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Heavy Metal Affliction 2006 BMW 330i

John Schommer
Thursday, September 20, 2012


Finding and buying the right car is never an easy process. When you are looking for a car capable of matching your enthusiasm for performance, you have an even more complex dilemma. Certainly there are worse problems to have to deal with but, once you buy a car it’s yours, so making the right choice is a key to a happy automotive relationship.


Today we meet Forza community member Jon Barrow, an IT Project Manager in Great Falls, Montana —Gamertag  JuanFlaco. Jon is a guy who knew exactly what he desired in a car, then sought it out and, amazingly, got exactly what he wanted. Barrow’s dream car was a “hidden gem”, but he didn’t find it rusting out in an old abandoned barn. Instead, he hunted online web sites and car forums for a single model that was already upgraded for spirited driving and the occasional track day.


Initially Barrow’s only requirements were a 2006 BMW e90 330i, with the six-speed manual, and the sport package (for the incredible seats). He wanted a nice daily driver that had potential for his interest in SCCA racing. Of course he had considered the M3, but it was out of reach. He liked the thought of the naturally aspirated N52 motor; unique to the 2006 model 330i (later models had a turbocharged powerplant). As a dyed-in-the-wool BMW fan, Barrow believes that everyone should own a BMW inline six cylinder at some point. This was his chance to experience “the ultimate driving machine.” 


Buying a car that has been upgraded and customized has both risks and benefits. The upside being that the performance enhancements typically don’t add much resale value, so you can realize a tremendous savings over building a car yourself. The risks, on the other hand, are numerous: Was this car upgraded and  cared for? Do the upgrades suit your vision and style? Did the previous owner buy quality components and were they installed correctly? Fortunately for Barrow, when he found his car, all the answers were a resounding “yes.” He considers himself extremely lucky to have found an extensively upgraded car, primarily with OEM dealer installed parts and complete records.


Now that the search for the right 330i was complete, Barrow only had to close the deal and take ownership. The previous owner was happy to see the car going to an enthusiast, and Barrow was happy to be saving significantly on a car built to his specs. After settling on a price and shaking hands over the phone, Barrow flew 1,500 miles away on Memorial Day weekend to pick it up. He then spent the weekend driving home getting to know his new wheels. As he neared his garage the odometer just rolled past 50k miles. Mission accomplished.


Barrow has his father to thank for his affliction of car lust. Although his father passed away when Barrow was quite young, he knew his father had a passion for beautiful cars. In fact his father owned none other than a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, which he sold shortly after Barrow was born. His father regretted parting with that car, and carried a photo of it around in his wallet until his passing. Barrow now has this photo as a testament to his pre-destined love of beautiful cars.




Although Barrow never experienced the kind of father-son automotive bond shared by building a project together, he has been building that part of a relationship with his eight-year-old son. Barrow’s reintroduction to a love of cars came when he discovered Forza Motorsport 2. He fell in love with the livery editor and competed in league racing with guys from the gaming forum. Purchasing the BMW and participating in SCCA solo racing is, as he calls it, “a natural evolution” of his love for Forza.


Recently Barrow his son and the BMW participated in a fundraiser car show to support a local cancer treatment facility. It got him thinking about what it means to be a part of the automotive community, both online and off. It really brought him full circle, with his own loss, and in the importance of sharing the time with his own son and giving back to the community. This last point is important to Barrow and he looks forward to future opportunities to help others through his love of cars.


Barrow and the BMW also recently took part in the “Top Gun Shootout” in SCCA solo racing. He raced the BMW in the STU class against drivers from three other clubs in Montana. There were 105 cars at the event, which was held at the state emergency services training center-- a facility designed for Highway Patrol driver training. There was an extensive road section with a few twisties and a long banked sweeper. The car held up well at this event and throughout the season and Barrow has learned a lot. He has plans to downsize his rear tires from the 19-inch 275’s to get the car into the STX class where he may be more competitive. To learn more about SCCA Club Racing check out the SCCA site.


As you can see the car is spectacular and somewhat of a sleeper. 




Enjoy these photos:




That BMW inline six with its upgraded intake and exhaust is a treat to the ears, have a listen.




If you have a car that you love, whether it’s complete or a work in progress, tell us about it in the request for community rides thread.


If you would like to discuss JuanFlaco's track worthy BMW, do so in the HMA thread.