal was a little hard to get seated correctly so we stepped into the car to get a better angle. To our surprise, the passenger rear seat floor board was wet. Figuring it was fuel leakage, we knew we should pull it up. We planned to strip the rear interior anyway, we were just going to wait until after we set our baseline laps.
What we saw when we pulled up the carpet blew our minds. I’ve never seen anything like it. Nearly 2 gallons of gas, not including whatever was socked into the carpet or pad was pooled! We went from being disappointed we didn’t make it to the track to relieved!
The Car – Project Track E36
The car itself was donated by Shift partner Garage Prevail. They specialize in high touch towing and saving high interest cars. They are committed to the Shift mission of getting people on track and thought this car was the perfect opportunity to do.
However, this car came with a few things we had to work through. There was no title. So we’ll be documenting the entire process of getting a new title, including the bond.
In addition, the car was missing a few key parts: exhaust, intake boot and a few others. Otherwise, the car is in great shape mechanically. It’s a little rough looking on the interior and exterior, but for a track day, that doesn’t bother us.
Getting The Car Titled, Insured and Registered
As you may know, this car was donated to the case and didn’t include a title. So step #1 was to go through the process of getting a title. It took about 2 weeks total to get the process done. Here are the pieces needed. We followed along with Shift Brokers guide on how to buy a car without a title in Georgia, so at least we knew we wouldn’t miss any steps. If you are actually looking to follow a detailed process, we recommend you head over and check out their blog post on it.
Bonded Title Required Documentation Needed
We started off by getting all of the requirement paperwork together. There are some additional forms in the upcoming steps.
Bill OF Sale – A document signed by you and the seller outlining the vehicle purchased, the amount purchased for and the parties involved.
MV-1 Application For Title/Tag – A title/tag application we had to fill out to go with our paperwork.
NMVTIS VIN Check – A report from the national database on vehicles showing the vehicle wasn’t stolen and didn’t have an outstanding lien.
Overall these forms were not difficult to fill out. The NMVTIS does cost ~$15. You can get a list of qualifying websites via the state. We followed the suggestion on the blog and used clearvin.com.
Next we needed to get a Title Bond aka a Surety Bond. Getting the bond itself was pretty easy. Just make sure you get a company that is authorized in Georgia and will give you the correct paperwork in the correct amount. The bond company did not know the value, we had to get it for ourselves. We also are were entirely on the hook if the bond amount was incorrect or too low.
We got two additional forms which we had review. For the MV-46A we needed to fill it out and swear to why we couldn’t obtain a title any other way. We also had to get this form notarized.
MV-46 Certificate Of Title Bond – came signed and notarized by the bond company. We need to sign this form.
MV-46A Certificate Of Title Bond Application – we had to fill this out, sign it and have it notarized.
With our Project E36 the value came back at $1,800. Double it was $3,600. Since we were below the state minimum of $5,000, we got a bond for $5,000. It cost us right at $100 and we had the paperwork in our hand in under 1 business days.
Check out the blog post link above for more details on the process.
We do plan to drive track training E36 on the street, at least to get to and from the track. While we trailer our existing endurance race car, it’s certainly a lot more work. Thankfully the folks over at Shift Brokers found us a great deal on insurance our street driven track car. It was actually fraction of the price of just getting liability only from our regular insurance company.
A sworn law enforcement officer in the state of Georgia had to check to ensure the VIN numbers on the vehicle match the paperwork provided. They will also did a state level stolen vehicle check. They filled out the relevant fields on a form called a T-22B.
- T-22B Certificate Of Inspection – A form certified the VIN of the vehicle and signed off by a law enforcement officer.
In our case we had to take our car to the police department for inspection. In other municipalities they came to us. You’ll want to call your local law enforcement agency to determine what they require. Process was relatively painless. In our case, turned out the officer was a motorcycle guy and was intrigued by our plan to turn it into a track training car.
Getting Our Bonded Title
That was it. We made sure we had all of our paperwork and then headed down to the DMV. With inspection, bond and insurance in hand – as well as the other couple of forms we get our license plate within an hour of arriving at the DMV.
