Ride Into the Apocalypse in Style With This Lifted Off-Road BMW E36

Safari all the cars? Yes, agreed. When the world goes to hell and our infrastructure crumbles into dust (I mean more so than now, obviously) you’ll be glad you’re driving a tough, lifted apocalypse-mobile. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice luxury and sporty dynamism.


You may remember last year when we highlighted a lifted, battle-ready, olive green BMW Z3 ready to cruise into a muddy bog. The same tuner has alerted me he’s turned his eyes to a more practical package, the E36 3 Series sedan of the 1990s. It’s got a manual, too!

This is a 1993 318i, the one with a four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual. It has 180,000 miles on the clock, plenty of rust, a very good interior and, best of all, a two-inch lift and 215/65/16 BFG tires. He’s on Kinja, and you can see more of the build here.

More details:

Front: Aluminum Strut spacers, approximately 2". These are mounted on the top of the strut mounts. I removed the studs and used longer hardware and a bent wrench to put it all together. The spacers are actually the end caps to a 90's era strut bar. Intentions were to replace them eventually but they seem to do the job. Springs are stock from a 92' 318i on stock replacement Bilstein struts. I don’t have any technical data to back it up, but I’ve always thought that 92' springs looked taller than later springs when they switched to control arm mounted endlinks. Speaking of endlinks, the stock swaybar and links are used. If I’d want to do any serious offroad stuff I’d likely pull the bar completely but for street use I’ve left it for stability.


The owner says that while it’s far from perfect externally, it runs quite smoothly, though it needs some work. It’ll need a new CV boot, the differential’s drain plug leaks and the belts squeak. You can fix those things if you want, and none of them sound hard, but this car is meant for battle—it’s not ever going to be some garage queen. It’d be fun to just screw around in, especially when the pavement ends.

(It is possible we need establish a distinction between ratty, lifted battle cars and the slightly nicer lifted safari cars, the latter of which includes 911s and stuff. But when the world ends, labels won’t matter. Only hunting for water and gasoline and people to eat.)


Anyway, this thing is for sale for just $2,300 right now in Denver, PA. Someone give it a good home. It even comes with helpful “E36" markings on the side in case you forget what it is.


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About the author

Patrick George

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.