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Restoration project just purchased!!! Let the spending begin!!!

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  • Restoration project just purchased!!! Let the spending begin!!!

    Hello everyone, first timer on this forum and hope to be able meet some like minded folks here. To give you guys a little background, I used to own an 89 M3 in the early 90s. Car had original 11K miles and was in superior condition. After driving it for a few years and having the car put me through college, I sold it to Adam Corolla (comedian, TV personality, and car enthusiast) and ended up with a Porsche RS America. Before you guys say anything, Yes I know...I should have kept both cars. But who knew....

    Fast forward to last couple of years, I have been looking for the proper M3 to purchase and restore. Being the owner of a luxury auto dealership in southern california and having a lot of vendors at my disposal, I decided it was time to have some fun.

    A few days ago, I purchased a two owner 88 DS/Black car that had been sitting in a garage for over 12 years. Car is all OEM and has had no prior accidents or paint work; but boy does it need some :-) . Previous owner (2nd) handed me a 2 inch binder of service records going back to the original owner. It includes his magainze cut outs of all articles pertaining to the E30 M3, paint/upholstery brochure that was available at the time at dealerships and "of course" the Original Purchase order. Car has been in Southern CA all of its life and had ZERO rust on it. This is was my main concern as so many of the cars that i had inspected in the last couple of years, had evidence of rust.

    Prior to buying the car, I spoke with my BMW M specialist mechanic whom owens two restored E30 M3, two waiting to be worked on, along with a bunch other cool M5s as to what I should look for at my initial inspection of these cars.

    Before I go on telling you guys what the car needs, I want to kinda go over my intention with the car. My goal is to upgrade/replace parts for the car as it becomes necessary. I am mainly going to drive the car a couple of the days out of the month on weekends to work and to local auto events. Given the car has 170K miles, I am not expecting concours awards nor do I intend to track the vehicle. Just being realistic and looking forward to the nostalgia of driving these amazing cars.

    As far as what the car needs, here is the list:
    • Full paintjob - it has the original paint but the paint has started fading and there are a lot of scratches on the car. Spoke with my bodyshop and we have decided on doing a proper paintjob including the jams, engine bay area, and replacing the seals and etc.
    • Front bumper - it has more cracks and scars on it than a gladiator. Will be looking for a new bumper as my bodyshop does not see how it will be fixed if I am going to be picky. I am looking for an EVO 3 front splitter to purchase right away as we move forward with this project. So all help would be appreciated.
    • Cracked windshiled and cracked dash - will be ordering the windshield from BMW and luckily my mechanic has a spare near perfect condition dash in his garage that I will be purchasing from him.
    • Broken/torn seats - I originally wanted to buy the Sport EVO SRD seats for the car but will availability being next to none and prices being crazy, my upholstery restoration guy is going to try and repair the seats and reupholster them with original BMW Nappa Leather. If he is not able to fix the seats, I may decide to go with aftermarket racing seats and possibly M-Tech Fabric for the inserts of seats and door panels.
    • Carpeting / headliner - Everyone is against me tearing out the old carpeting and replacing with brand new carpeting but I really would rather have brand new carpeting. Has anyone done that here? any suggestions or recommendations is highly appreciated. As for the headliner and the pillars, I am going to do full Alcantara. Again suggestions and recommendations is appreciated.
    • Headlights/tail lights - one of the front headlights has a rock chip in it and one of the rear tail lights is cracked. I am going to replace all to have a uniform clean look. If I can locate smoked/smiley headlights that will be the way to ago.
    • Suspension - Shocks are pretty much gone on this car and going through the 2 inch binder of previous serivce history provided by the seller, there was nothing in referece to replacement of suspension parts. Therefore, I am going to go with coilover setup. I do have to mention that I have used Ground Control on my other cars that have come through the my dealership and have not been too happy with the result. It may be a matter of opinion, but I have decided to go with another brand. With that being said KW Coilovers or some of the other brands (never heard of them) on VAC Motorsports site may be an option. I would love to hear your feedbacks/ suggestions on this fairly quickly as I am going to move forward with this purchase fairly quickly.
    • Wheels/Tires - Spoke with my contact that provides all wheels and tires for my dealership, and he is going to provide me a list of 18 inch wheel options this week. I am not going to go with a wheel that has been discontinued and replacement is gonna be impossible. As for tires, will go with best available tires for the fitment.
    • EVO 3 wing - I am looking for this item and ok with going with high quality aftermarket option with CF material and etc. Any leads and suggestions is appreciated.
    • Mechanical - I am hoping to have my mechanic thoroughly inspect the car and give me a list of everything that needs to be replaced. If I have get upgraded or hight performance replacement items for any of them, I will do so. My goal is to end up with the 2.5L motor at somepoint when we need to get deep into the motor.
    Apologies for the super long write up. Wish me luck and would appreciate any and all suggestions, recommendations, and directions to source some parts.
    Thank you,
    Michael
    p.s I will be posting photos and links to videos of the progress.


