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Thread: New Cult Member

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    4

    New Cult Member

    I'm just about to make the 40 min drive north to pick up this local ZHP:

    http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showt...ings-91k-miles

    Coincidentally, I actually worked at Santa Barbara Auto Group/BMW Santa Barbara when the seller bought this new back in 2004. I was the Internet Sales Manager at the time and most of my time was spent on used cars and the occasional leftover new inventory like E46 M3 ZCPs. This was far enough back that Bimmerfest was still small enough to be in Santa Barbara - 2005 was even hosted at the dealership. It was a sh!t show since it had far outgrown what a small dealer could accommodate but still cool to be immersed in the epicenter of BMW fandom.

    It was a cool gig - I was still there when the E92 M3 came out and presented at our launch party. BMW was supporting that launch with their Formula BMW drivers. A young racer and his dad drove their race car all the way down from NorCal for display. Nice humble kid - even helped me drive one of our guests home that had a little too much to drink. He won the championship that next season and after a stint in Europe he came back over to the states to race IndyCar. He won the Indy 500 his rookie season - turns out Alexander Rossi is a pretty damn good driver - but I digress...

    All that above to say, yes, I am a BMW fanboy. I've owned a ton of other stuff but this ZHP is the latest in a long line of BMWs:

    E92 335i
    E60 535i
    F30 335i
    E30 325is
    E39 M5
    E92 M3
    E36 M3 (still with me)

    Very excited to add this one owner ZHP to the stable. I'm also the 2nd owner of my E36 M3 and feel pretty lucky to have such nice examples of each. As much as I love the E46 M3, the M54 is much better suited to daily duty and my commute of barely over 3 miles. My E92 M3 wasn't even warming up the oil each way. I'll start the light refurbishment this afternoon. Bumper is a misaligned in one corner and headlights will get a polish before I determine if new lenses are needed. Tomorrow should at least be able to do engine bay and interior detail. Although not a bad place to start I love making nice cars like this look even better.

    Last but not least, thankful to have this awesome community dedicated to one of BMW's all time greats.
    2004 BMW 330i Jet Black/Black 6-speed ZHP
    1999 BMW M3 Alpine White/Black 5-speed

  2. #2
    Congrats on the pick up. You got yourself one nice ZHP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    602
    Welcome, and very nice purchase. Also very cool story about your time at the dealer and meeting Alexander Rossi!

    I'd be very curious to hear about how you like the ZHP compared to the E36 M3. I was actually looking to pick up a 328is or M3 before I stumbled across my car.
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    6,372
    Welcome, sir. You will love this forum. This ZHP looks sharp.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    150,000 miles

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    4,432
    Howdy from KY, this is the place to be. Your car looks great!
    325i, 2005, 5MT, Silvergrey, leatherette, Sport package; CDV delete, KONI STR-T & KYB Excel-G, Weisslichts, Stewart H2O pump

    328i, 2010, 6MT, Spacegrey, dakota leather, M-sport packages; all stock
    http://s900.photobucket.com/user/othibau/media/Junesig.jpg.html][IMG]http://i900.photobucket.com/albums/ac208/othibau/Junesig.jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    22841
    Posts
    9,707
    Welcome

    Sent from my Pixel 4 XL using Tapatalk

    His - 2004 Imola Red / Alcantara 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

    Her's - 2005 Black Sapphire Metallic / Black Leather 330i | 6MT | ZHP |

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Posts
    4
    Quote Originally Posted by t.er View Post
    Welcome, and very nice purchase. Also very cool story about your time at the dealer and meeting Alexander Rossi!

    I'd be very curious to hear about how you like the ZHP compared to the E36 M3. I was actually looking to pick up a 328is or M3 before I stumbled across my car.
    For perspective, I've owned some other pretty capable sports cars like a 997 C2S and a GT350 but also had at least some seat time in lots of other cars...NSX, 996 Turbo, etc. 996 GT3 is among the best I've driven.

    The E36 is has a a few mods and mostly fully built street suspension. AA Intake, Dinan Chip, AA Exhaust, F&R Strut Braces, F&R adjustable sways, GC Camber plates, & PSS9 Coilovers. So, some tangible improvements over stock.

    That being said, my E36 M3 is the best canyon car I've ever driven. It has all the power you need without getting stupid fast and the most beautifully balanced chassis/suspension setup. Utterly neutral and communicative but still very supple to absorb real world roads. Plus great visibility while being relatively small and light. And I'd argue anyone with decent driving skill can get in and instantly feel comfortable at a pretty good pace.

