Pros - Caswell, steel STA can be welded for strengthening and getting rear shock out of single shear
Cons - E30, shitty power, 1980s car. Stupid front suspension design, no rally suspension currently available.
Get an E36 325i or preferably a 318ti. Pros - Rally developed parts available. Rally.Build has rear shock towers/turrets, skid plates, and more. JVAB has done both 40mm and 50mm and camber/caster top mounts.
Let me ask you---so you have to expend some energy and though..
What do you think are the advantages of that car?
Isn't that more important than us telling you a bunch of things ---spending time and effort---and possibly either
a) you getting butt-hurt cause we din't know (maybe) you're more a BMW fan-boi than a rally guy OR
b) we talk you out of it , and you come back and ask another "what about this _______________(fill in blank with another really pointless car)
and we have to 'splain what is wrong with that...
Have you looked anyplace in the world where there is long term high entries in the club level events to see the cars that over the years seem to work well and evidently make the owners happy?
Also, how important is cost? With enough money anything can be made into something reasonably effective..
You loaded and want to do a ad hoc wealth-transfer or amateur income redistribution?
What can you do?
Have you considered an old CRX? Local expurts say they are just great for rally...
As for cage---what do you consider local? If you saved $2000, what would you then think local is?
I'm an e30 guy and semi bmw fanboy and I even think the e30 is a bad choice for rally. Oh i've seen it done, but mostly on rallycross, and they all look hideous. The amount of work and hackjob fixes just to make it rally worthy is just not worth it. The e30 can be a lot of things, Daily Driver? yes. Weekend toy? yes. s52 swap/turbo candidate? definitely yes. Rally car? Not really.
You could go with an e30 325 iX for the AWD, but those only came with the m20 engine and are pretty slow compared to other options. Also parts are getting pretty rare and rebuilding the transfer cases can be a royal PITA
On a similar note, as was previously mentioned, if you go up just one generation to the 90's, the e36 318ti is a really great candidate for a rally build. I have also seen a lot of just regular e36 318i or 328i's as rally candidates. Parts are ready available and the shells are becoming very easy to come by.
I think it depends what you mean by a good choice for rally. I choose the E30 because I knew it well, had a huge support network and access to spare parts, it was RWD(fun), and crazy strong. It was also really inexpensive for me to run as I simply fitted a cage and safety gear and ran stock suspension. I was ready to rally in like 2 weeks. I didn't even make a skid plate until my third event. I just welded in a bash bar in front of the oil pan and went and had fun. My only real failures were the aluminum engine arms and an oil pan I guess. So for me it was great choice.
But if you're looking to compete with the other BMW like Nelson or Brandonberg, that E30 is going to need a tone of work and cash. E36 is faster for sure. But the tiny E30 is way more fun. Not as fast but stupid sideways and fun.
Yes I bought a MR2 , but I think that was a poor choice. As John Vanlandingham will go on about how bad a choice it was.haha. But got it for a $1000, I'll have some fun with see if I can find an autocross scene near me or beat the crap out of it / run into the ground or just sell it for more money than i paid for it. Looking into a rally school (dirtfish) and then maybe getting a prebuilt car just to get out there and race.
No worries I will be out there in something. Probably a Subaru.
I'll be going to the CRC Pacific Forest Rally in Merrit in a couple days, I'm going to check out peoples set ups and cars.