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  • Writer's pictureBarney

The Workshop week

E34 M5 Touring

In the photo above you’ll see a lovely example of a rare car – a 3.8, 5-speed M5. One we know very well, having sold to the current owner 14 years ago, and still as good as the day he picked it up.

In for her annual check-over, she is definitely a ‘no expense spared’ vehicle and wants for nothing, This year we performed an oil & safety service including new coolant & brake fluid as well as fitting new under bonnet sound deadening as it had started to deteriorate, one offside rear wheel bearing & front upper tie bar bushes.

And with that it was ready for the Father and son to enjoy for another year.

M3 Sport Evolution

Our customer popped his e30 (see gallery pictures below) into us for a bit of a makeover. The car’s in great condition but the slightly aged engine bay was letting the car down. Nothing more than little nicks & chips in the paint accumulated over 25 years of motoring and maintenance, but in need of attention nonetheless. We removed the S14 motor – the only way to gain proper access – painted the engine bay so it looks better than new and Waxolyed the inner front wings & chassis legs at the same time.

With the engine out we undertook some timely preventative maintenance. The legendary engines in these cars are now 25-30 years old and many suffer from minor oil leaks, so new sump, rear cam carrier & cam cover gaskets were fitted, along with the distributor, o-ring and oil seal. The inlet manifold blocks on the butterfly housings were replaced to prevent air leaks and we also swapped out all of the coolant and fuel hoses, alternator and air-con compressor bushes for new items. In short, we replaced all of the rubber components under the bonnet to eliminate any breakdown or failures. The finishing touch was to fit a set of model-specific red HT leads to complete the detailing of the engine bay.

Porsche 911 Convertible (993)

It’s the first time we’ve seen this car in the flesh, its owner lives in Hong Kong and also owns a Z4 M-Coupe that lives with us in our storage facility. The car’s spent most of its life in the south of France & as such is completely rot-free. The downside of such a temperate climate is that the red paintwork has suffered some sun damage. We’re going to undertake some paint correction in the short term, but ultimately the pigment is damaged and the car will be re-painted next year. The interior had also suffered a little from the sun so we cleaned & fed the black leather.

This workshop visit was mainly about rectifying mechanical faults & preventative maintenance. The underside was cleaned & waxoyled, and then we repaired the failed convertible hood, replacing a couple of motors & gearboxes and the micro-switch as it was sending erroneous ‘roof open’ messages to the dashboard. That done, we cleaned & re-waterproofed the roof (something many owners overlook) and moved onto the mechanical work. We undertook a major service, replaced the leaking rocker & cam cover gaskets, the front shock top mounts and also renewed the engine belts Finally, we turned our attention to the details; namely new front indicator lenses as the originals had faded & to pop an original, period Becker radio into the dash. A new set of tyres later & she’s all good to go. Next week her owner will come to inspect the work & take his Z4 M-roadster away for a trip around Europe.

BMW e24 M635i (M6)

We sold this car about three months ago and it was back for some new boots. The car was still wearing the original – and dreaded – metric Michelin TRX wheels & tyres, the Betamax of the motoring world (!). The customer wanted a long-term solution to this issue, so we sourced & fitted the lovely 17” BBS split-rim wheels & Continental Sport Contact 3’s you can see in the picture below. Putting these cars onto more conventional rims & modern rubber offers a number of advantages: - Vastly improved wet weather performance - Road noise is significantly reduced - Tramlining disappears and general handling improves. - The tyres are £105 a corner as opposed to £350 a corner for the originals - You can actually get tyres. TRX’s have been on back-order for a year. In the interests of maintaining originality the owner is (of course) keeping the original wheels & tyres neatly stacked up the garage, next to the car.

BMW 840i (e31)

The 8-series (1989-99) is a very good buy at the moment. We’re getting customers turning up in 840’s & 850’s that have cost them anything from £2-£6k, wanting us to inspect and report upon them. The reason we’ve featured this car is to reiterate a point Barney made a few weeks ago – always buy the best. These grand tourers were supercar money when knew, and if they’ve had an uncaring owner or two (or one without deep enough pockets to keep up on the maintenance) they can prove costly.

There’s often rust in the sills & rear arches and the sunroof. The air-conditioning is always inoperative. Electric seats don’t move as they should. Pixels fail out on the various displays. And then we come onto potential mechanical maladies – leaking cam covers, worn-out brake discs, rear suspension swivels & joints, front bushes & balljoints, track-rods – the list goes on and on.

Sadly, this car wasn’t in great condition and needed the purchase price spent on it to bring it up to standard, which would have still left the customer with a high-mileage car with patchy history. So, following a chat with us the owner has taken this example away and has asked us to source a good quality 840 for him instead. If anyone reading this knows of one, do give us a call!

BMW 3.0 csi

This ruby red car has been off the road for about 15 years for no other reason than the owner’s lack of time, so we’ve undertaken a full mechanical recommissioning She’d been subject to a bodywork restoration and simply never made it back onto the road again. The car had a replacement engine about 20 years ago & this was still in fine fettle as were other major mechanicals such as the diff & gearbox. However, the perishable parts hadn’t fared so well. We replaced every fuel & coolant hose and suspension bush, cleaned the fuel injectors, replaced the water pump & viscous fan coupling, rebuilt all brake calipers, fitted new balljoints and four new tyres. After a thorough service and a new MOT the owner’s got a very usable car for summer adventures.

BMW 740i

The Oriental blue ‘seven’ you can see below belongs to a man who’s driven nothing but the products of the Bayerische Motoren Werke for the last 40 years. Yet, he’s been stuck on this since he bought it when it was barely three years old. Despite trying various bits of newer metal on for size, nothing has compared to his beloved e38. His instruction to us was to refresh the car fully to keep it going for the next decade.

The work was split in to two parts – cosmetic and mechanical. For purely preservative reasons we waxoyled the underside to ensure that it never does rust, gave her a full service, replaced sump and cam cover gaskets and fitted a coolant level sensor. We also put in a new windscreen and clipped on a new undertray.

With the mechanical work done, we turned our attention to the cosmetic details.

The car needed a little paintwork, the leather’s been cleaned, treated & fed and we replaced the driver’s door card as it had been the victim of an aggressive mechanic in the past. We fitted new headlight ‘glass’ as the Perspex covers had yellowed with age, refurbished the 18” parallel spoke wheels, popped new M-badges on them and finally fitted new side mouldings & bumper pads as they’ve received the odd scrape over the years.

All of the above work was age & mileage-related. Our aim was to put a smile on our customer’s face by thoroughly refreshing his car so when we hand him back his keys he feels like it’s 1995 again and he’s picking up his new 740.

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