    Now, they are becoming a bit of a PITA. Of course the cooling system sucks so I went full aluminum radiator and expansion tank along with electric cooling fan. The door cards are possibly the worst engineered in the history of door cards. And now that it is a "classic" seemingly normal parts like door seals are $400+ or even worse NLA. My car is way too nice to track out but I totally get the appeal as it becomes less and less practical to keep stock. At least the motor is easy to work on and pretty bulletproof.

    The E46 is a much nicer place to be and in ZHP trim is very close in power plus has an extra gear and tighter steering rack. Even carrying around a couple hundred extra pounds I would think that with similar mods you could deliver a similar experience without a lot of the old car headaches.
    2004 BMW 330i Jet Black/Black 6-speed ZHP
    1999 BMW M3 Alpine White/Black 5-speed

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    17,616
    Welcome! Great list of cars. Congrats on the new one.

    Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV
    ESS Stage 1 Twin Screw Supercharger, Sprint Booster, BMW Perf Intake, Magnaflow Exhaust, Dinan TB & STEP S/W, Ground Control Coilovers, UCC Sway Bars, Apex EC-7 18x8.5 ET38
    Dynavin D99+, Hardwire V1 (w/V1 Connection), BSW Stage 1 Speakers, Kicker Amp/Subwoofer
    BMW Performance Strut Brace, Orion V2 Angel Eyes, No-holes License Plate, SMG Paddle Shift Mod, Besian VANOS, Gold DISA, Fan Delete, M3 Side Mirrors
    Note: Actual car no longer resembles signature picture

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Toronto, ON
    Posts
    602
    Quote Originally Posted by tuckerware View Post
    For perspective, I've owned some other pretty capable sports cars like a 997 C2S and a GT350 but also had at least some seat time in lots of other cars...NSX, 996 Turbo, etc. 996 GT3 is among the best I've driven.

    The E36 is has a a few mods and mostly fully built street suspension. AA Intake, Dinan Chip, AA Exhaust, F&R Strut Braces, F&R adjustable sways, GC Camber plates, & PSS9 Coilovers. So, some tangible improvements over stock.

    That being said, my E36 M3 is the best canyon car I've ever driven. It has all the power you need without getting stupid fast and the most beautifully balanced chassis/suspension setup. Utterly neutral and communicative but still very supple to absorb real world roads. Plus great visibility while being relatively small and light. And I'd argue anyone with decent driving skill can get in and instantly feel comfortable at a pretty good pace.

    Now, they are becoming a bit of a PITA. Of course the cooling system sucks so I went full aluminum radiator and expansion tank along with electric cooling fan. The door cards are possibly the worst engineered in the history of door cards. And now that it is a "classic" seemingly normal parts like door seals are $400+ or even worse NLA. My car is way too nice to track out but I totally get the appeal as it becomes less and less practical to keep stock. At least the motor is easy to work on and pretty bulletproof.

    The E46 is a much nicer place to be and in ZHP trim is very close in power plus has an extra gear and tighter steering rack. Even carrying around a couple hundred extra pounds I would think that with similar mods you could deliver a similar experience without a lot of the old car headaches.
    Good to hear your initial impressions so far, especially from myself not having driven too many exciting cars.

    Agreed with all your points - I was looking at an E36 because I'd worked on a couple a decent amount back in high school autoshop. Man, the interior in the E46 is leaps and bounds better than the E36. And back then (and even up to when I bought my ZHP) E36s were pretty cheap - a few months before I was in the market for a car there was what appeared to be a clean, 5-speed Estoril M3 coupe for like $7K CAD - my perfect spec aside from the dove interior. Who knows, could've been a rust bucket in real life but the prices have definitely risen. I still have a soft spot for a clean coupe.

    Cooling system woes continue with the E46, and the physical design changes for quicker assembly at the factory have made it harder for proper aftermarket implementation. I was following along quite closely with Mishimoto's aluminium rad development but they always had issues with getting the CNC'd VDA connectors to seal, it's much easier when it's just a hose and a hose clamp like the E36. To be fair I haven't really looked much into other offerings like CSF though, maybe they're better.

    I've been doing autox for a while and just started hitting the track, so my car (and myself) are slowly improving. Aside from poly bushings on most of the suspension and BMWP exhaust & intake it was pretty much stock. Installed GC DAs end of last summer, then have a new front sway bar and new rear springs to go in for the upcoming spring.
    2004 BMW 330CI ZHP (well, technically ZAM)


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