21st June 2008

Just thought I would let you know that I went to my friends garage today to see Project M, to see if I could get her engine running, as I have set the wheels in motion to collect her next weekend and bring her home for the strip down and restoration to begin.

It was with much trepidation that I opened the garage, I had not realised it has been 14 months since I was last down there to see her, The garage lock was seized and took a few minutes to work loose with a liberal spraying of WD40.

With the garage open I was pleased to see that she was still there and the garage was still dry inside, she did look sorry for herself with all 4 tyres totally flat. " Remember me" I thought out loud, as I tentatively reached out and touched her bonnet

Once lifted I  fitted the battery, as I was doing this I heard some of the electrics clicking into life, a good sign I thought. I also checked the oil and water, all still present and then eased my way up the side of the very narrow garage to the drivers door, a gentle tug and I was in, a smile came across my face as I lowered myself into the body hugging Recaro seat, my hand fell naturally to the gearstick to ensure no gears were selected.

Now for the moment of truth, would she be seized, would she fire, would the petrol be stale and not start, there was only one way to find out. I turned the key to the first notch, all the dash lights flickered into life, lighting up the dark gloom of the garage. Here we go I thought, second notch, the starter whirred into life, the fully charged battery had no problem, turning her over, free and easy she spun for 2 seconds, 5 seconds, 7 seconds, 2 more seconds I thought then I will try again, just then , she kicked and fired, and the glorious sound of a BMW straight six roared into life, a small dab of the accelerator to get the revs up and she responded instantly and settled to a silky smooth purr, well more of a growl really, I had already removed a section of the exhaust 2 years ago and the remainder was sounding past its best

My smile just got bigger, and I thought back to all those times when I had wondered whether to persevere with her, but every time I thought that, I would just get in and start her up, no matter how long she had been left she has never failed to start and refire my enthusiasm

I turned her off, and blew the front tyres up, the small compressor I had, that plugs into the cigarette lighter would not reach to the rear wheels, so in I got again, and turned the key, this time there was not hesitation, she fired up straight away, clutch down and into first. I had no idea if the brakes would be seized, would she move under her own steam. Would I have to tow her out.

I shouldn't have doubted her, the clutch operation was smooth and slowly raising my left leg, she eased forward, no snatching, no sticking, a little stiffly perhaps, but smooth and clean, my smile was huge by this time, "Go on " I thought to myself

Once outside, the rear tyres were soon blown up and I had time to survey her, what was left of the exhaust was hanging off, a large pile of rust on the garage floor indicated where it had lost the battle with the tin worm, no problem I thought as I have an almost new full exhaust back at home, the previous repairs were all looking sound, but the floor looked looked even more tatty then I had previously remembered. All in all still standing up well, everything considered.

The weather was starting to take a turn for the worst, so I jumped back in fired her for the third time, and pulled her back into the garage. With the battery disconnected I lowered the bonnet again, "See you next Week" I said, and pulled the garage closed. This was going to be long week I thought to myself as I pulled out of the street and headed back home.


28th June 2008

Went to collect Project M today, everything went well, and she is now home, was helped by friends, Norman and Neil, and also a special visit from Ronald Aker who was on Holiday in the UK from Holland.


This has been her home for the last 2 years


Loaded and ready to go



Arrival at Home


Let the Deconstruction begin


Front screen out shows some very bad rust, I will need to try to find a replacement panel for this area


Rear screen is similar but not as bad, should be able to patch this



After taking the screens out and discovering the rot that was lurking underneath I set about trying to find some replacement parts. Surprisingly enough BMW still make the parts needed, Part Numbers 41321848261 Front Screen surround and Part Number 41321881522 rear screen base.

But I thought that a better and cheaper option may be to check out some E28's, I made a template from paper of the E12 and then compared it to an E28, they looked very similar, Fortunately I had been in contact with a guy from Ebay called Bob from Yorkshire, who was breaking some E28's, One had an immaculate Blue carpet, the other may be suitable for the screen parts, I loaded up all my cutting gear and headed down there.


Another E28 about to Sacrifice itself


The Silver one donated its carpet set


After about an hours work, the screen surround was out


It was then onto the rear


The surrounds certainly look very very similar to the E12, but I will not know for sure until they are trimmed and tried on




July 27th 2008
Interior and dash now stripped out


Drivers side floor is rotten, but I knew that when I repaired that side inner wing last time


Rear floor bungs are rotten, and collapsed when I stood on them


Surprisingly enough, despite the severe rot to the windscreen surround metalwork, there is no other rust below this area, I can only assume from this that the paintwork has been damaged when a new windscreen has been put in, and not by water getting in past the seal.


Further strip down, driven out of garage to turn it round, so that I can start removing the engine. The car does not look to bad in these shots, but you cant see that the sills and floor are rotten underneath.



