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When the Voice of Reason Failed: Acquisition of Mila

Updated: May 26, 2020

The car goes by several names: Mila (given by previous owner), Frank, the Money Pit, Thor’s hammer, and my personal favorite, the Black Menace. For some reason Mila stuck.

The addition of Mila came due to the failure of the voice of reason, i.e. me.

You see, Kev and my dad shop for cars constantly. Bring a Trailer, eBay, Craigslist, local dealers, etc. You name it, they probably had their eye on it looking for the next great deal/inexplicable purchase. I haven’t decided which one of my family members is most dangerous in this respect (probably my dad + internet + 2nd martini), but I often have to talk them out of purchases they’ll surely regret a couple months out.

This brings us to 2017. We had just finished up the last autocross of the season with our local car club. Prior to 2017, I hadn’t autocrossed in 15+ years having transitioned to lapping days and wheel-to-wheel racing. But my wife Em took an autocross school, got the bug, and started competing.

Subtle, and not so subtle, cues that Mila is different than the other girls


After an autocross ends, we’ll typically go to my parents’ to have dinner while Kev, my dad and myself talk about cars, and occasionally episodes of Seinfeld. After the last event of ‘17 we talked about the season. We genuinely had fun, but what started innocently enough as a reintroduction to autocross resulted in a desire to win. None of our cars were competitive in their respective classes. Over some beers we talked about how great it would be to have a light e30 BMW with a big honkin’ motor. Something like that could surely win!

Apparently Kev took this conversation to be a green light to go shopping. Most of his early finds were a little out of budget, but then came Mila. She was a little worse for wear. Gutted interior, no AC, no stereo, cracked dashboard, and rough exterior paint including several different shades of black. But the most important thing looked (and sounded) good. An S52 motor from an e36 M3. Fast forward three weeks and Mila is dropped off at my dad’s garage outside of Chicago via trailer from Buffalo, NY.

Mila's first night home

Mila's first night home

We’re still sorting out some of the gremlins from Mila’s Frankenstein-like creation, but when she’s working right, she’s a blast to drive.

All I can hope now is that we get her dialed in and start winning because I cannot afford another ridiculous purchase right now. 🏁

Some testing at Autobahn Country Club

Mila’s glamour video. Look at that stance

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