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    NIGEL FRYATT #2002-BMW-Z3-2.2i / #2002 / #BMW-Z3-2.2i / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW /
    / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36

    YEAR: 2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 74,807
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: –
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £681.69 (inc VAT)

    It’s been a pretty good summer to own an open-topped sports car, and my Z3 has certainly lived up to expectations. I bought the car because I wanted a (relatively) cheap sports car that I could regularly drive with the top down, and I didn’t want it to be a Mazda MX5!

    My budget was around £4,000, and it was surprising what little choice there is. But when this Z3 came up for sale, it fitted the bill perfectly. The underpowered four-cylinder model was never a consideration and, having checked a few example insurance quotes, a three-litre would have been a little extravagant. Of course, an #M-Sport option would have been fantastic, but wasn’t going to happen on my budget! If I’m honest, I didn’t actually realise that there was a 2.2-litre version of the six-cylinder-engined Z3 until I did some research. They are limited in number and so, when HF51 PUV appeared on the AutoTrader website, I went to see the car and immediately did the deal. Regular readers may remember that I bought it during a snowstorm in February 2017, but I did check that the hood folded down correctly. In fact, it was obvious that the car must have spent much of its life in a garage, or at least covered, since the quality of the hood was high; the deal was done.

    It was also obvious that it would need some new tyres. Why do people buy different tyres for each wheel? My Z3 had three different brands on its four wheels; one of them a Chinese tyre branded ‘Triangle’ (does anyone else feel mystified at the choice of name for a round object?). The quality of the hood, however, did mask a problem that I’ve reported on before. The rubber seals around the screen and door jams were allowing water ingress when it rained particularly hard. Water collected under the passenger seat and promptly flooded the DSC yaw sensor that’s located there.

    Although the total repair cost – replacing all the seals and getting a refurbished DSC sensor (a new BMW OE version being some four times the cost of a refurbished version!) – was over £1,000, I wasn’t too worried and didn’t feel it was something that was ‘missed’ when I bought the car; the passenger carpet was certainly not wet when I handed over the cash. All the work was done by Walkers Autotech (walkersautotech. co.uk, tel: 01403 751646), where Andy and his team did an excellent job. He left the old seals in the boot for me which, if nothing else, did emphasise how much had been changed! When this year’s MoT and annual service became due, I was hoping for a rather cheaper experience, and was pleased to get the call to say that the Z3 had passed the MoT without problem. Walkers did a comprehensive ‘health check’ on the car before the annual service and, while there was nothing that needed immediate attention, there were a few things that I decided to get done while they had the car.

    The windscreen wiper arm had become twisted slightly and had scratched the screen. While that’s particularly annoying (and I have no idea how it happened), the scratching isn’t directly in front of the driver, so didn’t influence the MoT test. The arm and the wiper blades were duly replaced.

    More significant was that the propshaft rubber coupler was found to be perished and cracked. Walkers suggested I consider replacing it sooner rather than later, so it seemed logical to get that done during the service.
    They also spotted that the rear anti-roll bar drop link bushes were perished, and had started to split. This rang true as I had felt that, in high-speed corners, the rear of the Z3 did feel a little soft to me. Although I don’t claim to be some kind of seat-of-the-pants-engineer, I had noticed this rather unnerving characteristic on a particular bend on the A24, near where I live. Now, my other car is a Lotus Elise so it’s probably a little unfair to make the comparison, but I did. So, getting these bushes replaced seemed an excellent idea. Driving back from Walkers and negotiating that same bend, the car certainly felt like it was squatting down into the corner a lot better – a feeling that makes spending the money a lot easier!

    The only really annoying thing was that, during the standard service, the exhaust studs snapped on removal, which meant they had to be heated to remove them. Walkers kept the cost down, though, and only charged an hour’s labour when I suspect it took a little longer. That said, the labour, new studs and new exhaust manifold did add £95 to the total bill.

    In total, therefore, the #MoT , annual service and a couple of replacements that while not essential were sensible, saw a total bill of £681. When you consider this is for a year’s motoring, it works out at around £56 a month, which is reasonable – and a lot less than I had to spend last year on those bloody seals!

