22 December 2012

Luger Top Trumps Card

I made this a little while ago for the Retro Rides forum; enjoy.

21 May 2011

E21 PPC Photoshoot

Been a while since I've updated this, what with the blogs and everything else. Have loads to post, but for now will put up some piccies from the PPC magazine E21 photoshoot of my car. Must say it looked a little disheveled compared to some of the quality E21s owned by my friends, but then it is a 133,000 mile beater.

All hail The Forgotten BMW, we doff our caps- er, bonnets to you!

It wasn't all good news for me though; the Fondmetal/Toyo combo I'd fitted just the previous night pulled one of my front arches out slightly, which is the cars way of telling me I'll need to pull out a pair of my NOS front dampers as the current ones have become too bouncy through age. That, and when I jacked up the rear to put the wheels on, I noticed the halfshaft boots look like they can be carbon-dated to the birth of Christ. Time to rebuild another set from the bunker...

23 October 2010


An update about the sump spill; last Saturday I refilled the now-empty engine with fresh oil so that I could drive it a ¼ mile (not the Santa Pod kind) down the road to my local garage so that they could fit the sump I reluctantly bought and refurbished from Fritzl’s bits. Irony was I could have got a cheaper one if I’d waited but hindsight and all that, but at least I’m reminded why I don’t buy anything off them…
Anyway, I started the car and heard a sound like the bottom end was knock-knock-knocking on heaven’s door.


The engine must have been starved of oil long enough to knock out a big-end bearing.


Drove it down there and left it with them, as I needed to get the new sump back from my workshop. I resigned myself to the fact I would have to pull my spare B23 lump out and build up a short engine.
This is where it gets a bit weird. Picked up the car on Monday (not worth shelling out bucks to fit a sump to a knackered engine, right?) refilled the engine with the oil that had dripped right through to the drip tray, started the engine and –
No knock. At all. Took the car for a short drive (floored it to 4000rpm, took off at a low speed in a high gear), no sign of the knock. I have a theory that the oil pump had some kind of airlock (as the oil light was on en route to the garage on the Saturday) or a piece of debris blocked the pickup so possibly the gears in the pump were running without oil, hence the clattering sound. I’m ordering a new pump along with a set of big-end bearings for piece of mind. And I’m gonna build up the spare engine anyway, I need to brush up my engine building skills in preparation for the day I get down to building my dream 3.0 M20 engine…

11 October 2010

Exhaust, Wheels...and Wood

Time for an update:
Lots of little jobs to do on The Bride, a few of them getting ticked off. The exhaust downpipes had started to rattling like a bitch, so thought it would be a simple job to tighten the bracket that comes off the gearbox. Only I'd completely forgotten it didn't have one. Well, doh. Luckily I found one on The Bay Of E for a cheap price, some etch primer, Hammerite and new nuts & bolts later:

And fitted. Well not the gearbox bracket, I couldn't get it past the crossmember bush. Job done. Now I've got to fix the blow I can hear now the rattle's gone.

Right now the car's my daily driver until I finish my Rover. Including hauling wood around to make a flower bed. Good for traction, would have been a bitch for anyone rear-ending me. Hopefully it will be in hibernation before the Winter sets in.

Recognise these wheels? They're a set of  Fondmetal cross-spokes bought from a friend  (hey, my wheels have been featured in Retro Cars and PPC!)  with a good set of Toyo Proxes, I'll put them on when the spring comes, still deliberating over whether to paint the centres gold.

It isn't all roses, alas: the chemical weld repair I did to the sump I while back decided to fall out right outside my garage after driving back from my workshop on Sunday, delightfully depositing the contents of the sump on the floor. If I can't get a steel one from someone, I'll have to faff taking it off my spare M20B23 lump and even then it's gonna be a ballache changing it over.

More progress on the Luger too: Bought a set of Willwood brake calipers from another friends Alpina E21 and have been cleaning/painting polishing various brackets as well as getting stuck into the wiring loom for the new engine. Little steps, but getting there.

