Boredom is no match for Garage 54. The Russia-based team of mechanics are well known for their automotive hoonage, and perhaps even more well-known for fabricating absurd creations based off of their governing ideology: “Because why not?”
While they’re well versed in turning cars into aquariums, replacing crankshaft bearings with actual leather belts, and swapping out springs for basketballs, they’ve also made mechanical masterpieces out of ice, concrete, and just about every other material in existence. In other words, if you’ve ever had a “what if” moment when working on a car, chances are Garage 54 have already acted on the same idea, and you’re already late to the party.
Now it seems that the team is more determined than ever to best quarantine boredom, this time by freezing a Frankenstein E30 in a block of ice. The hypothesis is simple: If subjected to the unforgiving Russian elements, will it start?
The ridiculous experiment begins with the construction of a wooden platform in which the E30 will sit. After topping off all of the fluids and attaching a new battery, the team cut a hole in the hood in order to fasten a makeshift snorkel and an exterior ignition switch that can then be used to remotely start the frozen BMW. Perhaps the most comical step of this mad-science experiment, however, is watching a team member “water” the E30 incrementally with a hose, leaving the winter elements to freeze the layers.
Attempt number one to free the E30 from its igloo home didn’t quite go as planned. As expected, water had pooled underneath the front half of the car, infiltrating the transmission shroud and seizing the flywheel. With some humorous troubleshooting—a few hacks with a chainsaw and a shovel—the team fixed the problem, leaving the car to sit again.
A few months later, the team commences a second attempt, and the E30 almost instantaneously awakens from its hibernation, its sputtering exhaust muffled by layers of snow. After five hours of idling, the sporty compact begins to emerge from the powder, but not without a plume of steam. As predicted, the car has begun to overheat as a result of the upper radiator hose failing and lack of proper ventilation.
If you’re thinking about questioning the durability of BMW engineering in this video, don’t. While unassuming from the outside, this beater E30 is indeed a Frankenstein piece of hackwork. The engine is a Toyota S-family twin-cam inline-four with a Russian-made Lada radiator, for starters.
So, while this E30 isn’t quite a BMW (or any singular brand, for that matter), we will say that Garage 54 certainly knows how to entertain, and that’s a lot of ice.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy Garage 54 on YouTube.]