    The service was carried out in late October, just when we had that cold snap in the weather. Nevertheless, the day I collected the Z3 it was blue sky and sunshine. Decent jacket, quality woolly beanie hat fitted, shades on, the drive home with the roof down, through some great Sussex country lanes, was excellent.

    Add some decent tunes on the stereo, and that’s exactly why I bought the car in the first place. Walkers also give each customer car a full wash and vacuum, so we were looking good. An open-topped car isn’t just for the summer!

    My Z3 certainly lived up to expectations during the summer. Left: All the work was done at Walkers Autotech, who also gave the car an excellent clean and vacuum – much appreciated! Right: These are the old rubber seals that go around the windscreen; now all replaced.
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    Nigel Fryatt
    NIGEL FRYATT #2002-BMW-Z3-2.2i / #2002 / #BMW-Z3-2.2i / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW /
    / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36
    YEAR: 2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 74,807
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: –
    MPG THIS MONTH: 23.2
    COST THIS MONTH: £681.69 (inc VAT)

    It’s been a pretty good summer to own an open-topped sports car, and my Z3 has certainly lived up to expectations. I bought the car because I wanted a (relatively) cheap sports car that I could regularly drive with the top down, and I didn’t want it to be a Mazda MX5!

    My budget was around £4,000, and it was surprising what little choice there is. But when this Z3 came up for sale, it fitted the bill perfectly. The underpowered four-cylinder model was never a consideration and, having checked a few example insurance quotes, a three-litre would have been a little extravagant. Of course, an #M-Sport option would have been fantastic, but wasn’t going to happen on my budget! If I’m honest, I didn’t actually realise that there was a 2.2-litre version of the six-cylinder-engined Z3 until I did some research. They are limited in number and so, when HF51 PUV appeared on the AutoTrader website, I went to see the car and immediately did the deal. Regular readers may remember that I bought it during a snowstorm in February 2017, but I did check that the hood folded down correctly. In fact, it was obvious that the car must have spent much of its life in a garage, or at least covered, since the quality of the hood was high; the deal was done.

    It was also obvious that it would need some new tyres. Why do people buy different tyres for each wheel? My Z3 had three different brands on its four wheels; one of them a Chinese tyre branded ‘Triangle’ (does anyone else feel mystified at the choice of name for a round object?). The quality of the hood, however, did mask a problem that I’ve reported on before. The rubber seals around the screen and door jams were allowing water ingress when it rained particularly hard. Water collected under the passenger seat and promptly flooded the DSC yaw sensor that’s located there.

    Although the total repair cost – replacing all the seals and getting a refurbished DSC sensor (a new BMW OE version being some four times the cost of a refurbished version!) – was over £1,000, I wasn’t too worried and didn’t feel it was something that was ‘missed’ when I bought the car; the passenger carpet was certainly not wet when I handed over the cash. All the work was done by Walkers Autotech (walkersautotech. co.uk, tel: 01403 751646), where Andy and his team did an excellent job. He left the old seals in the boot for me which, if nothing else, did emphasise how much had been changed! When this year’s MoT and annual service became due, I was hoping for a rather cheaper experience, and was pleased to get the call to say that the Z3 had passed the MoT without problem. Walkers did a comprehensive ‘health check’ on the car before the annual service and, while there was nothing that needed immediate attention, there were a few things that I decided to get done while they had the car.

    The windscreen wiper arm had become twisted slightly and had scratched the screen. While that’s particularly annoying (and I have no idea how it happened), the scratching isn’t directly in front of the driver, so didn’t influence the MoT test. The arm and the wiper blades were duly replaced.

    More significant was that the propshaft rubber coupler was found to be perished and cracked. Walkers suggested I consider replacing it sooner rather than later, so it seemed logical to get that done during the service.

