Opposite Lock member Mikael Vroom has the right idea.
Mr. Vroom – if that is his real name – bought a 1997 BMW M3 (E36) earlier this year for $2,450, complete with all of the problems and hangups that one ought to expect from a premium European sports sedan costing less than $5,000 (rust; more rust; a camshaft that’s been sheared in two…)
That’s all right, though, because Mr. Vroom (and again, that may not be his legal name) has big plans for the aforementioned BMW M3: he’ll be ditching the old, war-torn inline-6, and swapping in a 302 cubic-inch Ford Windsor V8. In the most recent update from his ongoing saga, Mikael Vroom and friends removed the old motor in preparation for the Ford unit’s installation. When finished, the trusty 5.0 in this E36 BMW M3 will be paired to a T5 manual out of a 2004 Ford Mustang V6.
From the factory, the E36-generation BMW M3 shipped with a 240-horsepower six-cylinder, having a displacement of 3.2 liters from 1996 onward. The Windsor V8 being dropped in its place ought to be capable of at least matching that, hopefully without the touchy temperament for which German engines are generally known. (I happen to own a 2000 BMW 528i, with the German automaker’s lauded 2.8-liter M52TU. It’s been anything but kind to my wallet.)
Check out Mikael Vroom’s most recent 5.0 BMW M3 build update at Opposite Lock.