“The engine bill adds up quick. It’s not long before you’re at $15,000, especially when you’re custom machining some pieces, like the pistons.”
The motor was next, a 2.8-liter inline-six with 120,000 miles on it. “We tore it apart until we were left with the block, the crank and the head, minus the springs and valves,” says Scott. The block was rebored and zinc coated, and new pistons were installed, along with a new water pump, seals, bearings, valves, retainers and a BimmerWorld oil pan baffle. “The engine bill adds up quick,” Scott shares. “It’s not long before you’re at $15,000, especially when you’re custom machining some pieces, like the pistons.”
While there’s no price limit for engine tweaks, you can’t stroke the motor, you can’t overbore past the stipulated compression ratio, and you can’t go too far into the custom fabrication realm to the point where the parts don’t still resemble stock components. “Our pistons had to emulate the original ones,” Scott says. Intakes are fine, so long as they’re not a ram air or a throttle body. Cold-air intakes are also allowed, so they dropped in an AFE E46 air filter. “The engine took three months to assemble, coming together piecemeal over the winter,” Scott says. “It can take a while to [receive] parts.
Serra acknowledges that the trade off for properly sourcing and building an engine in this manner is speed. “That’s a big challenge—trying to get everything you want in a timely fashion,” Serra acknowledges. “Anything custom is going to take forever. We’d say we’re going to start the headers now, and we were still working on them two weeks later.” By this point, Serra was popping into the garage with Scott at least once a week. “He’d bring us parts, and when he had ideas, we’d figure out a way to make them work,” Scott recalls.