    They also spotted that the rear anti-roll bar drop link bushes were perished, and had started to split. This rang true as I had felt that, in high-speed corners, the rear of the Z3 did feel a little soft to me. Although I don’t claim to be some kind of seat-of-the-pants-engineer, I had noticed this rather unnerving characteristic on a particular bend on the A24, near where I live. Now, my other car is a Lotus Elise so it’s probably a little unfair to make the comparison, but I did. So, getting these bushes replaced seemed an excellent idea. Driving back from Walkers and negotiating that same bend, the car certainly felt like it was squatting down into the corner a lot better – a feeling that makes spending the money a lot easier!

    The only really annoying thing was that, during the standard service, the exhaust studs snapped on removal, which meant they had to be heated to remove them. Walkers kept the cost down, though, and only charged an hour’s labour when I suspect it took a little longer. That said, the labour, new studs and new exhaust manifold did add £95 to the total bill.

    In total, therefore, the MoT, annual service and a couple of replacements that while not essential were sensible, saw a total bill of £681. When you consider this is for a year’s motoring, it works out at around £56 a month, which is reasonable – and a lot less than I had to spend last year on those bloody seals!

    The service was carried out in late October, just when we had that cold snap in the weather. Nevertheless, the day I collected the Z3 it was blue sky and sunshine. Decent jacket, quality woolly beanie hat fitted, shades on, the drive home with the roof down, through some great Sussex country lanes, was excellent.

    Add some decent tunes on the stereo, and that’s exactly why I bought the car in the first place. Walkers also give each customer car a full wash and vacuum, so we were looking good. An open-topped car isn’t just for the summer!

    My Z3 certainly lived up to expectations during the summer. Left: All the work was done at Walkers Autotech, who also gave the car an excellent clean and vacuum – much appreciated! Right: These are the old rubber seals that go around the windscreen; now all replaced.
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    Last issue I mentioned how, after a mere three corners of my track day at Castle Combe, my #Porsche-911-C4S-996 suffered epic brake fail, forcing the car into an early finish. I didn’t hang around in getting the problem fixed, remembering my old man’s oft-recited saying that “the most important aspect of a car is its ability to stop”. Long-time readers will recall I changed the brakes on my previous 996.2 C4 to EBC a couple of years back, so the decision to turn to them once again was an easy one, promptly ordering Yellowstuff pads, Dot 4 fluid and braided lines. I then booked the car in at ZRS Engineering down the road in Poole, as Matt there now does all work on my beloved C4S.

    With the car on Matt’s two-post ramp, the wheels were whipped off and the pads removed. They had plenty of meat on them still as they were only installed at the end of 2017 but, as I’ve previously mentioned, I’ve just not been happy with their (complete lack of) feel and performance, despite fluid changes to alleviate the issue. Incidentally the pads had ‘TRW’ on the covers, which Matt informs me is the OEM brand, but whether or not it was just those covers which in this case were TRW remains to be seen. Either way, I took great pleasure in frisbeeing them into the bin.

    EBC’s Yellowstuff pads were then installed inside the C4S’s Big Red calipers: these are intended for fast road and occasional track use, as they offer performance in huge heat ranges without brake fade. Although fashion isn’t exactly a priority when it comes to safety, it was great to see the yellow hue of the pads adding to the visual flare of my yellow KW coilover springs, at least with the wheels off!

    Matt then replaced my rubber factory brake lines with EBC braided items. These will provide additional feel through the pedal, sorely needed in my case, and their braided element offers an increase in longevity underneath my C4S. With identical routing as per the factory lines, their it was simple enough. They’re good value: although the fittings don’t appear to be stainless steel (as they’re painted), they’re still good value when compared to vastly more expensive competitor items. I was pleased to have them fitted.

    Matt did have to make up new hard lines from each caliper as mine had corroded. A 996 will always throw up a curve ball on a job like this, particularly with rust or corrosion on chassis componentry, so the added time needed for Matt to make those up before connecting to the EBC lines was expected, really.

    With the braided lines in place Matt flushed out the old brake fluid, which ran for the hills when temperatures began to rise during the first few minutes of my aforementioned track day. I got two one-litre bottles of EBC ’s Dot 4 fluid, but the reality was we only needed the one. With the system bled, the wheels were soon back on and the 911 once again graced the floor.

