Someone turned an E36 BMW into a turbocharged rally ute monster

We love a wild project car, and this turbocharged BMW 3 Series rally ute is one of the coolest

BMW E36 turbocharged rally ute

Amidst months of stay-at-home orders this year, you’ve probably taken the opportunity to pick up some new projects or complete some unfinished ones.

The guys behind the popular Grind Hard Plumbing Co YouTube channel are no different; only they’ve forgone the usual Lego sets and 1000-piece puzzles, and instead chosen to polish off their turbocharged, lifted off-road rally ute - built out of a humble BMW E36 323i coupe.

The team behind Grind Hard are known for pushing the limits of backyard-engineering, and are most famous for stuffing motorcycle engines into children’s ride-on toy cars. They also have a number of other 1:1 scale projects under their belt; including an abandoned Toyota Tacoma-turned rock crawler, an off-road V12 Jaguar XJS, and a number of drift cars.

So, it’s fair to say they like their weird and wonderful projects.

The safari-style 3 Series began two years ago, when they picked up the E36 for a measly US$50 (AU$71.60 at the current exchange rate).

The 323i was running, but was already half stripped of parts and had a blown clutch.

Phase one of the project saw them complete the “ute” conversion by August 2018.

The E36 ute resurfaced on their channel last month, and has since received an eBay turbo kit, a Fifteen52 wheels and 31-inch tyres combo, and some replacement panels from an E36 sedan parts car.

A rattle-can coat of paint later, and the gang was ready to make the 725km journey from Idaho to Oregon for the 2020 Gambler 500.

The Gambler 500 is an off-road navigational adventure similar in ethos to Australia’s shitbox rally; founded in Oregon in 2014 as a challenge to see how far US$500 cars could go.

BMW E36 rally ute

Since then, the event has surged in popularity with satellite events popping up all over the US, and even extending to Canada and even Iceland.

Cheap fun is the overwhelming theme of the event, and similarly shines through in the hilariously sketchy looking Germanic coupe-turned-truck.

Have a watch above, we think you’ll agree. Sure beats a lego set.


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