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UK Alpine white 1987 M3

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  • UK Alpine white 1987 M3

    Well, what can i say?! Have always wanted an E30 M3 but for one reason or another i've not bought one until now.
    Kind of missed the boat when sensible priced ones were the norm so fast forward to now and the opportunity of one came up as the long term owner (more on that later) had laid the car up for some time and had finally decided to part with it.

    Built in Feb 1987 and oddly first registered as an original UK car in Jan 1988 supplied by MLG Chiswick in London as a completely basic spec car.

    S300A Emergency spare wheel
    S850A Additional Export tank filling
    S853A Language version English
    S860A Additional turn indicator lamp

    So that means non sunroof and manual windows, coupled with the non metalic Alpine white paint makes it all most "motorsport light weight" drivers spec!

    Possible goes some way to explain why it remained unsold for nearly a year?

    The car has remained a London car all its life as the original owner from Harlesden in North London sold it when it was 5 months old to the guy i bought it from who came from Fulham, SW London so its virtually a one owner car, all most unheard of with E30 M3's and pretty incredible that he owed it for 27 years!

    Mileage is 174k which is high'ish for one of these but for what i have planned for the car it does not matter... more on that later.

    So - some pics!

    It is pretty rough around the edges to be honest but most importantly of all is its not a troweled up shiny snotter like quite a few E30 M3's are now and its honest with what looks to be all original paint.
    Being a non sunroof car means one less potential rust area to worry about and after a look over the car on the ramp and dropping the knee roll and glove box, the bulk head look to be ok.

    The scuttle is solid but has these bubble which will grow a bit when ground back.

    As you can see the engine bay is very scabby and unsightly but it would not take much effort to improve this for the time being.

    No big fist holes in the inner rear arches which is nice and surprisingly both the boot and interior remain damp free, no condensating up, no mould or anything and it has been outside for sometime!

    The worst bits! Clearly the square lifting pads have succumbed to tin worm at some point and some craftsman has patched them up no doubt for a MOT. Nasty!

    Hence my wanted ad for donor front floor sections.

    Oddly, the front seats have been replaced. The original trim is Country "houndstooth" but the fronts are now a pair of Uberkaro RHD seats from a cabrio.

    Maybe there were some bucket type seats at some point and the current pair were chucked in to replace them at some point?

    Other non original items include the 16" BBS black centred wheels from a Ceccotto edition M3 and some Bilstein B8 shocks and eibach springs. Bonus!

    There also looks to be a recent replacement genuine rear silencer and front calipers.

    So where does that leave me?

    Obviously the car needs a bare shell resto and the long term plan is to do just that but i do not want to steam staight into that without actually enjoying the car and forming a bond with it, something that needs to happen for spending thousands of pound and hours turning it into something that will last.

    So, the plan is to make it safe, reliable and get it through an MOT so i can use it as a daily, yes that's right a daily as well as get a bit of track time.

    I need to pull my finger out as well because i am off to the Ring with this in 8 weeks! 8O

    Soooo, after a mooch round it again today the list of things to do to get it usable are,

    New pads and discs
    All new handbrake hardware
    Braided brake hose kit
    Drop links all round
    Rear axle bushes
    A pair of wish bones
    Rear top mounts
    A pair of track rods
    Replace all fuel hoses
    Replace both belts
    Inspection 2 including all fluids
    Refurb injectors
    New battery
    Weld front floors
    New oil cooler pipes as they are crusty and the last thing i want is it dumping all its oil on Track at the ring as thats not cheap!

    Hopefully most of this will be done in the next week or two.

    So there it is, a scabby but solid, virtually one owner UK M3 and all for the price of a "nice" 325i Sport!

  • #2
    very nice! good luck with it love the fact its a slick top


    • #3
      Nice buy. Good idea to have some fun before a total restoration. Are you going to upgrade to aluminium front wish bones?


      • #4
        Wait until you get that undercoating off...

        this is what you need...


        • #5
          Originally posted by FASTROAD View Post
          Nice buy. Good idea to have some fun before a total restoration. Are you going to upgrade to aluminium front wish bones?

          Thanks, I will probably upgrade to aluminium wishbones when the car is fully restored.


          • #6
            Originally posted by kiko View Post
            Wait until you get that undercoating off...

            this is what you need...



            Yes indeed ive seen before hand what the PU undercoating can hide.

            I happen to be a senior technician for and have been involved with several E30 restorations (not all M3) over the years.


            • #7
              That's very handy! I sent you a PM.


              • #8
                Thanks for the comments guys.

                Yesterday saw the start of work on the car to get it back on the road for the first time in 5 years!!

                Replaced all the discs, pads, parking brake shoes and fittings, new goodrige braided hoses and bled through with ATE super blue fluid, front pads were these...

                BMW Motorsport group N front pads which are pagid RS. These coupled with the braided hoses and super blue fluid should be ample enough for light track use and the impending ring trip.

