As much as Bob Dye likes the 1991 BMW 318iS he purchased in 2010, he had an urge to rework the engine, the transmission and other aspects of the car to make it uniquely his own.
He wanted a car that he could take to the track if he so desired or have his daughter drive to the grocery store.
So a couple of years into driving his inline four-cylinder BMW from his home in Overland Park to his job at Johnson County Community College, Dye decided to change the engine and drive line.
“Someone was selling a V-8 engine, and my son said we better go check this out,” Dye said. “In a true street-rod fashion, I have taken the engine (and) transmission from a bigger, late-model car and shoe-horned it in.
“I had a mechanic do it at Kansas City AutoSport in Merriam. They did the engine swap.”
Dye enjoyed working on the car with his son, Jared. Part of the fun of changing the engine was the challenge.
“My son knows that I am always up to do something that hasn’t been done,” Dye said. “We have tripled the horsepower and the torque.
“We did the drivetrain swap in 2012 and then we did the suspension and brakes the next year. I work for a living so I have to spread the cost of it out.”
When Dye lifts the hood to show the engine, it is easy to see the pride he has in what he and his son have accomplished.
Dye admits some people are taken aback when he shows them the engine and ask why he put such a big one in his BMW.
“They think it must be a real turkey to drive,” he said.
Dye assures them it is not. He points out that the all-aluminum V-8 engine weighs about the same as a six-cylinder engine.
But the power is so much greater. The horsepower was about 135 and now is 280.
And that means more speed. Dye said the car can go up to 150 miles per hour, but he has never tested it at that speed.
“This car is perfectly balanced and perfectly proportioned,” Dye said. “It really is a fun car to drive.”
None of that surprises Dye. He has owned other BMWs before but has never bought a new one.
“I’ve always admired BMWs for being a sporting driving car and practical,” he said.
Dye bought his current BMW from a fellow BMW club member. The previous owner, who is retired from the Army and lives in Leavenworth, bought it new when he was stationed in Germany.
Dye knew the history of the car and decided to make a deal to buy it. He uses the car regularly during the spring and summer months, driving it to JCCC often, except when the weather is bad during the winter. The car now has more than 150,000 miles.
Despite it being 24 years old, Dye’s BMW has the look and feel of a much younger car. It still has the original paint, but just about everything else is new.
“The way I introduce this car to people that don’t know much about cars is it has an engine, transmission, a drive shaft, all BMW parts, but none of them were ever originally present in this car,” he said.
Last year, Dye had the interior reupholstered, which added to his comfort every time he drives to JCCC to teach construction management.
“Everybody loves this body style,” Dye said. “People come up to me at the parking lot, filling station or even pull up at stop lights and they give me the thumbs-up or they come up and say, ‘I just love this car.’ They (say) that is what a BMW should look like,” Dye said.
Do you have a car, truck or motorcycle or other vehicle you would like see featured in Make It Yours? If you do, email your idea to David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com