Introducing Project 324K

German engineering paired with Japanese precision sounds like a combination made in heaven, don’t you think?

Once upon a time, I wasn’t the biggest BMW or Honda fan. I’m not saying I didn’t like either brand, but I certainly wasn’t an avid supporter. When I was growing up our family owned an E34 BMW 735i which I thought was pretty cool, but I was too young to really appreciate it back then. Over the years I learned to respect both automakers a whole lot more, but I still never owned anything BMW or Honda. That is, until recently.


A year and a bit ago, I was browsing YouTube and came across a guy that goes by the name Alex Car Life. Alex had a BMW E36 that he’d re-powered with a Honda K20 engine (and later a K24) for track use. I was instantly in love. It just seemed like the perfect combination – a great-looking chassis that handles well, paired with a high-revving, lightweight engine that you can extract a lot of power from (both of Alex’s setups were turbocharged), while being reliable at the same time. Big ideas started swirling around in my head.

As luck would have it, my parents-in-law still had the E36 316i they’d bought brand new. The car had definitely seen better days though, having been parked up outside for a long while after the engine seized. But all I saw was potential, and I couldn’t stop thinking about buying it from them and building my own K24-powered BMW. Then life got super busy, and a year flew by without anything materializing.


The thought never left my mind though, so when I came across a K24-powered Ice Blue 318is for sale locally on Facebook Marketplace, I knew what I had to do. Starting with an E36 that was already K-swapped would make the project so much easier than starting completely from scratch. But there was a catch…


Which is why I not only bought the blue K24 car, but also my in-laws’ grey one. I’ll get to why in a moment.

The 316i was obviously not running because of its seized engine, and the 318is barely ran because of a bad tune. So I had both cars transported to Rapid Garage in Boksburg, where Jonathan Rudman is looking after the build for me. You might remember the Rapid Garage name from cars like the Pandem-kitted BMW with a Ferrari F136 engine and the 2JZ-swapped M Coupe. Given engine swaps are one of Jonathan’s specialities, I know my project is in safe hands.


Let’s take a closer look at the 318is, which on the surface looks like your typical unfinished project – rough but with plenty of potential.


The previous owner was setting the car up for drifting, and as you can see, they mounted the K24A way back in the engine bay. The firewall was cut out to accomodate this move, which in turn necessitated the car’s factory transmission tunnel to be modified too. It’s a real mess, however not the worst of it. I’ll show you why in the next update, but what I’ve already shared should give you an idea of why I’ve decided not to use this chassis for my build.

On the flip side, the 318is has a lot of parts I can carry over into the 316i. The Honda engine itself features a ported cylinder head with a Supertech valvetrain and reground cams. There’s also a custom intake with a 90mm throttle body, Quantum fuel pump, Tomei fuel pressure regulator, and a FuelTech FT450 ECU.


In the driveline, we’ve got a BMW F30 Getrag 6-speed gearbox with a button clutch that’s attached to the engine with a questionable ‘custom’ adapter plate (more on this next time too), plus a locked differential with a 4.4 final drive. The diff will need to go.


The car sits nice and low thanks to a set of FK coilovers, but whether or not I can or will use these remains to be seen. That goes for a lot of the other parts too, but I’m hopeful.


You might be thinking why I purchased the 316i chassis from my in-laws given how rough it looks. Well, let me just say that looks can be deceiving, and they definitely are in this case.


The BMW has never been involved in any fender benders, and here in Johannesburg cars just don’t rust even when they’re left exposed in the elements. So although the 316i’s exterior looks bad, it’s mainly just dust and grime; the chassis is still in great condition underneath.


Inside, the sun has definitely taken its toll on some of the trim, but as I’ll be replacing most of it, I’m not worried at all.


So what’s the ultimate vision for Project 324K (3 Series, 2.4L K engine), aside from a being a Honda K-swapped BMW sedan? I really want to create an E36 that resembles an STW (Super Tourenwagen Cup) car, which means a race livery, large wheels, a super-low ride height, and most likely a full roll cage. It’ll also have a high-revving naturally aspirated power plant under hood, just not a BMW one. I don’t want to be trailering the car everywhere though, so while it will be set up for circuit use, it needs to remain road legal. Luckily for me, here in South Africa ‘road legal’ is a term used rather loosely.


Very soon, the engines will be pulled from both cars, at which time we’ll be able to see what state the K24 is in, along with the rest of the driveline and suspension in the donor E36.

I’m very excited about this project, and at the same time Project LS is also nearing completion. My Lexus LS400 is currently at Iron Lion Customs where it is undergoing final body work before full paint, which is more or less the last part of the puzzle for that car.

Stay tuned for updates on both builds!

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzemedia



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I already had a sneaking suspicion it's an E36 with K24 swap based on the title and header picture. LOL!

This would be an interesting project. Didn't Ryan Stewart also built an STW-inspired E36 previously? Man, we need updates on so many of the SH Project Cars!


Yeah he did, even had centerlocks. He sold his build some time ago but it was so epic!


Honestly, not super surprised as everyone has been doing k24/k20 swaps. What can you say, it's a solid 4 cylinder platform... Enjoy the build!


If it works it works, so quite keen for this.


E32 ist the 7-series. E34 ist the 5-series*

otherwise i really appreciate the idea with the k24 swap, just like what mike burroughs did to his ferrari.


Thanks for the correction, more proof that I'm not such a long term BMW aficionado.

Yeah K24 just makes sense in so many builds these days


I think a Project 324K as an STW build would be so cool
Looking forward to this one and wishing you the best!


Thanks, I think so too! Really want to keep it a high-revving lightweight car

Matthew Adam Berman

OOOh great stuff! Always love these intro articles, now I'm probably going to spend the whole weekend thinking about how I would do this build, can't wait for the next update!


Haha thanks man, motor is going in this weekend so build is moving along quite nicely.


Please don't use FK coilovers in your build. They are kinda OK-ish if driving in the city less than 25 miles per hour. Other than that, they are useless.


That's the plan to change them for sure, they came in the 318is, so will just use them to test fit, but definitely looking at changing them out


I thought it was 'Project 324k', because that's how many miles it had on the clock¯\_(ツ)_/¯


K-series is the LS of 4-cylinders. Fits in just about anything, makes good power, abundant, inexpensive, and easy to get replacement parts.

As much as I hate to betray my username, a build like this needs NA ITBs to go along with the theme!


It really has become that. I was going to go ITB's but up here in JHB, we're so high above sea level (1753m) so any kind of NA setup really suffers up here.


In that case, you should definitely check out the Artec cast stainless turbo manifold.

They even make a purposeful RWD K-series version for builds just like yours!

Tubular may have more clout for the 'Gram, but cast stainless has better strength and longevity.

Obviously, I am a big fan of their products, and you guys should consider a feature!