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  • Writer's pictureBarney

The Workshop week

It’s been a busy week this week for the team here at Classic Heroes and we’ve got some great stories to tell you.

The week started with Barney heading off to collect the black e30 M3 Sport Evo you see in the picture above from a customer to prepare for sale. The car was imported from Italy by Barney back in July 1998 and we’ve sold it to the last four owners (one of whom was Frank Sytner). The current owner’s been its custodian since 2004 and it’s been on sabbatical sitting alongside his collection of historic racecars. (And yes, it is parked in his kitchen!)

The car will be re-commissioned, and a full programme of age related and preventative work will be carried out prior to sale so the car is ready to be enjoyed by the new owner.

Whilst Barney was enjoying a cuppa & a chat with the owner he had a chance to take a look at some of the other cars in his collection.

The white car you can see in the gallery below is an e36 320 Super Tourer that was raced in the Japanese touring car championship by Joachim Winklehock in the 1990’s. A great piece of racing history and still in her original Pierce Brosnin-era 007 ‘Goldeneye’ Livery.

We also have an E30 M3 convertible in the workshop, whose owner works in the music industry and as a result spends a lot of time away from home touring. This means that his car has been unused & off the road for about eight years. He briefed us to fully re-commission the car & carry out all the necessary preventative maintenance to ensure the cars integrity and reliability for the next 20 years.

As she’s now covered 184,000km it was time to take that legendary s14 engine apart and carry out a major freshen up. We replaced the timing chain, oil pump chain, sprockets, tensioners, guides, hydraulic tensioner, we rebuilt cylinder head with freshly lapped valve seats and new valve stem oil seals. We then re-assembled with a new head gasket, all new ancillary gaskets, O rings and oil seals.

With the engine now in fine fettle, we moved onto other age-related mechanical work replacing the diff oil seals, rear gearbox oil seals and gear lever bushes. A new clutch was fitted together with new brake & coolant hoses, the brake calipers were rebuilt, electric cooling fan replaced, worn door locks rebuilt, new mirror glass and motor fitted and numerous electrical faults rectified.

Finally we addressed any bodywork problems. The pictures below show the restored front inner wings, chassis legs and engine bay in silver primer, ready for paint. The underside of the car was cleaned back, any slight areas of corrosion were treated with, Kurust, etch primed, painted and she was sympathetically waxoyled. With the car now in perfect mechanical & structural condition, the final touch prior to collection by the happy customer was to fit four new tyres.

On the left of the shot in the workshop, you’ll see an extremely rare e30. This is a one owner, two-door Alpina B6 3.5.

Back in 1985, Alpina took a standard e30 and upgraded the wheels, suspension, exhaust, brakes & added Alpina instruments, Alpina Recaro seats with Alpina trim, gearknob and front & rear spoilers. The main uprgrade was at the heart of the car, where they shoehorned the mighty 3.5 litre m30 motor more commonly found in contemporary 5,6 & & 7 series’ into the engine bay, complete with Alpina upgrades such as forged Mahle pistons, alpina camshaft, alpina exhaust system, alpina motronic. To ensure this extra power reached the road effectively, Alpina also added a 265 Getrag close-ratio gearbox and LSD.

The owner of this particular car & his wife went all the way to the Alpina factory in Buchloe to collect the car in person, where none other than Burkard Bovensiepen (founder of Alpina) personally handed over the keys. As a special gift Burkard gave them Alpina-branded his & hers ski jackets, ski gloves, salopettes & bobble hats. These all remain in the original packaging and have never been opened. Try finding a set of those on eBay! We like how this personal touch really adds to the car’s story. Given her age & rartity, this car now sees limited use, so she was in for a check over and some cosmetic work. We treated her to an Inspection II service and noted that some of the fuel & coolant hoses were starting to perish, so these were replaced as a preventative measure.

The classic ‘love ‘em or hate ‘em’ Alpina stripes had faded, so new decals were fitted, and the 16” alloys were refurbished as they had dulled due to age. She was then ready to return to her loving owner.

The Dakar Yellow e36 M3 EVO you can see lurking in the back of the workshop is being prepared for track use. Our customer also owns an e30 M3 and feels it’s getting too historic and valuable to be used as a track-day toy, so after consultation with us it was decided that an e36 was the perfect car to convert, given that one can pick up a good base vehicle for around £6000.

The first part of the build has been to address & eliminate one big (and potentially expensive) Achilles heel of these engines – replacing the big-end shells with new bearings and upgraded Motorsport rod bolts. We also fitted new Vanos, new timing chain and tensioners and then reassembled with new gaskets, o-rings and oil seals. Now that’s done we’ll be moving onto phase two of the build. This will entail fitting a Roll-cage, 3.73 – 1 differential, competition suspension bushes, coilover adjustable suspension, AP Racing brakes all round and race seats and harnesses.

The final car in this week’s update is the silver e3 3.0si you see on the right of the picture. This could classify as a ‘unicorn’ car, such is its rarity. What you can’t see from the above shot is that it’s actually an estate!

This incredibly rare (maximum built 15) estate was an conversion offered by BMW GB back in the 1970’s and was carried out by Langley Motors of South London when it was about two years old. Apparently two or three were built by BMW AG for the Motorsport department to tow Works rally 2002’s around, but they were never officially made available to the public.

This example is concours show standard and was in with us for her annual service. The D-jet tronic fuel injection wasn’t performing quite as it should have been so we gave it a tune up. It’s now running perfectly again and the owner is looking forward to taking it to some shows this summer.

Just before we sign off – you may have noticed our new logo on appearing on invoices, our website and at our premises. It’s all part of our ongoing re-brand:

We were excited to receive an embroidered ‘proof’ of our new workshop overalls this week. Coming to the backs of the Classic Heroes’ workshop team soon!

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