Favorite Things: Ian Cross and his 2003 BMW

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Ian Cross is extremely passionate about two things, cars and photography. He loves his heavily modified BMW, which he purchased in Saginaw and tuned up himself.  

For me, the obvious choice for my favorite thing is my 2003 BMW. It just popped up on my Facebook memories that I got it a year and two months ago. My buddy, who builds drift cars, bought it and it was all stock. He gave me a really good deal on it and I went out to his house in Saginaw and picked it up, with the intentions of turning it into a project car. I got my parts car, swapped over all the parts and started daily-driving it.  

It’s crazy when you get that first big drive. When you go out somewhere and drive the car back for the very first time. That’s when you truly get to bond with it. You watch all of the gauges, and hope it doesn’t overheat. You’re listening to the car — listening for any noises and trying to adjust to driving it for the first time.  

When I got it back home, the first step was getting a quick-release steering wheel. My buddy and I threw down halfway on a parts car in Ohio that was wrecked in the rear. I got the suspension and all of the components and started installing it on the BMW. I built it all in about two weeks. The original BMW owner didn’t know what was wrong with it. I really just needed all four brakes and I could’ve just started driving it. It was high miles, but well maintained, as BMW owners tend to do.  

I’ve always loved cars, but I didn’t realize until about 2013 that what I really wanted to do was start modifying them myself, versus just looking at them. Once you start getting into high-level cars, it’s cool to see where you came from and it’s cool to see where you end up. For me, I just did the research on YouTube and just slowly began learning. I was able to save myself a lot of money by just doing the work myself.  

My big thing with project cars, it can be hard to make very big trips. Any time I would drive to Detroit to visit my grandma or go to Grand Rapids for a car meet, and I’d make it back home with nothing going wrong, well, that was a good day. 

My goal with a project car is to stand out, and have an opportunity to express myself everyday. If you daily-drive a project car, there is no better feeling. I got into car culture, because it doesn’t matter where you go — if you pull up in a unique car, there’s always going to be somebody that knows about it and it’s always going to be a conversation piece.  

Interview edited and condensed by Skyler Ashley. If you have a suggestion for favorite things, please email skyler@lansingcitypulse.com

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