    Next step was bedding the brakes in, which I’m still in the process of doing. This is crucial to ensuring the brakes perform well over a sustained period of time. Many people skip this step and then wonder why they get brake fade pretty quickly. The process for EBC’s brakes can be found on their website at ebcbrakeshop.co.uk, but essentially I have to cover 200 urban miles before conducting a series of high-speed stoppages down to 20mph.

    As I say I’m still in that process, and as soon as that’s done I’m heading for the track. What I will say, however, is that even now, after only a few miles, the difference is commendable. There’s now so much feel through that middle pedal that I can push it with confidence, those pads now clamping to the as-new discs with a conviction sorely lacking before. Once this set-up is run in, this is going to be an unbelievable car.

    Living the Legend – 911 owner reports Our contributing enthusiasts from around the world share their real-life experiences with their Porsche 911s

    Lee Sibley Bournemouth, UK

    Model #Porsche-911-Carrera-4S-996 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-996 / #Porsche-911-Carrera-4S / #Porsche-911-Carrera / #Porsche-911-996 / #Porsche-911 / #Porsche-996 / #2002-Porsche-911-Carrera-4S-996 / #Porsche /
    Year #2002

    Acquired April 2017 @lee_sibs
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    BMW-760Li-E66 / CLASSIC ON THE CUSP / CHASING CARS Quentin Willson’s hot tips

    / #BMW-760Li-E66 / #BMW-E66 / #BMW-E65 / #BMW-760Li / #BMW / #BMW-V12 / #V12 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E66 / #BMW-7-Series-E65 / #BMW-7-Series-LWB / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66 / #2002 / #BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept / #2002-BMW-760Li-Yachtline-Concept-E66

    COST NEW £90k
    VALUE NOW £10k

    BMW’s long-wheelbase #V12-7-Series was born in a pre-recession world. Back then excess was a badge of rank and the superlatives piled up – plush, fast, huge, silent, smooth, rare and, above all, selfish. The 21st century equivalent of a long-wheelbase Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (ironically it shares engine architecture with the current RR Ghost), the lengthened 760 was the ultimate luxo-limo for CEOs of PLCs.

    Like almost all limousines early depreciation had the downward momentum of a falling Steinway. Back in 2003 you could spec up a 760Li and shell out nearly £100k. That same car with a modest mileage 15 years later is now worth ten grand. Craignairn Cars in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, has a mint #Orient-Blue #2003 with 64,000 miles and £12,800 of factory extras for just £9995. And it comes with a full BMW dealer history plus a titled owner in the V5. What’s not to love?

    Don’t get me wrong, a ten-grand 760 won’t be an investment, but as something utterly wonderful for discreet weekend wafting it’s worth losing £5k for a couple of years of feeling like Bill Gates. It might not even cost you that much because there are only 117 examples registered on the DVLA database so they’re rare enough to develop desirability.

    As well as the extra length, you also get soft-close doors, heated, cooled and massaging front and rear power seats, rear-window blinds and side curtains, TV, dynamic damping and your very own iDrive control in the rear compartment to override the chauffeur’s one up front.

    A private seller in Solihull has a 2007 in Burgundy with 57k, full history and a nice private reg for £13,000. And if you really want a keeper how about this one? Advertised in Manchester is a 2003 in silver with just 7000 miles from new and described as ‘totally perfect’ for £19,300. And yes, I hear you say that any big bills could easily contain four figures, but apart from high-pressure fuel pumps and the need for a gearbox service at 50,000 miles, the trade says 760s aren’t that bad. But this is one used super-saloon that categorically needs a full BMW dealer history complete with a sheaf of receipts.

