tire stickers

When you’re looking for some sort of new project car, always mentally take it down the path of – What’s the worst that could happen here? And then – How would I go about fixing it? 1) A lot of young car enthusiasts get wrapped up in massive used BMW problems, because they have no idea what they’re getting into when they buy the car… it’s just the nicest/flashiest thing they could afford so they jump in. 2) A lot of other enthusiasts run for the hills at the mere thought of used BMWs… because they know the potential difficulty & expense of maintenance. So they won’t even consider the car, because the cost of repairing a moderate problem could essentially total an E36. BUT! But… but… but… when it comes to cars like the E36 (and the 350Z & RX-8 for example), there’s an Option 3. The LS-swap!

The 3rd Option

3) There are a few chassis out there, where the LS-swap is your absolute saving grace in a pinch. Your get out of jail free card. It’s like that grandparent who comes in & bails you out of credit card/college debt when shit hits the fan. The E36 on its own… is one of those chassis that will ride forever, simply because of the aftermarket, the enthusiasts, and motorsports. And – because the LS-swap has become a plug-n-play option in the E36… you can pick up an E36 for under $5,000, drive the wheels off the thing, and just keep putting a little money aside every month in case anything grenades… keeping an escape plan in your back pocket lol. I’m not saying the BMW engines are weak. But sometimes the things that plug into it are. And eventually, you’re gonna wanna go faster… and/or… the costs of repairing/maintaining the engine, is not going to be worth the horsepower you’re getting from it.

When you stick an LS into an E36, it becomes a forever car. You see a lot of stripped-down LS E36s in the drifting paddocks. But you don’t see many clean ones on the street. And why not??? Because this is the perfect street car! You get amazing power, in an amazing chassis, with amazing support, and classic Euro style! Plus – you get a wealth of knowledge from 2 major enthusiasts groups: The BMW crowd and the LS crowd.

The Ultimate Driving Machine

This is Tony Abad’s E36 M3 out of Houston TX. Tony absolutely loved this car with the BMW M50 engine. He was meticulous about keeping up with the car & maintaining it. And it’s not like anything bad ever happened to that M50. It was just that – when he was going to pull it down for a rebuild… he began to realize the costs associated with a strong rebuild, were going to be in the same price bracket as a full LS-swap. So curiosity took over & he went for it. And now – he’s got 450 underworked N/A horsepower in an ultra-clean 90’s Euro sedan… with huge aftermarket support to pull from. It’s an Ultimate Driving Machine that’s real tough to beat.


Built aluminum-block 5.7 LS1 with T56 transmission

Diamond pistons

Manley rods

ARP hardware

Port & Polished 243 heads

Ported LS6 intake

Texas Speed Torquer V3 cam

Current Performance wiring harness

E38 GM computer

Vorshlag complete Stage 0 kit

Chase Bays brake booster eliminator

Chase Bays brake line relocation

Aldo Welds custom intake

Aldo Welds custom coolant overflow

Aldo Welds custom hard lines (radiator & thermostat)

Mishimoto aluminum radiator

MGW shifter

Fore Innovations fuel rails


Complete respray by Imperial Collision

Felony Form over-fenders

Mashaw carbon fiber LTW wing

ACS front carbon fiber lip

ACS carbon fiber mirrors

Final Form / Rize Japan LED tail lights

Rize LED foglights

Retro-fitted DJ Auto headlights with FXR 3.0 projectors


Recaro Pole Position seat

Motion Motorsport floor mounts

Motion Motorsport seat brackets

Racetech Magnum 5-point harness

OMP 320 Carbon S steering wheel

Sparco quick release

MKAH E36 center AC vent panel

MKAH E36 glove box delete covered in suede

MKAH E36 full rear seat delete covered in suede

MKAH door card delete panels covered in suede

Custom 4-point roll bar with x-brace



OZ Hartge Design C – 17×10.5 & 18×11.5 wrapped in 245/35 & 265/35

Broadway 500S air struts

Air Lift 3P management

996 Brembo 4-pot big brake kit

Rally Road adapter brackets (front & rear)

Rally Road E36 stainless brake lines (front & rear)

ECS tuning E46 M3 rotors (front & rear)

Motorsport Hardware wheel stud conversion & nut set


Text by Wooley   Photos by Jason Scott