1980 M535i

Pictures and info
February/March 2004

   I have pictures now of some more body parts for the car and other things I've acquired, as well as some pictures of bad news: rust. After putting in the rear headrests a few months ago, I had to remove the rear plastic wheel well/shock tower covers in the trunk to get to the head rest mounts. When I had them off, I saw some troubling signs of rust. In the third weekend of February, the weather was quite nice and I felt like tinkering. I reinstalled the Hirschmann antenna I fixed in the trunk and decided to literally poke at the rust a bit more. I used the screwdriver trick, i.e., a screwdriver shouldn't be able to go through nice solid metal when prodded. What I found was pretty awful. There are (now that I know what to look for) obvious signs of a failed rust repair in the shock tower/ wheel well area of the car but the repair didn't entail fixing the rust. Someone appears to have used spray foam over the rust and painted it white, but in other places it looks like they maybe tried to use some kind of metal substance to cover it up? In any event, the rust just kept on eating away underneath. The car is structurally o.k. and I plan to drive it for another summer or two, but after that I will strip it down and begin a full restoration process (wallet permitting). The good news is that I have already found out that the rear shock tower/wheel well pieces are still available as original primer stampings from BMW in Germany. They are not cheap, but not outrageous either. I hope to procure these in the next few months and set them aside for the day when the car is completely finished at a body shop. I plan to strip the car myself, and then take the rolling chassis to a shop and have it gone through completely. The rust in the rear shock towers can be completely cut out, along with the towers themselves, and the new panels will be able to be welded in and painted. No need to custom fab any metal back there (hopefully). I really do hope I don't find any other surprises.

   Other news is that I have pictures here of the new hood I bought a few months back from Ben Thongsai in Chicago. I had paid for it but had no way to bring it to my house. Finally on the first of March I arranged for transport as I had the day off and brought it home. There is one small blemish/dent but hopefully it can be repaired. It is an original BMW replacement part in BMW primer. Now I will have new doors, a new hood, the new front M535i airdam, and hopefully in a few weeks, the new/used rear E12 M535i spoiler will arrive. I sold the BBS spoiler I was saving so I could get the M535i spoiler.

   Finally, even though I've had them since last summer, here are some pictures of the stripes I bought from Germany for the car. The original Motorsport stripe kit! The other picture is of a cool model I received for Christmas of, what else, a white E12 M535i with Motorsport stripes applied! It is on the shelf in our den proudly displayed. Now I need to have the real thing sitting in the garage.

Rust in rear shock towers/wheel wells

Rust in rear shock towers/wheel wells

Rust in rear shock towers/wheel wells

Rust in rear shock towers/wheel wells

New hood

New hood blemish

New hood reverse side

New hood in my garage rafters, storage

BMW Motorsport stripe kit

BMW Motorsport stripe kit

BMW Motorsport stripe kit

E12 M535i model

Jan - ongoing: 2004

   My latest obsession has been the assembly of a records book with all of my receipts, pictures of the car's progress, and other odds and ends. I had just kept receipts in a folder, but after seeing the excellent binder that Mitch Brookhyser (a fellow E12 fan who owns a rare Alpina E12 B7 Turbo) has, I had to get my info a bit more organized and into a better viewing format.

The images to the right show the progress I have achieved so far, including the prized EPA/DOT paperwork that I was able to get for the car. Also the maintenance receipts from the previous owner's mechanic were great to get, but left me with even more questions and concerns about the car's history.

I will soon be adding to this file the car's birth certificate from BMW Mobile Tradition in Munich.

Cover photo and writeup

Photos from previous owner and service receipt

Carfax history shows lots of emissions failures

Carfax history again and trip home to Chicago photos

Progress photos of car

More progress photos

EPA paperwork for the car

DOT paperwork, showing Nov '85 import date

Misc receipts from my Maximillion parts purchases

April 2004

   Here are some pictures shortly after the car emerged for Spring. This is the day after the oil pump was replaced (and new con rod bearings as they were shot) and of course pan gasket, oil change. The work was performed by Ben Thongsai in Chicago.

I also acquired the birth certificate for my car from BMW Mobile Traditions in Munich. It lists the original dealer the car was sold to, the options the car came with, and the build date and color. It is a very cool piece of literature to add to my collection. Along with this I received the original E12 M535i rear spoiler which I sold the BBS spoiler I used to have to acquire. It was a huge cost savings over what a new one would cost and this one is in good shape. It isn't pictured because it's wrapped in bubble wrap in my basement.

Finally, I also ordered the replacement Recaro seat webbing bands (courtesy of Aardvark Racing that specializes in E12-era BMW parts) that go underneath the seat cushions as mine were in a sorry state. The fabric was decayed and stretched, and the seats had become uncomfortable as you were sinking into the seat. The kit was only $30 but the labor took me about four hours to complete. I am not an upholsterer, but I think I did a good job. The seats are now much more firm, sit up higher (but the bolsters still hug you) and they don't have the nasty fabric straps underneath them that needed to be ripped out. I did this on the driver's and passenger seat, but the underside of the passenger seat is pictured.

New wheels in the sun

New wheels in the sun

New CCA sticker on rear window

BMW Mobile Traditions birth certificate

Recaro seat repair, new straps

Closeup of new straps, with anchor pins

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