3 October 2010

Rainy Night In Georgia?* No, rainy nite in an E21…

Seeing as my daily driver Rover is off the road due to a) the work I need to do to it and b) the lack of time to do it,   I've been using the Bride Of Luger as the daily car. Nothing wrong in that, but as the weather draws in I’d rather use it sparingly. On Saturday night, I was finishing up at my workshop and was picking up a few friends as we were going out (I drew the designated driver gig), and had to drive in rain.
How much? Er, all of it I think….

You’d think a car designed in the 1970’s would suck in a storm, but the heating and demisting was so well designed it was never an issue. Had a chat with one of the doorman at the club as he saw my car when I came in, turned out he’s had various Bimmers from an E23 to his current late-model E39 540i.
Much later in the night, going home on the A40 to London through driving rain, I saw 4 cars broken down at various points, in areas of standing water on the road. Next time you’ll know better than to go full-pelt through a puddle, eh chaps?
The fifth car I saw broken down was a whole different story. This:

A BMW 3.0 CSA. Now there’s no way I couldn't not stop for a member of the BMW ‘brotherhood’. It turns out the guy; John I think his name was, I was a bit slack-jawed at seeing the car so wasn't paying full attention. He'd had just bought the car and was driving it back from the Isle Of Man (!) when his battery went flat; he’d been waiting for ages and was looking at waiting even longer as the AA for some unknown reason were suddenly inundated with calls.... He’d diagnosed a slack alternator belt, but rather than faff around in the rain, he’d whipped out his spare battery from the boot and put that in. he didn't really need my help but I'm glad he got it sorted. He's also a member of the BMWCC and is going to their Silverstone track day with a few other CS-owing chums. Good luck with that, John.
David Ruffin, Randy Crawford (hell even George Benson), you ain't got nuttin’ on last Saturday night…

*For the Uninitiated "Rainy Night in Georgia" is a song written by Tony Joe White in 1962 and popularized by R&B vocalist Brook Benton in 1970, although I personally like the Randy Crawford and David Ruffin versions. 

28 June 2010

Drive It Day. So I Did

Was on the Drive It day , which was awesome:

It was great seeing my friend Gary's car in the 'flesh' yesterday, it was like seeing a ghost of the Henna red car! I'm thinking of pulling my set of BBS RAs off the shelf to put on the BOL and to help me decide, a mate of mine let me try one of his 5-stud ones off a 911:

I'm undecided at the mo whether to put mine on, as I want to get them refurbished with gold centres but wanna use the dough to get my Hatrtge Classics done for the Luger. Hmmm..... :?

1 June 2010

A Compact, A Breakdown And A Hillclimb

Racked up close to 300 miles from Friday in the new E21, was helping my mate with his engine swap (no pics at his request) in his E36 'M3' Compact, so had to drive up to Wickham. I've not done that much mileage in it and as I've just serviced it, so thought I'd rack up the miles for a while in it.
It repays me by conking out. In the middle lane of Euston Road, opposite Euston station. Grrreat, picked your spot well... I push it into a nearby street and go through the usual drill under bonnet to try & locate the problem; conclude that I can't get it started with the tools I have and go into the reception of the University College London building I've parked outside to get pen & paper to make up a sign to keep the warden at bay. The bloke at the desk goes:
- "That's an E21 isn't it?" (he can see it from his desk on CCTV)
- "Er, yeah."
- "I used to have one of those."
Turns out he's a BMW nut and has owned several, including an E30 M3 and an E24 635csi. After chatting for about half an hour, I go back outside and have one more look under the bonnet before the breakdown lorry comes. For all of the cranking over, there's no smell of fuel. Notice the fuse for the fuel pump isn't sitting in it's holder properly.
Saturday: We went to Enfield Pageant to get various bits & bobs for his car; somehow subconsciously I've manage to find the only other E21 at he whole show, an X-reg Kasmir Gold 323i. Bloody wish my camera phone battery hadn't conked out.
Sunday: Crystal Palace Hillclimb.

Check out my other post on this and this excellent Flickr album (not mine):

19 May 2010

The Bride Gets Serviced. Oo-er.

