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  • Barney

I’d love to carry on but I just Khan’t

Retirement can be a sad day. The daily routine, the cut and thrust of everyday life, the good days mixed with the tough ones, the deals lost and the deal won. All can be gone in the blink of an eye. It takes careful planning to ensure such a drastic change in life does not cause a slow decline. But It’s not just people that face this dilemma, it’s also true for a lot of cherished daily drivers. The story of this wonderful little M3 that through it’s life has become such an integral part of the family is just such a case in point. It stands on the cusp of a well deserved retirement from the daily grind of City life but It’s a certainly not ready for cravat wearing and endless golf club dinners!

Used as a daily driver for the last 19 years this M3 has been forced in to retirement by Sadiq Khan and his London T-charge of £10.00 a day. Coupled with the normal £11.50 tariff, the cost for carrying on the daily drive into the City would be a whopping £5,375 based on 250 working days per year.

The story starts with a road trip I took to Germany back in the summer of 1999 looking for stock. Deal quickly done, I drove car back to the UK and sold it to David and Nik with just 50,000 miles on the clock. I have looked after the car ever since and it has now covered 135,000 miles as their daily driver. If you talk to them both they will tell you that every one of those miles has been enjoyable and fun. Back and forth to the office every day regardless of weather, this loved and loveable M3 has had a busy and full working career. Add in weekend road trips, holidays, track days at the Nurburgring and various other UK circuits, she has been a faithful servant and provided more pleasure than any other car these guys have owned.

Over the last 19 years much has changed in the City and so has E30 M3 values. The last decade has seen rising values which has become a double edged sword. Myself and others who bought these cars years ago for a fraction of todays value are the privileged few. We are the people that drove them as they were supposed to be driven. To work, dropping the kids off at school plus the odd European road trip and cheeky track day thrown in to boot. We never believed M3’s would ever be as valuable as they are today. We just bought them because we loved driving them. We left them outside pubs, clubs and places that have only recently become gentrified and uber cool. We left them in airport car parks while on holiday and we drove them in the rain and even the salt. We enjoyed them fully whatever the weather.

Anyway, thanks for Mr Khan, it is time for this particular M3 to retire. Not into a collection where it will never be driven again but to a life a little easier on itself and one that is far gentler on David and Nik’s wallet. It’s high days and holidays from now on. So its time to go in to our workshop for a makeover and a little surgery.

The hit list is as follows: Engine out and full strip. Rebuild with all new tensioners, guides, timing chain, head rebuilt, new valve stem oil seals, new big ends and mains and all new gaskets, O rings and oil seals. It will then be ready for another 100,000 miles.

Next up will be some fabrication work to the n/s front inner wing under the fuse box and the corrosion so often seen on M3s to the o/s/f chassis leg next to the exhaust manifold. The entire shell will then be thoroughly cleaned and any tiny areas of surface corrosion taken back to bare metal, treated with a chemical rust neutraliser, etch primed, painted and then the whole car sympathetically treated a clear anti-corrosion wax. She is now ready for the next 19 years.

Maybe we can thank Mr Khan for keeping these cars out of London after all. I wonder if he realises he has saved an M3!

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