    Therefore, shop with great care and only go for sensible-mileage cars and you should be OK. The 760Li was a neo-classic from the day it was born, but having withered down to as little as £10,000 they’ve become a compelling opportunity.
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    ADS ON TEST Aston DB7 Vantage Volante £65,500
    This DB7 boasts the V12 engine, very low mileage and a great history, so does it justify top money? Malcolm McKay

    / #2002-Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante-Automatic / #2002 / #Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante-Automatic / #Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante / #Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Automatic / #2002-Aston-2002-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante / #Aston-Martin-DB7 / #Aston-Martin / #Aston-Martin-DB7-V12 / #Aston-Martin-V12 / #V12

    Aston DB7 ads tested

    The property of one caring owner until recently, this DB7 is being sold on behalf of its second owner, a keen Aston man. His wife refused to ride in his old Astons in case they broke down, so he looked for the ultimate DB7 to satisfy her preference for a ‘modern, reliable’ car. Apparently she sat in it once, announced she didn’t like it and would never get in it again.

    Registered on 1 September 2002, the car has always been maintained by the main dealer HWM, which supplied it new. Extras on the order included 19in sport wheels, mesh grille, Touchtronic transmission, sports exhaust and leather hood cover (not available when we photographed the car, but it will be sold with it). It was religiously serviced every year – all in the history file, with the original order and bill of sale – despite covering fewer than 1000 miles a year. The current mileage stands at 13,095, just 45 more than when it passed its last MoT in September.

    There is a tiny amount of corrosion just visible on the windscreen wiper mechanism and the wood-trimmed panel over the 12v socket is darker than the rest – though original, it looks a little out of place. The dashtop trim has wrinkled over the top of the instrument binnacle, but Classicmobilia will get this sorted out before sale. A slight mark on the driver’s seat bolster should disappear with valeting. Even the normal bugbear of low-mileage cars, old tyres, doesn’t apply in this case – the car wears a matching set of top spec Yokohama Advan Sports, front 245/35ZR19 and rear 265/30ZR19, dated 51_15, 01_16 and 09_16. Needless to say, they are virtually unworn and the MoT history reveals they were replaced due to concerns over cracking on the original set.

    Turn on the ignition and press the starter button (this Aston thinks it’s a MkII Jag!) and the big V12 instantly bursts into life. In keeping with the modern boulevardier character of the car, it’s more of an expensive hum than a cacophony of chains and gears. The massive torque means that a gentle, measured application of throttle is best in the cold and wet, but once the tyres grip the engine pulls cleanly with no hint of misfire.

    With the top up, there are no untoward mechanical noises – this car feels as civilised and reined as it should. Every control works correctly, and the car is blissfully easy and relaxing to drive. Pull up, put the handbrake on (don’t forget it when you pull away again) and release two catches at the front; the hood then opens – and closes again – smoothly.

    If you are looking for a really smart convertible V12 Aston with impeccable history, and aren’t too bothered about the ultimate GT spec (the GT’s extra 20bhp and ultimate brakes would be barely discernible on the race track let alone on the road, whereas today’s roads would constantly remind you of the harder suspension), then this could be the DB7 for you. Just get your wife to check it out before you commit to buy…

    CHOOSE YOUR ASTON DB7

    Aston’s rebirth under Ford saw the #Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage launched in 1993 with a supercharged Jaguar-derived 3.2-litre straight-six, XJS-based chassis and styling by Keith Helfet and Ian Callum. The DB7 Volante followed in 1996, with a stiffened body and electric five-layer hood. DB7 Vantage arrived in 1997 using a V12 developed by Cosworth, mated to a five-speed auto or six-speed manual transmission.

    Touchtronic option for the auto arrived in 2000. In 2002 Aston added the ultimate V12 GT/GTA option with 435bhp, big Brembo discs, stiffer suspension, mesh grille, bonnet vents and boot spoiler; and also the short-chassis DB7 Zagato. 2003 saw various special editions built before DB7 production ended in December.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE SPECIFICATIONS 2002-Aston-Martin-DB7-Vantage-Volante-Automatic

    Price £65,500
    Contact Classicmobilia, Bucks (07889 805432, classicmobilia.com)
    Engine 5935cc, V12, dohc
    Max Power 414bhp @ 6000rpm / DIN nett
    Max Torque 400lb ft @ 5000rpm / DIN nett
    Performance Top speed: 165mph; 0-60mph: 5sec
    Fuel consumption 16mpg
    Length 4692mm
    Width 1830mm

    Generous specification includes optional 19in wheels and mesh grille. Nitpicking needed to find any interior issues. No hints of any costly V12 problems.

