The younger BMW fan associates the term “M50” with the M Performance version of the i4 but the diehard enthusiast knows the suffix traces its roots to the 1990s. An inline-six gasoline engine carried this alphanumeric designation and was used on a variety of models between 1990 and 1996. The 3 Series from the E46 era happened to be one, but it’s no longer inside a BMW since it has been repurposed for a Toyota.
This project kicked off with a rusty Celica before Daniel Railean worked his magic to bring the sports car back to life. He used parts from no fewer than four different BMWs, including a 2001 323i from where it inherited the engine. It gets even more interesting since the rear end was borrowed from another 3 Series, this time around a much newer 2011 car. It’s not just BMWs that were dismantled to revive the Celica as the steering column comes from a Renault Clio.
The ol’ Toyota, a second-generation Celica (RA40), lives again as a drift car with a BMW-sourced gearbox. We learn it took a lot of effort to cram in the M50, which is hardly a surprise since that engine bay was originally intended only for four-cylinder engines. Although power isn’t mentioned, we’ll remind you a 323i E46 had 168 hp from its 2.5-liter unit. In stock form, that generation of the Toyota Celica barely had 100 hp although there was a Japanese version with nearly 140 hp.
A lot of hours were also invested into the final appearance of the car. The original plan was to make it look like a Batmobile but that didn’t pan out. The finished product makes generous use of carbon-Kevlar, with each body panel requiring about a week to finalize. It has a vented hood, a massive rear wing, and fender flares. It even has a custom heated windscreen, which is practically unheard-of among cars made between the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Even if the car is not necessarily your cup of tea, we can all appreciate the work and time that went into rescuing a neglected Toyota Celica by using parts from other cars and improvising where there weren’t off-the-shelf components available.