  • #2
    Welcome!

    Nice to see an owner who intends the use, and even tastefully modify, the car rather than just keep it all "original" in a heated garage.

    I think your plans are sound. I would only say that IMHO 18" wheels are too large for this car, performance wise they definitely are, but aesthetically it is a subjective call. I know many DTM versions used 18", but they did so with specific reasoning in mind that does not really apply to streetable cars.

    You will probably be confronted with a lot of "NLA" issues as you search for parts, but if you are patient most of the NLA stuff seems to become available again. Might be a few years though. It does provide a viable argument for using aftermarket parts...with some items that (or used parts) is the only immediately available option.

    I have not replaced the OEM carpeting on mine, but I am unsure why people are discouraging you from doing so. Is it the "all-original, all-correct" mafia or is there something else behind their reasoning?

    I have been running Ground Control on mine for about 15 years. I have been happy with it, so I cannot really comment on the higher end setups like KW. Honestly, I could never come up with a good reason to try something other than the GC setup.

    Markus on this site is a good source for parts...either OEM or aftermarket. Many here (including me) have been buying from him for decades.

    Again, welcome aboard!

    Comment


    • #3
      Good Luck with your purchase and restoration ! Markus can help you with the Evo stuff, IMO Do not swap out seats for the SRD seats, just have them reupholstered , 18" wheels..I agree with IronHead, go with 16" or 17". I have a TcKline coilover setup in my M3 and a regular lowering spring setup in my other M3 So in My opinion on suspension is stay away from coilovers, go with a lowering spring and Bilstein shock setup or Koni, Again that's my experience.. few companies out there can actually make you a set of custom springs or just do the H&R"s. I think that is one of your last concerns anyway.

      Good luck on the Journey. Look Forward to your pics.

      Comment


      • TheAutoCollection
        TheAutoCollection commented
        Editing a comment
        Thank you! Any particular reason why you are suggesting to stay away from Coilovers?

    • #4
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I have already messaged Markus

      As for the 18inch wheels, it is merely for looks. I know performace is gonna be crap but again, I will give it a go and if it doesn't work, will size down to 17s. The only reason my mechanic and upholstery guy are discouraging me from replacing carpet, is because they are trying to save me $$ and they think with a nice shampoo/steam cleaning, it will all be fine. I just think if my entire interior is going to be restored why not do the carpets too. I know its gonna be next to imposssible to find original carpeting and padding. I am definetely not against putting after market parts in the car as I intend to get behind the wheel asap and enjoy the car. As for GC Coilovers, it is just my personal opinion and experiece. Since I am not planning to Track the car, lower level options may entice me if the savings from them could go towards other upgrades. We will see...
      Thank you for the warm welcome. Looking forward to being active here

      Comment


      • #5
        This is my experience...The Geometry of the E30 M3 works much better with a normal spring setup, Many Members including myself went with coilovers to correct the Rake Look ( the ass on these cars APPEAR to sit higher compared to the front, this is only because the wheel arches are taller in the front compared to the rear ).. A Coilover ride is harsh and combined with the 18" wheels you will probably send Vibrations through your spine at every bump you cross... Im about to play with a custom spring setup for the 2nd car to achieve the same look as my coilover setup but hoping for a better ride!

        Comment


        • #6
          Hey great to see a new member and new purchase. Sound like you found a great car.

          Lots of good advice already, I would stick to 16s for that beautiful ride you can't buy these days.

          About the paint job. Can you leave that till last? Try driving the doors off it first. Park it anywhere. Get thumbs up for being a survivor car. Mine (rust free Cali car that I bought last Nov) has faded paint and battle scars. I intend on leaving it like that for now. I see to many shiny restored cars and I want mine to be clean, mechanically healthy and nicely lived in. I want to not worry about stone chips, door dings etc. One day it might get painted but I need to enjoy the car for what it is first.

          Comment


          • TheAutoCollection
            TheAutoCollection commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks for the advice. Yes I am leaning away from the 18s. As for the paint, I can't come to grip to drive it in this condition. LOL

        • #7
          Everyone has opinions, I’d get Recaro SRD and never look back, I hate the stock seats though

          Comment


          • TheAutoCollection
            TheAutoCollection commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you for the input. It is always great to have input from other owners when you are between cross roads.

