My project car is a e36 3 series BMW and its a very good choice for this type of conversion. I dont agree with that other guy who is anti BMW. I have had BMW's for years and you just need to do plenty of research with what are the things to watch for. With a European car sold world wide you get the benefit of a huge variety of parts suppliers and it really drives down the prices on things. E36 you dont have a can bus to give you extra stress. My project is currently paused due to serperating from my wife but I can give you a lot of advice if you choose this car.I am coming at this project from a slightly different starting point to many others. My skills are primarily in software and electronics. Consequently, I have started my project at the electrical end rather than the mechanical end.
I will follow the guide on how to write this post.
Your skill level with auto mechanics and fabrication
Essentially none (yet). I can replace parts if they attach with bolts, I can measure and drill holes accurately, I have some experience with CAD and 3D printing. I have no skills in welding. I understand a lot of learning is going to be required in this area and very much hope I can acquire these skills as I need them.
The range you are hoping to get what level of performance you are hoping to get
I am largely unconcerned with this. If I can get a range of a couple of miles for testing I will be happy. My goal right now is not necessarily a useful vehicle, but an exercise in learning the process and testing my electronics.
How much money you are willing to put into your project
An absolute minimum. As above, I have very low expectations for my initial build and consequently intend to spend very little. I intend to take my time and buy things as and when I need them.
What parts you've already considered, if any.
I have recently acquired a 30kW 3-phase 2-pole motor in a 160L aluminium frame. I hope to use this with my DIY inverter (already built) running at 288V. This will produce 15kW, but could potentially be upgraded to 30kW+ in the future by either rewinding or adding a voltage converter to my inverter.
I believe that I will likely use the existing flywheel, clutch and gearbox setup from the donor vehicle.
I am comfortable with the electrical requirements including my DIY inverter, fuses, circuit breakers, contactors, precharging, DC to DC 12v battery charging, and now just about got my head around high voltage battery charging and balancing.
The biggest issue I have at this stage is that I have not chosen a vehicle. I need something with an engine bay large enough to accommodate the fairly large 160L motor frame, but still light enough to be viable as a low power electric vehicle. It seems that a vehicle with a reasonably large longitudinal engine and a rear wheel drive is going to be the answer, but many of these are large heavy cars. I'd appreciate any specific suggestions, or general advice on the types of vehicle to consider.
For quick reference, the motor is approx 13 inch diameter, and 18 inches long (excluding shafts, 4 inch front, 2 inch rear).
I am hoping for a little hand-holding with the mechanical aspects, particularly getting the motor mounted in the engine bay correctly, which is currently the biggest gap in my understanding of the process. This image of Johannes's engine bay roughly sums up what I'm aiming for. It can be seen that space is tight in terms of the size of the motor. http://johanneshuebner.com/quickcms/files/DSCF4013.jpg?t=1501541381435 so I don't want to get this wrong.
Thanks all for the excellent pointers from folks here so far!
Edit: sprocketman has kindly sent me a picture of a BMW 3-series bay which has plenty of place and a longitudinal mount, so this seems like the type of vehicle I may want to start looking at.