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The One That Didn't Get Away [100K Mile E30 325is]

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This was one of those opportunities that I just couldn't pass up. Long time buddy reached out to me about his girlfriends mom wanting to sell her "old BMW". Asked for pics and was greeted by this 325is in incredible shape. Got the owners number and started talking about setting up a time to see the car. She had to ponder what the price would be as she had been back and forth about selling the car before. When she sent me over the price, I knew I was going to be buying it. Set up a time to see the car and came with cash even though I was only about 20 minutes from her house. Went out with my brother and drove it home that night. The previous owner really loved the car and was passionate about it.

Never drove in winter, always kept in one of their buildings on their property, and pretty infrequently driven. Came with all the service records from Auto Clinic where it has been serviced for the majority of its life. Has all the original manuals, radio ID cards, and even a complete tool kit. Crack free dash and a working odometer. Car hit a deer at some point, so the front clip is much more shiny than the rest, but the work was done by Dave Treichel at Zero to 60 so I know it was done to the highest level and it looks it.

Things to take care of: half the cluster does not work. Tach, fuel mileage, and temp gauge do not work. The other half works completely, so I don't know if that means it's an SI battery or if just all the gears on that side broke. Only other thing is that the driver window does not work, assuming it's just a regulator or maybe there is connection under the switch not connected.

My plan is to start cleaning it this weekend and get it up on stands to take a look under it. Want to rent a carpet cleaner that has a hand operated unit so I can pull the seats out and really clean it, looks like it might have some mildew or mold on it(probably from sitting in a barn for a while). Then start buffing and polishing the faded parts.

Plans: maintenance and minor mods including coilovers, wheels, strut braces, short shifter, and exhaust. I'll pick a couple bits off my other car like the euro grilles, euro clock, and euro plate filler. I plan to do the brakes this year as they are a bit squeaky. Depending on the condition under the car, I would like to do a full suspension and brake refresh this winter.

The car drives and rides great, been really enjoying the M20.










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Cleaning/detailing has begun.

Rented a carpet cleaner to take care of the gross carpet. Initial thought of mold/mildew was incorrect(thankfully). Think someone spilled something on the carpet/just dirty in general. Shop doesn't have hot water right now, so I snagged some near boiling hot water from the Kwik Trip just down the road. Carpet look pretty good minus a couple spots that are still dirty a bit. But, I have new floor mats that will cover most of the still problem areas. Water that came out of the machine was pure brown. 

With the seats out, did a full leather conditioning. I really like the Griots Garage products so I chose their Leather Care. I'm sure theres other possible better options out there, but for how readily available their products are and how well it performs, I really like them. Returned some good shine, leather feels supple, and took care of the dry cracking areas. Pulled the steering wheel cover off and did the same. Mtech 1 is in great condition.






I washed and claybared the whole car this afternoon. Decent enough day for it, fair amount of overcast so not a ton of direct sunlight. I'm partial to Meguiars products for exterior detailing. Again, possible better stuff out there, but for my level of detailing and intended outcome, fits the bill.

Wanted to see what I could do about the paint. Good news is that I think it will come back great, just a lot of time needs to be spent doing so. Started on the trunk to just get an idea of what I was getting into. Meguiars Ultimate Compound and medium grade pad on my rotary wheel. First picture below was just my first initial pass to get an idea of cut amount and wheel speed. This red is kind of hard to photograph.



Pretty big difference right away.


After the compound pass.




After using the Meguiars Ultimate Polish. Decent, but could be better. Might try a coarser pad for the compound and some more speed to get some more cut. Trunk, roof, and hood are always the most difficult.


And then just a pass of the Ultimate Wax. You can see the difference between the trunk and the quarter.


Parked in the shop.

More work tomorrow, maybe can finish the whole car. Don't think I'll cut the front quarters or hood as it was repainted. I'll just do a light polish on it.

Should I put the smoked smileys on this car or leave the ellipsoids?

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23 hours ago, B C said:

Stock headlights until it sees aftermarket wheels



More paint correction. Found that compound was a little too abrasive for the sides as I faded a couple inches of my pinstripe on the driver side. Went with just the polish and it brought back the paint to level I was satisfied with. Single stage old paint is difficult to work with and I'm not comfortable pushing further for that extra 10% I want to achieve without possible wrecking the paint. New cars are much easier to work with paint wise.

Before look at the rear quarter:




After polishing:



Better, but as you can see, could be better. I don't know if this is just the quality of the paint or if I might need to go at it with a finer grain pad and some more speed.

I have used a rotary buffing wheel for the longest time. I bought a rotary for personal use after I stopped detailing cars for Bergstrom because it was what I was used to. They are not as forgiving and do not have any safety features built in. I bought a 6 inch DA from Harbor Freight during their parking lot sale today. For $60, this is really all you need to get good results from paint correcting. 8mm of travel, edge safety feature, and 2" smaller surface than my rotary are much better for my use.

I got the roof, driver side rear quarter and door done today, shit takes a long time.

Pictures out side.







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2 hours ago, Rekpoint said:

So. Whens the S52 swap coming? I have one for sale 🙄

Clean S52 swapped E30s are pulling some hella numbers. Ask

@wasnt m3

This is going to stay M20 for the foreseeable future. 

1 hour ago, wasnt m3 said:

Coming along nicely! You can always use some 1/4" tape to protect the stripe. If you want the stripe gone, oven cleaner works well without damaging the original paint of the car.

Was considering covering it, but would have been a huge pain to cut down a bunch of large painters tape to cover. I love the stripe.

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Driver side window does indeed work. I just swapped the window switch from the Calypso car onto this one and saw that the switch was illuminated. Don't know if I ever checked if the other one was illuminated or not. Regardless, glad that it works.


Swapped my euro grilles from the Calypso car onto this one and removed the weird headlight bubble covers. I'm missing a headlight bezel on my passenger side high beam, will have to try and find one of those.


Got my shift boot and Nardi knob installed. Think the boot is low key enough without being gaudy while still adding some flavor. This would have worked better in the S52 car however. I like the Nardi knob as it isn't the ZHP that everyone does(for good reason though), however, it is a little light, so the shifts feel a little "airy". I'm wondering if changing up the shifter and shifter linkage might help that a bit.



Picture of the fleet. Poor choices as far as the eye can see.


Not sure if Airdropping the pictures from my phone to my Mac, then uploading here really cuts down the quality, but these seem to be much lower res.

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