        • #8
          Originally posted by 1990m3 View Post
          Everyone has opinions, I’d get Recaro SRD and never look back, I hate the stock seats though
          Agree, not only are they slippery, but if you are tall at all they sit way, WAY too high. Even without a helmet, my head would touch the roof with the stock seats.

          Comment


        • #9
          Welcome back to the club. I'm of the old school where doing the work on your car is almost as good as driving but I'm envious of you having the resources to spare you of the agony. Although the forum is a pittance of what it was in the heyday, it does still have a ton of good help and information. Also, be tolerant of the "new" BMW parts, they are not of the same finish and quality as the originals 30 years ago. This is not only a BMW problem as my Porsche 911 is in the same boat. At least parts are available.

          Good luck and happy safe driving.

          Comment


          • TheAutoCollection
            TheAutoCollection commented
            Editing a comment
            Thank you and so happy to be back. I am not sure how my mechanic feels about that. I have literally visited him and the car twice a day for the last couple of days. LOL. I am aware of the "new" parts. My mechanic warned of the issue with the dash not matching. As mentioned, got lucky he had a spare one at his garage. Being in the car business, I am aware of such issues with most foreign brands and the new parts. It is what it is...Cant get it get to us and forget that we are doing this for the love of cars.

        • #10
          Originally posted by jwbavalon View Post
          Welcome back to the club. I'm of the old school where doing the work on your car is almost as good as driving but I'm envious of you having the resources to spare you of the agony. Although the forum is a pittance of what it was in the heyday, it does still have a ton of good help and information. Also, be tolerant of the "new" BMW parts, they are not of the same finish and quality as the originals 30 years ago. This is not only a BMW problem as my Porsche 911 is in the same boat. At least parts are available.

          Good luck and happy safe driving.
          I get the agony. I go through it every step of the way. But for me, having the skills and not utilizing them and paying someone else to do the agony is more agony for me.

          Ok so paint the car. Make sure you pull the windscreen out to paint it. I've seen so many bad paint jobs that obviously left the screen in so the clear flakes off around the windscreen mold.

          It's a shame the forum is not what it used to be, it's so much better than FB as doing research for your own build is much easier on here.

          Oh and don't hassle your mechanic too much lol. He might get the shits.

          Comment


          • #11
            Hi and welcome to the madness.
            My advise is do not to modify the original front struts they are too expensive new and getting harder to get by the day, if you want adjustable front struts (that you adjust once ?) buy a set already done and store all your original parts for a later date. Bilsteins and original springs work very well.

            Chose your experts wisely.

            For full paint job it might be best having the interior removed incase they remove the windows for paint job.

            If your carpet is not worn but is faded remove the dash and heater, remove the carpet clean and dye it black/charcoal and you are good to go. While the dash is out replace the radio chopped and butchered wiring harness and install new harness and original radio.

            If you search there is someone selling hood lining kits made from reproduced original material and there are seat kits available leather of good quality just need installing on the seats.

            Buy as many original parts new now as you can afford.









            E30 M3 1987
            Mini Clubman GT
            BMW E36 323 Msport
            Toyota Corona
            KTM 200EXC
            Honda CB50 (1979)

            Comment


            • #12
              Congrats! I knew Adam Corolla had an e30 M3, cool story that it was yours! I'm in your exact same shoes. GL w. your restoration, it's a labor of love, but should be worth it! This is my third one after taking time off... I have also run into some of the questions you have asked, some I've addressed in my own thread. Not to take away from your thread, I also started a similar thread here: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...post1068011449

              Comment


              • TheAutoCollection
                TheAutoCollection commented
                Editing a comment
                Thank you. I ran into Adam years later at Monterey Car week and was also regretful of selling the car. Now I wonder what happened to that car?? Good luck on your project as well and but I'll definitely go through yours as well.

            • #13
              Good news starting with DS/black! I recommend starting with the engine, suspension, mechanical bits before the body and interior. It will be much more rewarding to do the cosmetic properly with a huge grin on your face from the drive rather than feeling like you are dressing up a pig. You'll also keep your newly restored car pristine in this order rather than dreading shop time after your paint and interior are perfect. I also recommend sourcing all of the gaskets, seals and trim bits prior to removing glass, door handles, lights ect so you know you've got what you need to put them back in. For the sunroof and front bumper, go one piece!

              My two cents are in line with most others about 18" wheels being too big both performance-wise and aesthetically. 17"s are even pushing it in my opinion as you'll likely deal with rubbing. 16"s are the jam as they are period correct while offering enough contact patch to track with a s14.

