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  #1  
Old 07-02-2007, 09:17 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Lafayette Indiana
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My dedicated autocrosser, 84 280e euro

So some of you may be familiar with this car from my mentions of it in other places.

It is an 84 380e euro which was originally brought into the country by a Polish team (no kidding) to compete in the Amerithon Ralley in 1984. (The ralley was cancelled but I have a brochure about it which I bought off the internet. It was to have been a 17,000 mile ralley from California to southern Argentena to Alaska and back to California). It came out of the factory with 369 gears, specially selected 280e motor which is stock but was chosen cause it dynoed a bit more than most, a five speed, vented front rotors from a 126, 126 springs so it sat up higher, fifteen inch wheels (I specualte on that) and a skid plate. Also, no power seats, no sunroof, no radio and no ac.

It was sent to a shop in Munich which scraped off the undercoating, stripped the interior and installed two racing seats and a bed, plastic windows in the sides etc.

So the ralley was cancelled. And one of the drivers assigned to the car remained in the US (J. Frank, who runs J Frank motors in Indianapolis) along with the car. So it sat around for a while and J Frank eventually installed an interior from a 240d and glass side windows and used it as a parts chaser for a while and eventually sold it to me.

I drove it for a couple of years and sold it along when my son got old enough to drive and it made me nervous to think of him driving it (too fast....I know, it seems silly now). After a few months I really missed the sweet little 280e motor and sent the buyer a note saying to give me a chance when he got tired of it.

more to come.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.

Last edited by t walgamuth; 07-02-2007 at 09:41 PM.
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  #2  
Old 07-02-2007, 09:38 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Location: Lafayette Indiana
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So about three years ago he calls me and says "do you want the 280 back?"...I say, how much? he names a price and I say "well yeah I think so".

So I hook up my trailer to the dodge and taking my favorite machinist along head down to Indy.

As we pull up to the place I find the car sitting next to his house about 50 feet from the creek. I put jumpers on it and try to start it. The engine is locked up pretty solid. There is mud in the car. I say "This car has been flooded"....he says no....My favorite machinist says he thinks no too.

But I am pretty certain it was under water up about to the bottom of the dash, but I bought it any way since I was pretty sure I could sell the five speed tranny for more than the purchase price.

So we drained a bit of water out of the tranny and diff and pulled the motor.

My favorite machinist pulled the motor apart and went through it. There were a few pits in the bores but they were all low and he felt they would not cause trouble, and simply honed the cylinders, cleaned up the pistons (one task I trusted myself to do) , installed new rings (but not bearings as they were perfect) and did a good three angle valve job and put it all back together. The car shows 140,000 miles.

After the engine was back in the car with a new clutch pp, etc. We found that it needed a new fuel pump relay (actually my indie did). That was what parked it originally, apparently. We also had to install a couple of good used calipers that I had on hand and purged the brake fluid and installed new belts air cleaner and brake pads.

So my plan was to make a race car of it. Originally I planned to race it in vintage racing but after watching them go at it hammer and tong up at Road America I decided maybe my balls were not big enough for that and have been autocrossing it.

We fitted h and r 1" lowering springs on it to complement the Bilstein HD fronts and Koni Red adjustable on the rear.

I cleaned up some 14" bundts and had them painted and have mounted Hoosier slicks 225/50r14s on them. There are virtually no high performance wheels and tires actually designed for the benz.

So with the springs and pretty much everything else stock except that I have removed the interior excepting the drivers seat I ran in FSP.

At the last autocross at Grissom a couple of weeks ago I ran uncontested in my class but for comparison I beat the two Honda s2000s and three of the five Lotus Elise's that ran in my group.

I have no idea what I could do against a good FSP (whatever that might be) but I still grin every time I think of beating those cars.

The car weighs I estimate under 3000# and handles very neutral with a heavy spare and a full tank of gas. I ran it last year once with no spare and a half tank of gas and it felt too light in back.

So I have it at the alignment shop getting the negative camber maxxed out and maxxing the caster as well along with about 1/16" of toe out.

It loves to rev and has good torque from down low up to the fuel cut off at 6600 RPM, which I have hit a few times but try to avoid.

And then I plan to install a four point harness to keep me solid in the seat and head up to Crown Point this Saturday for another autocross.

I am having fun.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.

Last edited by t walgamuth; 07-02-2007 at 09:44 PM.
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  #3  
Old 07-04-2007, 03:07 PM
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Can you post some pictures of your car?
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  #4  
Old 07-04-2007, 06:43 PM
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A great story, Tom.

I especially love the part about beating the times of the Honda and Lotus'.
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  #5  
Old 07-04-2007, 07:03 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2k2s430 View Post
Can you post some pictures of your car?
maybe later. I am not very skilled with all that stuff.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2007, 07:16 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suginami View Post
A great story, Tom.

I especially love the part about beating the times of the Honda and Lotus'.
Thanks sugi.

I am still grinning about that.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #7  
Old 07-04-2007, 07:17 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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I read about a lightweight no acid battery that would be good to reduce weight. Anybody know where to buy them?

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2007, 11:25 PM
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Not sure on the battery but I bet you could (w/ the rev limiter disabled of course) safely rev that car to 7K+ on occasion...

Great story, glad to see she was rescued and put back to work

Jonathan
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  #9  
Old 07-06-2007, 12:22 AM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Yes, probably. But 6600 seems high enough to me.

Thanks.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #10  
Old 07-06-2007, 10:01 AM
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So, you're not missing your SEC too much?
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  #11  
Old 07-06-2007, 01:33 PM
t walgamuth's Avatar
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Only when I drive my Magnum.

Anybody have experience with a locked rear diff.?

I am wondering if I can get away with a locked diff on an autocrosser. I am not planning to drive the car on the street at all.

Tom W
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[SIGPIC] Diesel loving autocrossing grandpa Architect. 08 Dodge 3/4 ton with Cummins& six speed; I have had about 35 benzes. I am finishing a 39 Studebaker Coupe Express pickup in which I have had installed a 617 turbo and a five speed manual....I also have a 427 Cobra replica with an aluminum chassis.
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2007, 12:59 PM
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I don't think a locked diff would be a good idea in autocross with all the turning. They are really only useful off-road (low friction surfaces allow the tires to slip instead of bind when turning) and for straight line drag racing where the car only turns at low speeds. On the streets and parking lots, the binding in turns would be difficult to handle, and the inner tires would be constantly forced to slip in turns to keep up with the outer.

And for the battery, try looking at Summit Racing or Jeg's, they have some lightweight racing batteries. There are a bunch of different sizes to choose from: http://store.summitracing.com/egnsearch.asp?N=400109
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