                Ample pile of parts. Coolant, Engine, box and diff oils changed as well as all filters and spark plugs, replaced all the fuel hoses as well.
                Going through the car checking various things has been quite surprising as several things I thought that would be either not working or trouble removing have been ok. Even the washer jets were clear!
                All the metal brake pipes came undone ok and were not badly corroded with the ones on the trailing arms and above the rear axle being replacements. All were liberally coated in waxoil.

                The electric cooling fan i expected to be seized as this is quite common but it was free and also a replacement as its the later plastic type one. Both speeds also worked so the resisitor is fine, another common thing to fail in old age.

                So after all the brake and servicing work followed by some checks it was run up to temp, fan cutting in and maintaining perfect temp just below half way on the gauge it was time to take it for a run! A short 3 mile jouney to the local petrol station to start to bed the pads in and see how the car ran and again pleasantly surprised to find that no knocks squeaks or rattles, or steering pull.
                Engine pulled well with no hesitation or misfires, idles bang on as well.

                Chuffed to say the least!

                It certainly feels strong for a 195 car which has got me curious but until I've done the valve clearances later this week and oil pressure and compression tests I'm not going to push it.

                On to less important things but annoying details none the less!

                The car also had a very nice conditon all in one leather "mushroom" type knob fitted which must be a replacement as its far to nice to be the original 174k mile one. Only thing that was letting it down was the BMW roundel so that had to go!

                Much better!

                Whilst clearing out some rubbish from the car this was found, fitting for a car of this period!

                This offensive looking stereo and digital clock with screen bleed were letting the side down so they had to be sorted!

                A few 6 button OBC's were cannibalised to make a good working one and a slightly less offensive looking stereo but with the all important aux in was fitted for the time being untill a "proper" period system is fitted.

                These 27 year old pioneer speakers had seen better days so were skipped and replaced with some more recent pioneers again as a temp install.

                I decided to take the car home on trade plates to put some more miles on it and have now done about 50 odd miles and so far so good thankfully! Everything works as it should, even the Si board with the only issue being the coolant warning light on the check control panel so a new sensor will be needed.

                And now the money shot!

                Crispy bulk head action! I'm not too bothered about this as when my front foot well sections arrive from California my tame welder will sorting this as well as doing the front floor repairs.

                MOT tomorrow!


                • #9
                  What an awesome find! Subscribed.
                  John 3:17


                  • #10
                    Nice un-optioned model.. Looks good with the black drivers mirror ;-) Look forward to progress.
                    One letter. One number. One legend ///M3.


                    • #11
                      Just insured it. 204 fully comp for me and the Mrs with agreed valuation of 15k and cat C/D salvage retention! Very Happy

                      Limited to 7000 miles though but as use other cars throughout the year I won't even get near that.

                      MOT is now booked for Saturday.


                      • #12
                        So this week a had the mirrors painted up as the visually astute will have noticed that one mirror was black and the other was tatty, a bit like the rest of the car!

                        Turns out they are heated and also the washer jets and drivers door lock. I guess the "winter pack" was standard on UK spec E30 M3's as its not on the spec sheet from BMW and I doubt its been retro fitted.

                        Either way bonus!

                        So yesterday I whipped the cam cover off for a peek and to check the valve clearances which were all within spec at .28mm or .30mm. It also appeared to be pretty clean in there and from what I can gather its had a timing chain job done on it.

                        Cam sprockets looked to be in good shape and I removed and inspected the top guide rail which had barely any ware which again goes some way to back up the chain replacement. It's also got an S50 tensioner fitted.

                        So after that it was time for it's first MOT test since jan 2009, having only covered 300 odd miles since then!

                        It passed with a couple of advisories, for an engine oil leak which appears to be lower sump gasket and corrosion within a prescribed area which was the poorly repaired front floor sections.

                        So it's taxed, mot'd and back on the road for the first time in 5 years. A B road blast was the well over due so I enjoyed what these cars are all about this morning!


                        • #13
                          Good progress! It's great that you've got the car back on the road.
                          1988 Lachs - sold
                          1988 DS - sold
                          Bay Area M3 FB group


                          • #14
                            well done ..nice to see a UK car getting the love it deserves....



                            • #15
                              Thanks guys!

                              I left the car with a mate for the last couple of days to see if he could tidy it up a bit and make it more presentable untill it gets a bare shell resto.

                              Taken from another forum.

                              Originally posted by B7
                              Delivering the old turd back to him tonight. I'll let you guys see it before he does :twisted:

                              As stated, it had been sitting about for some time. It was pretty dire as these typical shots show:

                              So fist off was a pressure wash to sort out the urgent areas. Using a fairly strong TFR mix, the drive went white! The paint was so dead it literally was coming of as watered down dust.

                              The shite was blasted away which left us with:

                              I then hit it with the clay bar and that went white also and picked up shed loads of contaminate!

                              Followed by a quick machine polish and a wax with AG SRP. As Barry says it's going to get the works and as we know polishing a turd is hard work so it really was a quick tidy up to make it a nicer car to use and easier to wash down on a weekly basis. As I was going round I touched in any obvious scratches and chips to take your eye away from them. But overall I reckon it was well worth it. Lets see what he thinks tonight. I does finally have a good shine which is what was aimed for.

                              I love white but it's a bastard to photograph!