              There are many issues with BMW's replacement carpet. It only comes in black (not grey like you have in your car), does not have any driver footwell mat protection, is a different texture than original, and the real dealbreaker is that they don't offer the rear carpet piece to match. So if you get the new $1,100 carpet, you'll have oddly mismatched carpets unless you try to dye the back piece to match an inferior 'new' carpet. I am totally perplexed by BMW even offering such a botch but hey, still OEM!? If you really want one, I've got an unused one in still the bag butI highly recommend restoring yours if possible. For headliner and pillars, why alcantara over leather or fine suede?

              Regarding SRDs, I think they are better than stock if they fit your body type (small hips, wide shoulders) but not worth the expense these days. They don't add much if any value to the cars anymore with collectors taking over the market and the stock seats are adequate for everything short of competition racing. If you'd rather change seats than restore the stock sports, you'll need to decide if you need them to tilt for rear seat access or not. If not, leather pole positions are a great option and save a bit of weight as well. Also, E30 M3 leather is bison, not nappa if you are going for period correct.

              For suspension, I am also against the coilover route unless you intent to track or this is a local weekend show car. There are of course better coilover options than GC which outperform stock suspension even for street comfort but crazy expensive and again, overkill unless your purpose is competition and the rest of your chassis is dialed in to maximize it.

              Enjoy the restoration process, whenever you get weary of spending, take it for a spin for a quick reminder of the WHY!

              Comment


              • #14
                Originally posted by fronton View Post
                Good news starting with DS/black! I recommend starting with the engine, suspension, mechanical bits before the body and interior. It will be much more rewarding to do the cosmetic properly with a huge grin on your face from the drive rather than feeling like you are dressing up a pig. You'll also keep your newly restored car pristine in this order rather than dreading shop time after your paint and interior are perfect. I also recommend sourcing all of the gaskets, seals and trim bits prior to removing glass, door handles, lights ect so you know you've got what you need to put them back in. For the sunroof and front bumper, go one piece!

                My two cents are in line with most others about 18" wheels being too big both performance-wise and aesthetically. 17"s are even pushing it in my opinion as you'll likely deal with rubbing. 16"s are the jam as they are period correct while offering enough contact patch to track with a s14.

                There are many issues with BMW's replacement carpet. It only comes in black (not grey like you have in your car), does not have any driver footwell mat protection, is a different texture than original, and the real dealbreaker is that they don't offer the rear carpet piece to match. So if you get the new $1,100 carpet, you'll have oddly mismatched carpets unless you try to dye the back piece to match an inferior 'new' carpet. I am totally perplexed by BMW even offering such a botch but hey, still OEM!? If you really want one, I've got an unused one in still the bag butI highly recommend restoring yours if possible. For headliner and pillars, why alcantara over leather or fine suede?

                Regarding SRDs, I think they are better than stock if they fit your body type (small hips, wide shoulders) but not worth the expense these days. They don't add much if any value to the cars anymore with collectors taking over the market and the stock seats are adequate for everything short of competition racing. If you'd rather change seats than restore the stock sports, you'll need to decide if you need them to tilt for rear seat access or not. If not, leather pole positions are a great option and save a bit of weight as well. Also, E30 M3 leather is bison, not nappa if you are going for period correct.

                For suspension, I am also against the coilover route unless you intent to track or this is a local weekend show car. There are of course better coilover options than GC which outperform stock suspension even for street comfort but crazy expensive and again, overkill unless your purpose is competition and the rest of your chassis is dialed in to maximize it.

                Enjoy the restoration process, whenever you get weary of spending, take it for a spin for a quick reminder of the WHY!
                This is excellent advice.

                ​​​​Re the carpet, mine has come up reasonably well with some soapy scrubbing with dish soap and lots of vacuuming, while still in the car (seats and console out). There are a couple of stains that need more attention but they are under the passenger floor mat so who cares!

                Comment


                • #15
                  UPDATE:
                  Visited my mechanic today and here are the items I need to replace on the car along with options I am deciding on:
                  • New Coolent Hosesss - Thinking of getting the Silicone kit by Mishimoto
                  • Transmission Shifter Seal - Turner Motorsports
                  • Exhaust Manifold Gasket - Turner Motorsports
                  • A/C Compression Bushings - Turner Motorsports
                  • Intake Manifold Gasket - OEM unless there is a recommendation by you guys
                  • Sway Bar Links - Suspension Technique Sway Bar Set @ Turner Motorsports
                  • Shocks & Springs - B8 Bilstein shocks and H&R Race Springs
                  Any feedback is appreciated.
                  Michael

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