Alloy Wheel as makeshift driving seat


6th August 2008
preparing to lift the engine



All looks as it should do in here


My Daughter helping out, "Now remember Nicole" "Lefty Loosey, Righty Tighty"

After all the bits had been taken off, it was pushed outside and jet washed, to try to clean off some of the years of dirt and grime, now just the running gear to take off


August 17th 2008
Running gear now stripped off


Some shots from underneath to show the extent of the rust in the lower half of the car



Engine bay now fully stripped



This is the inner wing that is to be replaced, it would definitely be difficult to patch this satisfactorily


The door pillar also has some severe rust, wish I had cut a section out of that E28 last month, to help with the repair


Very Rusty front and rear axles, they will eventually be shot blasted and painted prior to refitting

There are just a few more bits at the rear to remove, including the fuel tank, and that should be it. I am currently in discussion with a local shot blaster, to try to get the underside and inner wings etc shot blast prior to starting the repairs, this should hopefully make the job a lot more pleasant and more thorough.


September 8th 2008

I have been very busy stripping the last pieces from the car, and it is now away to the shotblasters, once I had stripped the sound deadening pads from the floor, it became very apparent that there was very little holding the floor and sills together, and because the car was going to be transported and shotblast, I thought that it might be wise to add some additional bracing to the car to help it keep its shape.



I hope to save the original chassis legs, so thought that it might be a good idea to cut out the section of floor above the legs so that the shotblaster can then blast the inside of the chassis legs as well, as I intend to replace the floors with the ones from that E28, which incidentally are exactly the same in every detail, then this would be a worthwhile job


and boy am I glad I did, in each leg was a large old and rotten mouse nest, pile of rust and mouse droppings, they must have got in when the car was stored at my dads, they could enter the leg from the front panel, where the notches are for the bumper brackets, this is the pile from just one chassis leg.


I also thought that it may be worthwhile cutting off the outer sills at this point also, so that the shotblaster could thoroughly blast the inside and outside of the inner sills.


And again, thought it might help to remove that section of rotten screen surround, so that it can be thoroughly blasted inside and out.


This also gave me the opportunity to try that section of E28 windscreen surround that I had cut off last month, apart from 2 brackets and 2 fixings that are extra to the E28, the shape and fit is exactly the same


I thought that because the E28 wings fit up to the screen surround that this area might be slightly different and need modification, but as you can see, it fits perfectly.


The car being loaded onto the trailer for delivery to the shotblasters, helped again by Neil and Norman. For anyone considering a similar thing I can advise that 3 people can easily lift the shell, even without the use of an engine crane as we did. Infact if you were really pushed I think 2 strong people might be able to manage.


The car arrived safely at the shotblasters and loaded onto a wheeled trolley, this was the day of the torrential rain and by the time we got the car there it was soaking wet, at least all the rust holes will help the water drain out. Steven the shotblaster says that he wont be able to blast it until it is fully dry, so he hopes to make a start next weekend. lets hope that there is still something left to take back home.


25th October 2008

The shotblaster has started on the car


The inside and engine bay have been done, just the underside to sort out now


As the floor pans are going to be replaced anyway, he has not blasted the entire floor area

The shotblaster is using a sand and glass bead mix, this is very fine and does a great job of stripping off the paint and rust without damaging the metal, unfortunately, it is really struggling to remove the underseal from the underside of the car, he is going to have to get a courser medium and try again later next week


1st November 2008

The shotblaster reported back to me earlier in the week that he was still struggling to remove the underseal from the underside even with a coarser grit, so I decided to come down and see if I could strip some of the worst of it off with a wire brush in an angle grinder, and then hopefully he could finish it off with the grit blasting
This is the grinder and wire brush that I used, a straight forward 41/2" grinder and an inline type twisted knot wire brush, I also tried a cup type wire brush, but this caused a lot of vibration and was very tiring to use, the inline one was very smooth running and easy to use, and actually more effective, definitely my top tip for this month


The side handle was definitely needed to stop it kicking as it bit into rusty patches and holes



I have to say that I was unsure what to expect, but I was very pleased with the results, it took me only 4 hours of non stop work to strip the car to the extent shown in the photos below.
The green yellow colour still visible on the underside is the original primer coating that the shell was given when it was new, the shotblaster should have no problems removing this.


The whole process was made so much easier because the car was turned on its side, it would have been much harder work had I attempted to do this lying on my back under the car. The shotblaster had laid mounds of the sand down to rest the car on, but sand bags or even old tyres would do just as effective a job


I was surprised to find no rust around the tunnel and the inner half of the floor pans, it only seems to be the outer halves that are affected, I had originally intended to replace the whole floor section, but may just do the outer sections now, I will wait to see how things progress.


There were areas that I could not get into with the grinder, but hopefully the shotblaster can work on these areas until the coating is fully removed, I definitely feel like good progress is being made now.

It does go to show what is achievable with just some basic tools and a bit of determination

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