CSL 1mm Holy Aluminium Number Plate Restoration

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Dear all,

I am switching from Australian "Euro style" super long number plates to the much shorter Historic Club Plates. As a consequence, my number plate panels' many holes will be revealed.

I have spoken to several Sydney based restorers and jewellers without joy and I am now chasing down someone with a small aluminium welder in Windor which is a serious drive from Sydney.

If anyone has experience restoring this part, and if anyone knows of anyone in Sydney (or a global proven expert I could post it to) then I would be most grateful.

Many thanks

David

Holy number plate panel.jpg
 

Markos

Less Work More BMW
Staff member
Site Donor $$
Messages
8,611
Reaction score
2,413
Location
Seattle, WA
Hi David,

If I were you I wouldn't waste your time and money restoring it. The corrugated areas are going to be a major time suck. There are plenty of these on the market. Supply is high and demand is low. The aluminum ones are the "not-rare" version also. Figure $200 for a very nice one, and $55 to ship from LA to Australia. You aren't going to get that welded up and polished for $250. Post a WTB add for a nice one.
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Thanks, Markos

I did buy one from Ben at CSi in my early days and he sent an aluminum one that appeared the same from a photo was quite different. It was much thicker perhaps 3 mm and seemed more alloy in composition so well less shiny. Perhaps that put me off. Are referring to that type, not the 1mm pure aluminum one I have pictured, or are you confident that the 1mm aluminum one without holes is available - because as you say that will be much cheaper!
 

Markos

Less Work More BMW
Staff member
Site Donor $$
Messages
8,611
Reaction score
2,413
Location
Seattle, WA
They came in chrome and aluminum. There is no CSL-specific part number. The aluminum panel came on thousands of cars and was available up until a few years ago.
 

Ohmess

I wanna DRIVE!
Site Donor
Messages
2,658
Reaction score
537
Location
Vienna, VA
I will have one available at some point. Friend of mine is having a spare chromed to match the new chrome on his tail light housings. I am buying the one off his car after he gets this done. Mine will then be available, but not sure of the timing.
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Great to hear.
As above I had purchased a supposed light weight version from the states which wasn’t chromed but was matt relative to my pure aluminum version and was considerably thicker. Is yours only 1mm thick too - which appears to be the type installed on my second generation CSL City Pack car?
 

eriknetherlands

Active Member
Site Donor
Messages
667
Reaction score
246
Location
Netherlands, Eindhoven area
I think in the early years the panel was a chromed cast zinc alloy. I have non at hand, but the 3mm thickness is what I recall as well. It was applied on all e9 models regardless of engine size or cs or csl.

I guess for cost reduction reasons BMW switched to a stamped, polished and anodized aluminium sheet version, much cheaper to make.

I am not sure of the switch moment, but also the side grilles on the front wings (fenders) switched from metal to plastic during the E9 lifespan.
My may 73 3.0 csa has a aluminium plate, though the car may have started out its life with a different version.
Erik.
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Many thanks. However, I have a question which makes me reticent to switch to alloy:

I guess for cost reduction reasons BMW switched to a stamped, polished and anodized aluminum sheet version, much cheaper to make.

When they made the e46 they looked at many components to see if they could remake a lighter version. I am therefore concerned that the switch to aluminum was not just for cost, but a genuine attempt to make the car lighter. While ironically CLS have thick glass, and even air conditioning (e9 and e46) I worry that the aluminum plate is a feature of many CSLS or at least the City Pack cars and I am reducing its originality by switching.

Anyone with any authoritative data no this?

Kind regards,

David





I think in the early years the panel was a chromed cast zinc alloy. I have non at hand, but the 3mm thickness is what I recall as well. It was applied on all e9 models regardless of engine size or cs or csl.

I guess for cost reduction reasons BMW switched to a stamped, polished and anodized aluminium sheet version, much cheaper to make.

I am not sure of the switch moment, but also the side grilles on the front wings (fenders) switched from metal to plastic during the E9 lifespan.
My may 73 3.0 csa has a aluminium plate, though the car may have started out its life with a different version.
Erik.
hanks!
 

