Jul 9, 2019 update to the BMW 318is project car

Project BMW 318is: Finishing the Exterior

With our BMW’s body now dent free, we buffed the paint and waxed the car. We then set out to repaint the black trim at the bottom of the car, repaint the car’s side moldings with satin black trim paint, paint the mirrors and spoilers and do some more detail work to make our 318is perfect again.

Here are some pictures of some of that process:

With the body buffed and the dents removed, it was time for details. The drip rail was missing on the passenger’s side. Thankfully Al Taylor had one. We painted it, and most of the other black trim, with cans of satin black trim paint, which is available at any paint supply store.

The 318is specific front spoiler was missing entirely, and the rear spoiler had seen better days. We sourced a new front spoiler from FCP Euro and painted both with Alpine White II enamel, which we sourced from Higgs, our local paint store.

Next up was touch up. We brush-touched every panel on the car. Your author switches from a fine brush to a wide brush with which he uses thinned paint to tint the original paint on the valence panel.

Every detail counts, and FCP Euro still carries the original fog lights. Ours had been cracked and sand blasted long ago. These lights run about $185 a piece.

Underneath, as with most of these cars, the undertray was badly damaged. BimmerWorld has some of the large OE parts that FCP Euro does not stock. They were able to get this OE undertray for us.

The Hörsch power antenna was not working when we got the car. As new ones are some $300, we decided to look into this one. Al Taylor supplied us a spare that we used for parts. With a new mast, a gear and a belt change and some cleaning and lubrication, the antenna worked great again.

Nothing escaped our attention. New badges are available, and we sourced front and rear ones from FCP Euro. They press in and out and care needs to be taken to not damage the area surrounding the badge when you remove the old ones.

Our original grille was badly faded. The headlights were mismatched and the buckets they were in were rusty. We pulled the entire assembly apart and went to work.

We decided we could save the center section and used fine steel wool, both on the chrome, and the black slats in the kidney grille.

We media blasted and painted the headlight buckets with black paint. While you cannot clearly see them from outside the car, when you open the hood, they are visible.

And voilà! With satin paint and new Hella lights, our grille area is looking better than new. We use Hella lights on a lot of our projects. They are such a period correct modification, plus they turn night into day. We can’t recommend these enough.

Wow! Our finished body look nearly new. Those gorgeous 14” BBS wheels and Vredestein tires don’t hurt either. Needless to say, we were very pleased with the work and about $2500 (not including tires and wheel) that this part of our project cost us.

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stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/9/19 3:40 p.m.

Great looking car.  I have an alpinweiss 325iX; I never used to think much of white cars, but it works well on an e30.  The wheels look good as well, although I figured you would have gone with 15" instead.

sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
9/8/19 8:30 p.m.

Total agreement on E-code Hellas. They're the first thing I do on any car that takes them. 

When the E30 gets here, I'll be taking a look at the lights, as I live on the Oregon Coast and regularly drive through places where there are NO light sources other than what's on the car. The H4 low-beams are barely adequate. I'm thinking of upgrading the wattage and relaying the lights for better performance. Any tips or superior experience? Short of going full-on WRC six-pack of Cibié dinner-plate sized lights, that is...

sfisher71
sfisher71 New Reader
9/8/19 8:32 p.m.

...Oh, and mine apparently is missing its kidneys (not sure if it woke up in a hotel bathroom that way or not). 

I am positive that the Car Gods would send me punishment if I put an Alfa shield in the bare spot in the middle of the grille. But damn, it's tempting...

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