I was rallycrossing my M3 on a farm in the middle of nowhere, Iowa, more than 120 miles from home.

Things were going swimmingly so far. And by swimmingly, I mean that on the back section where there’s a turn and an immediate uphill section in 6+ inch deep mud, I got stuck about half the time.

On what ended up being my last run, I ran wide through that turn and rammed the center of my bumper directly into the foot-tall berm created by every other car taking the correct line.

Smoke rolled out from under the hood in every direction, and I was straight stuck. They brought the side by side over and dragged me out and back to the pits. Funny, the coolant temp sure doesn’t seem to be going down.

Back in the pits, I popped the hood and found the entire engine wet and green. Uh-oh.

You see, the inlet and outlet for the E36's stock radiator are opposite the sides that a small block Ford would like them to be. So instead of buying a different radiator, I just criss-crossed the coolant hoses between the radiator and engine, and kept the stock expansion bottle. After all, the comparatively-small pushrod V8 takes up so much less room in the engine bay than the wide, long inline six, so there was plenty of extra room in front of the engine.

Until the bumper pushes on the radiator, which pushes a pressurized coolant hose into the water pump pulley, sawing a hole through it.

Okay, so I’m a bajillion miles from home in a car with no coolant or way to keep coolant inside of the engine. It’s Sunday, so the closest auto parts store that’s open is at least a 40 minute drive away.

Well it’s a farm and the land owner was into racing at some point, so a couple of local guys (who showed up in hopes of racing their lifted Z71 pickup) and I started scrounging around the outbuildings and trailer-homes-turned-engine-block-storage around the property (with permission, of course!). We found a few hydraulic hoses but nothing to replace what I destroyed.

It’s kind of a big ask to have someone waste a couple hours driving me 40+ minutes each way to a parts store but I was about to get desperate. You see, I had planned for this - the week before, I installed a flat-tow kit on the M3 in case something like this were to happen.

First thing that morning, I had even loaded up the tow bar and magnetic trailer lights into my wife’s SUV in case the time came for me to justify even purchasing an SUV in the first place, as I’d done before. A couple of times.

But asking a stranger to waste a couple hours was looking pretty good compared to asking my wife to load up a toddler and waste the rest of her day driving to a farm in the middle of nowhere to pick up her joke of a husband.

So I’m trudging back to my car, dejected, trying to decide if I’d rather inconvenience someone I barely know or someone that I know too well. Until I basically tripped over a 6" length of copper pipe half buried in the dirt. I picked it up, wiped the dirt off and eyeballed the diameter. It’s close. Maybe close enough. One of my new friends whipped out his pocketknife, sliced the broken hose, and we stuffed the copper pipe in place. A couple of hose clamps and some zip ties later and I had a sealed coolant system once again.

Awesome, time to head home! I dumped some coolant into the engine and headed out, only to see this happening.

230 degrees and climbing. I shut the car off at 250, and my friends with the Z71 pulled me to their farm about 5 miles down the road with a precariously short tow strap between their hitch and my tow hook. Fun side note, the M3's brakes can still haul both an M3 and a Z71 down to a stop without much trouble.

Once at their farm, the engine was ready to take a bunch more coolant and after burping the coolant system by turning on the interior heater, temps sat at 180 for the rest of the drive home.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude for the guys that stuck around and helped me out and to whatever higher power allowed me to drive myself home without giving my wife probable cause for divorce or murder.

After that I went and got a new radiator and routed the coolant hoses properly. Much better.