Markos

Less Work More BMW
Staff member
Site Donor $$
Messages
8,611
Reaction score
2,413
Location
Seattle, WA
Many thanks. However, I have a question which makes me reticent to switch to alloy:

I guess for cost reduction reasons BMW switched to a stamped, polished and anodized aluminum sheet version, much cheaper to make.

When they made the e46 they looked at many components to see if they could remake a lighter version. I am therefore concerned that the switch to aluminum was not just for cost, but a genuine attempt to make the car lighter. While ironically CLS have thick glass, and even air conditioning (e9 and e46) I worry that the aluminum plate is a feature of many CSLS or at least the City Pack cars and I am reducing its originality by switching.

Anyone with any authoritative data no this?

Kind regards,

David






hanks!
Hi David,

A while back I measured the weight difference between a chrome version and an aluminum version at about 400 grams - under a lb.

The tail panel part numbers appear to carry across all of the CS/CSI models, and the carb CSL. The injected CSL has no crossover indication, but no part number listed, and no annotations. Perhaps your theory about a CSL specific panel is correct. I just don’t see it being more than 50 grams lighter.

BTW - CSL’s did have thinner/lighter glass.


The chromed brass came on the early cars. @HB Chris knows the cutoff date. The chrome ones came with a fog cutout as well.

My chromed brass full weighs 627 grams
My chromed brass cutout weighs 641 grams (go figure)
The aluminum cutout weighs 244 grams

Aluminum, Chrome, Chrome:
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Many thanks, Markos - an easy switch to make if cheaper to produce and 400 grams lighter and the tooling is straight forward.

Anyone with an unmolested City Pack CSL who can tell us if they have aluminum or chrome plated alloy?

If more than a few have chrome I will be happy to follow and save some money! Otherwise, if anyone has an aluminum frame without holes (or only holes in the very near centre - pthen lease let me know!)

Thanks all!
 

burky

Member
Messages
95
Reaction score
3
Location
Sydney
Hullo David
I have a low K unmolested City Pack CSL , which has a thin alloy frame, I also had two 74 CS cars with the same thin alloy frame.
If you went the route of welding your frame another issue that would come up is that the colour of weld would be different to that of the frame, not a problem if you chrome plate but when anodized it is.
Good Luck.
Mark.
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
Thank you Burky,

One vote in for chrome! - Anyone else with a City Pack CSL?

Bill Rama in Melbourne has a city Pack and his is Aluminium - if I heard him correctly, he says the CS coupes and very early CSLs had the chromed alloy (which confirms the above)
 

Markos

Less Work More BMW
Staff member
Site Donor $$
Messages
8,611
Reaction score
2,413
Location
Seattle, WA
Thank you Burky,

One vote in for chrome! - Anyone else with a City Pack CSL?

Bill Rama in Melbourne has a city Pack and his is Aluminium - if I heard him correctly, he says the CS coupes and very early CSLs had the chromed alloy (which confirms the above)
I think @burky is telling you that all three on his cars were aluminum. BMW specifies when the chrome version ended. It is by VIN though, not by date. I’ll post the numbers later.

Also, this topic has been discussed on the site quite a bit already. I’ll rehash old topics all day long but you may gather more info if you hunt for it.
 

Mal CSL 3.0

Active Member
Messages
365
Reaction score
97
Location
Sydney
Mine is the light weight aluminium.

(It was also pristine until my last visit to a repairer/body shop when it came back dented, hence the decal)

D0C774C7-19B6-47CB-9C40-4C9A1FDDC61C.jpeg
 

Atavistic

Active Member
Site Donor $
Messages
165
Reaction score
46
Location
Sydney, Australia
I think @burky is telling you that all three on his cars were aluminum. BMW specifies when the chrome version ended. It is by VIN though, not by date. I’ll post the numbers later.

Also, this topic has been discussed on the site quite a bit already. I’ll rehash old topics all day long but you may gather more info if you hunt for it.
Markos

You are right - thank you - I had searched under number plate not licence plate!

Here is the link so all information is connected - no change over vin numbers though and it does appear the change may have been across all models so more for BMW cost control than weight savings for the lightweight model.

https://e9coupe.com/forum/threads/trim-between-taillights-chrome-or-aluminum.29769/page-2
 

Markos

Less Work More BMW
Staff member
Site Donor $$
Messages
8,611
Reaction score
2,413
Location
Seattle, WA
Top