Getting The Car Mechanically Sound
After we got the car back it was time to address known and general maintenance.
- Car had no exhaust (cut at the headers)
- Car did not idle
- Intake boot was ripped
- Intake breather hose was missing
- Missing most of the lung nuts
In addition we wanted to be sure to do the following
- Oil change
- Transmission Fluid
- Fuel Filter
- Spark Plugs
- Air Filter
- Brake Fluid Flush
None of this is complicated or hard. We were able to knock it all out in a few days. Biggest problem we had with the maintenance and repair items were getting the right parts. We were able to locate a full cat back exhaust for relatively cheap through FB marketplace from someone turning their E36 into a drift car.
One issue we did run into the exhaust was most exhaust shops wouldn’t weld hangers or a test pipe in because the car didn’t have a cat. So we had to do it ourselves…
Anyway, here were the issues we ran into:
- There were literally no hangers left on the car or with the exhaust we purchased
- Most shops wouldn’t work on the exhaust because it had no cats, even though the car was over 25 years old.
- We kept getting wrong parts. Lots of auto parts stores and even Amazon seem to group 4 cyl and 6 cyl E36 cars together. We got a wrong oil filter, 2 wrong air filters, wrong hangers.
- In order to install the intake breather hose to the boot we needed to remove the top half of the intake manifold. Based on the condition of the gaskets, and because we discovered a missing bolt in the throttle body, we’re going to replace these as well.
After this was all said and done we’re about $300 into the project and it runs like a DREAM. Might run as well as some of our daily drivers. No A/C though.
Our First Track Laps Coming Soon
More updates soon, in particular we expect to be at the track in the next week or two to set our baseline time as 100%. The springs and struts aren’t in great shape and while we did brake fluid, we’re running on the pads and rotors that came with the car – almost Lemons style. So we’ll see if we can break 2 minutes at AMP.
Below is from the original post on April 10th.
The Plan With the Track Car
Our plan with this project is to not only document the process, but also to create a vehicle we can use here at ShiftAtlanta to get people on track. This will include helping people learn to drive on track, car control and eventually maybe even move into our Lucky Dogs/Lemons race car that was our community project car from 2021 (that carried into 2022 thanks to the Pandemic).
What We’ll Be Documenting With Our E36
We’ll be documenting several things during this process:
Getting the car legal to drive on the street. While this will be track car, to save us from having to tow it to every track day, autocross or other event we plan this car to be street legal. For us this will include needing to get the title replaced, which will be an entire post coming up. – Done, see updates!
Getting the car mechanically sound. This car runs good, but we’re going to document all of the fixes we need to do to get it running good. We’ll be changing all of the fluids and replacing all mechanical parts missing, including putting on an exhaust back on it. While we don’t need cats and other pieces for emissions, we do need the car to be road legal.- Done, see updates!
How well the car performs, or doesn’t, at each stage. Our plan is to get out at Atlanta Motorsports Park and set a baseline laptime with the E36 stock. Then, with each improvement – anything from removing weight, to adding brakes or suspension, we’ll reset the baseline. Sure, we’re not the greatest drivers in the world. That’s ok, we’ll use the same middle of the pack driver, so at least the results will be consistent.
Stage 1 and 2 are likely locked in, other stages are guesses. If something breaks or is unsafe we’ll upgrade it as part of a stage or move the stage up as needed.
Stage 1: 100% stock as is – Coming very soon!
Stage 2: Suspension (coilovers) and simple lightening of the rear interior/trunk
Stage 3: Brake Pads/Brake Upgrade – pads/rotors – maybe go slightly larger. No mutli-pot BBK… yet
Stage 4: Performance Upgrades / More lightening
Want To Get A Seat?
We’re a long way away from being able to take others out in the car, but we’ll be talking a little more about how get involved with ShiftAtlanta. For now, a great way to get engaged and learn about getting on track is to read our other articles about getting on track, find a track day near you or join us for the upcoming Drivers Festival.