Sierrabeige 1977 3.0Si Restoration in the UK

E3-3.0Si

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Really nice to see the clean body. It shows the true bones of your car, and gives you a clean sheet to start from. Serious job & no secrets left!

Agree on the finances. In the end it is a hobby, and as i always say: Hobbies are meant to be non-sensible, irrational at times. Otherwise it would resemble work.
For me surely, and probably many others, the work setting has a environment where everything has to be efficient, economical.

When I come home I usually have this childish urge to make some nice irrational decisions.... Perhaps I'm mixing it with emotion, not sure.
Yes I think that returning to bare metal is 100% the best way to fully assess and analyse what you’re working with. There’s nothing to hide then.

I totally agree on your hobby/work balance thoughts. You’ve got to have some irrational fun in life!
 

E3-3.0Si

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Paint technology has come a long way in 50 years. The E3 should be good for another 100 when you finish...
That’s the idea, yes! In addition to that, I intend to use high quality rust proofing and protection materials too.

As I said before, I’m very much a ‘do it once and do it right’ kind of guy.
 

Candia4441

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So after 10 years of ownership (and about 10k very happy miles) I have finally decided to commit to the full restoration that my E3 has really needed. When I bought it, I was immediately struck by the fact that it was in mechanically excellent condition, and that the bodyshell was pretty straight. The downside was that pretty much every panel had filler in it - a lot of filler, and that at some time in the car's past it had received some very poor quality welding. This isn't necessarily surprising; here in the UK, E3s spent so long being worth virtually nothing that most people didn't want to spend much money maintaining them. Our miserably damp and wet climate didn't help much either. On the plus side, the car is very, very original and I have some great history on it. Very fortunately, the father and son team who owned the car from 1980 to 1998 looked after it incredibly well; I'm convinced that their care guaranteed the car's survival.

First thing I did was to consider what I wanted from the finished car. I'm very much a 'do it right, do it once' kind of guy so I wanted to be as thorough as possible in terms of the depth of the scope of the restoration. Secondly, I spent a long time researching restoration companies, and I selected a particular specialist with an excellent track record of very high quality restorations of classic BMWs. The third thing to consider was how I'm going to use the car when it's finished. I love driving it and using it as BMW intended, so I won't be shy about putting some miles on it. To that end, I have considered a few modifications for the car. My philosophy on this is to keep it to OEM parts and keep it as factory looking as standard. I've already got a 5 speed overdrive gearbox fitted, and have now found an M90 engine from an E12 M535i to rebuild and fit. I wanted an M90 as it looks identical to my Si's M30B30 (as my car is a late model, it's fitted with L Jetronic) so that it won't look out of place, and of course there will be a nice increase in power and torque. I discovered through discussion with the son of the car's long term owner that it received a factory remanufactured engine in the late 80' (more detail here: https://e9coupe.com/forum/threads/m90-engine-build-options.35958/#post-304312) so I'm not hugely concerned about the originality point here; the car has long since lost it's original engine. I was delighted when I received this photo; it's the main dealer workshop where he worked in the late 1980s, showing the guys fitting the factory reman engine:

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He also send me some lovely photos from when the family first purchased the car in 1980:

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So, fast forward a few years until I bought it in 2012. I used it a lot. I travelled to France, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and Holland in the car, as well as driving down to Munich in 2016 in it for the 100th anniversary of BMW celebration weekend. I loved carrying out such trips in the car; absolutely what E3s are made for. More recently, I attended a fantastic weekend with the German E3 Club in Xanten, Germany in 2019 and to my surprise there was another Sierrabeige E3 at the event. This is a very rare colour on E3s, as it was only introduced in 1976. So this was an unusual sight:

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Not long after I bought the car, I started collecting the parts that I thought that I'd need for the restoration that I knew would be forthcoming. One recent jackpot was finding 3 NOS genuine BMW doors, and one very good used one to compete the set, as well as new suspension parts. I've decided on Bilstein dampers all round, and E12 M535i anti roll bars (front and rear) and front coil springs, and stiffer 3.3Li rear springs:

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I must admit that I couldn't believe my luck when I found an excellent second hand bonnet that was being used by an art teacher to instruct her students on how to use different types of paint on different surfaces. Whilst it was covered in many layers of paint, it was in fantastic condition and was an absolute bargain.

So, the strip-down began. I started this work off at home, with the idea that the car would go to the bodyshop for the more involved work. Whilst it actually looks pretty good in these photos, appearances can be deceptive....

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You can see here why I was so pleased to find a really good used bonnet:

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And then the day came for the car to go to the bodyshop. More to follow!View attachment 134619
Hello, thanks for sharing your story with your beloved car all I want to know how did you learn to do all of this right now I am trying to restore my E9 door there is to many parts Involve I don't even know where to start and I own a construction business I am not a office worker not to know technical things what is your business that you have ability to do big project like that.
 