Thought I should post an update, as I've been juggling three car projects. The new car (The Bride Of Luger) has had something near a re-commissioning (well the car's only done 2000 miles since 2003) as I wanted to tackle a litany of niggling faults, so that she'll be completely reliable as a daily driver. That way I can take the Rover off the road to do the VVC swap.
A re-commissioning you say? Well how about:
New plugs, timing belt, tensioner, water pump, oil, oil filter, air filter, PAS belt, alternator belt, ballast resistor for the Bosch radiator fan, new injectors from my parts pile (a mate of mine used to work for Bosch so got stuff at cost - we filled our boots...
Rebuilding a warm-up regulator for the K-Jet as the idle speed is erratic.
Stripping and repainting the pulleys, various brackets and crank balancer, as they were all rusty.

Degreasing the whole engine bay - 28 years worth of caked-on grease get tedious after a while.

Peek-a-boo, I see you...
Repairing a crack in the sump that meant evvvvvvery last drop of oil had to be drained before I could make with the chemical weld. And various little wiring bodges that had to be ironed out. Did anyone that owned this car previously ever hear of solder?
That said, I found out it's had new wheel hub bearings and exchange  front brake calipers, so the car's had new bits on it recently.
Now it's getting somewhere near my standard.
Did get a chance to put an E36 325i battery cable in the green car (The Luger) and the loom for the B25 is nearly done. Next task is to mount the ECU under the driver's side dash area. Well, I wanna put gloves in me glovebox, innit?

6 April 2010

Enter The Bride...

This car was the subject of much discussion on a thread on Jeroen's E21 forum; basically everyone thought the car was dodgy as the price started out at £2500, then was chipped down over the course of a week or so to £1700. So that, coupled  with some of the odd answers the seller was giving to people
Well, I had a hunch it was a decent car despite all of the bullshittery given off by the seller, so I drove down to Worthing. Story goes the guy is an Alfasud nut (he has a tii with a 1.7 lump I'd love to own), he bought the E21 on a whim, unfortunately didn't like it and needed funds fast to buy another 'Sud, hence the rapid slashing of the price. After two-and-a-bit hours of poking, prodding and looking for the usual E21 issues, I bought it. In fairness to the guy, he made all of the classic mistakes when listing it which contrived to make the car more moody looking than a Moody Blues reunion tour.

Problems? theres - well not much actually. It's done just over 128,000 miles so a few things are a little 'baggy', but it has a sheaf of BMW dealer receipts and nearly all of the MOTs, including head gasket work and new discs about ten years ago. The cars only done about 2000 miles in the last 7 years, so a bit of fettling is required, y'know, servcing, timing belt etc. This car will be kept completely standard as the Luger will be the 'mad' car when it's finished and I did primarily buy this to get my E21 'fix' in the meantime.

Leather interior (with Recaros) and genuine Alpina steering wheel & gear knob, bought in the late 90's according to the dealer receipt. Niiiice.

What look like MKII Astra GTE Recaro seats re-covered in tan leather, with the rear bench done to match.

Now it all goes a bit shonky...
An Alpina fusebox - for those high-performance B8, B10 and B16 amp fuses!

An Alpina ashtray - no doubt to stub out your Alpina cigarettes, of course lit by an Alpina lighter. Mind you, when I cleaned out the ashtrays I found half a zoot. Y'know, a joint, spliff, wacky baccy etc. Wondered why the car smelt a bit funky. And why I couldn't stop smiling afterwards. I wonder what are the hazards of secondary ganja inhalation?
The joys of Morroccan Old Holborn.

Now we're just getting silly.

Schnitzer on one side:

And Alpina on the other. It's a good job cars don't have identity crises.

Then there's the audio install, I reckon it dates back to the early 90's. Old-school or what? (and not all in a good way either). Note the subtle use of household flex for the power cable, and the small colony of scotchlocks round the back of the centre console; 27 at last count! And the non-working rev counter. And a decent Bosch radiator fan (from an E23 7er) that stays on when you put the fuse in. Needless to say it's all getting re-done. Along with a couple of the MOTs being done in Streatham (and the other 'stuff'...), I've got this image of Denzil from Only Fools & Horses cruising round in it back in the day, with Bob Marley & The Wailer's finest blaring out.

And yes your eyes don't deceive you, that is a carpeted boot. Proper job too, with the backing and vinyl edging. This car must have been garaged most of it's life, as the boot and boot lip are rust-free behind the panels.

It's gonna be fun.