E3-3.0Si

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Hello, thanks for sharing your story with your beloved car all I want to know how did you learn to do all of this right now I am trying to restore my E9 door there is to many parts Involve I don't even know where to start and I own a construction business I am not a office worker not to know technical things what is your business that you have ability to do big project like that.
I’m glad that you’re enjoying the story so far, and I will update it soon with more progress. I’ve learned everything I know about cars by reading and by trying things myself. I’m not a trained mechanic or anything. I have a normal office job.

As I said earlier in the thread, the work is being done by a professional classic BMW restoration specialist.
 

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We don't need no stinking banker! I am with you E3-3.0Si. It's a hobby and a work of love. I have seen boats costing way more that just sit in the water.(and still keep costing) Also keeps me out of other mischief.
STATUS: Getting it down to mechanicals. Virtually no rust so far, but anything rubber ,plastic or cloth is dust. Put in order at MM for 3700 Rally M30 Engine,Ultimate 262 4 speed and Side Loader 3.15 Limited Slip. Says it will be bad ass.
Still undecided on wheels and tires. probably stay with 14's. Likely changing color to Agave with tan leather.
 

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E3-3.0Si

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We don't need no stinking banker! I am with you E3-3.0Si. It's a hobby and a work of love. I have seen boats costing way more that just sit in the water.(and still keep costing) Also keeps me out of other mischief.
STATUS: Getting it down to mechanicals. Virtually no rust so far, but anything rubber ,plastic or cloth is dust. Put in order at MM for 3700 Rally M30 Engine,Ultimate 262 4 speed and Side Loader 3.15 Limited Slip. Says it will be bad ass.
Still undecided on wheels and tires. probably stay with 14's. Likely changing color to Agave with tan leather.
I'm totally with you - it's all about love and passion! Your looks great by the way. Agave/tan will be a great combination!
 

E3-3.0Si

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So, once the shell had been fully blasted we were able to fully examine the extent of corrosion as well as badly executed previous repairs. As you can see, the tops of the inner wings had suffered quite badly, but the inner wings themselves were actually pretty good
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E3-3.0Si

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As with the kick panels in the front footwells, some Pioneer speakers had been fitted on the rear parcel shelf. Whilst these would have been the height of style and sophistication in the 1980s, they look really out of place now so they will not be re-fitted. The rear parcel shelf had been cut roughly in order to fit them, so this is another repair that will need to be made:

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E3-3.0Si

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As I previously mentioned, I am very lucky that my car's long term owner and his son took many, many photos of the car during their 18 year tenure of ownership. This has been SO helpful in terms of identifying original features etc. These two photos from the mid 1990s are really helpful however; they are currently acting as my reference point for how I want the finished car to look. Note the 7x15 Alpina replica wheels. I still have these, as well as some 7x14 Alpinas with 205/70 Michelin XWX tyres, as well as a couple of sets of Mahle wheels. I need to decide on wheel choice but there are plenty of other more pressing matters to deal with first!

I love the look of the car here:

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E3-3.0Si

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WOW, those old photos are beautiful. A shame the rot settled in. But if its metal, it can be fixed.
I have lots and lots of old photos of the car which is great; really helpful for looking back at how it was years ago and gaining good insight in to original features.

Yes there’s a bit of rust here and there, but certainly not as bad as I was expecting!
 

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I am not down to metal as yet, but no substantial rust found yet.
 

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E3-3.0Si

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So I've realised that it's been far to long since I updated this thread, and in the meantime, lots of progress has been made. As I mentioned before, the car was mounted on a Celette jig and found to be exactly as per factory tolerances. I was really pleased with this, as well as the fact that there is no evidence of any previous accident damage. Nonetheless, there was some rust to deal with:

Firstly, the usual rust had been found in the inner wing support panel, so a new one was fitted:

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Then, a new inner wing top was fabricated from scratch:

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Unsurprisingly, the headlamp bowls on either side had rusted out which is a very common E3 weakness, due to the fact that dirt and water thrown up be the front wheels collects here and starts collecting in all the nooks and crannies. Fortunately though, these panels are still easily available new:

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Quite a lot of work was required in the passenger side wheel arch area. You can see evidence of previous poor quality repair work on the right hand side of the photo; it looks a bit like a welded patchwork quilt:

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So, after a lot of time and effort, the front of the car is beginning to take shape:

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Now it's time to switch attention to the rear.......
 

E3-3.0Si

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Nice job! Celette is a useful tool (?)
I am preparing the restoration of a e9 and wandering if I buy a second hand Celette.
I think they come up for sale every now and again. The jig is one thing, but the specific mounts are another thing to find. But yes, a great tool to check that your bodyshell is straight and true.
 

E3-3.0Si

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So, the front of the car was coming along really well, so it was time to turn attention to the rear. I think this is where the worst of the previous repairs were carried out, so things got a bit more involved.

Very fortunately, the lower parts of the rear quarters were very sound so they didn't need any work, but the edges of the arches and the ends of the sills did:

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One thing I had started to notice was small areas of bubbling rust on the bootlid. This is a notorious E3 rust trap, and as is often the case, once you see bubbling on the outside, things inevitably are not good on the inside. I hunted high and low for a NOS bootlid, or at least a good used one. I couldn't find a decent one anywhere; those that were for sale were no better than mine. So, some fabrication was going to be needed:

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