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    / #Audi-RS6-Avant-C5 / #Audi-RS6-C5 / #Audi-RS6-Avant / #Audi-RS6 / #Audi-A6-C5 / #Audi-A6 / #Audi /

    Back in #2002 the #V8 twin-turbo all-wheel drive Audi RS6 Avant was the world’s fastest estate. With 450bhp it outgunned both the contemporary BMW M5 E39 and Mercedes-Benz E55 W210; and until AMG upped its horsepower game, this was the undisputed king of the supercar load-luggers.

    Priced then at £66,675 it was limited to 155mph, but with a 0-60mph time of 4.5 seconds it could out-drag a Ferrari 360 and Porsche Carrera C4. If you bypassed the limiter, it could hit an astonishing 190mph. Between April and September 2004 Audi built a limited edition of 999 run-out C5 models known as the Plus, each with a numbered plaque on the transmission tunnel. The #Cosworth-tweaked 4.2 V8 cranked out 473bhp with a new ECU and it had sports suspension, pressure optimised exhaust (for more noise), quicker steering rack, 19-inch six-spoke alloys and a black body ‘Optic Pack’. Only 70 UK Plus versions were delivered so these are the rarest C5 RS6 Avants of all – and they’re limited to 175mph.

    While ‘normal’ 2002 to 2004 RS6 Avants can be bought for £10-£15k, a genuine factory Plus is worth an easy £20,000.

    A private Yorkshireman has just sold a lovely 2004 in black with 48,000 miles and eight stamps in the book for a very low £13,995 and I’m thinking he can’t have known what he was selling. Prices and desirability have stayed very strong and as far back as 2014 Historics managed to secure £14k for a silver 86,000- miler – which shows just how cheap that Yorkshire car was.

    As one of the rarest and most collectible Audis it’s worth checking all ads for #2004 RS6 Avants and looking for the distinctive black exhausts and roof rails just in case another bargain Plus slips through your fingers. All RS6s need converting to coil-over suspension because the original factory-specified gas shocks don’t last long and the five-speed #Tiptronic-ZF gearbox regularly fails too. #ZF said it needed regular oil and filter changes but Audi told owners it was sealed for life. Bills for gearbox oil changes are a good sign but if not, check the box works properly when it’s fully hot because torque converter issues and sludgedup valve bodies are common.

    Find a cherished RS6 or RS6 Plus Avant and you’ll own a classic Audi legend that can only grow in both value and stature.

    COST NEW £66.7K 2002 UK

    VALUE NOW £15K 2018 UK
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    CAR: E36 Z3 Roadster / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36
    YEAR: #2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 66,610
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 172
    MPG THIS MONTH: 22.1
    COST THIS MONTH: £45

    When I bought my 2002 Z3, I did open the boot to check that everything was OK, and it seemed so to me. However, the completely flat front tyre that I had to deal with a few weeks later proved me wrong.

    The plan was to inflate the tyre and then see if I could then drive to the local tyre fitter to get it checked, but there was obviously an issue with the valve, which was leaking air out as quickly as I could put it in! So, the only solution was to change the wheel.

    What followed involved a lot of head-shaking and quite a bit of swearing. For a start, my trolley jack wouldn’t fi t under the Z3’s side sill, so it was back to the inflator – with me bending the valve in such a way that the air wouldn’t come out, so the tyre would inflate, the sill would rise and I could get the trolley jack into position. The next job was the remove the spare wheel from its cradle under the boot floor…

    The Z3’s boot is a reasonable size for a small sports car, thanks to the space-saver tyre slung underneath. Instructions on how to remove it were actually in the boot, and that was when I realised that one particular tool was missing from the seemingly perfect tool kit; without it, releasing the bolt holding the cradle was extremely awkward for a big hand and a ring spanner (sockets not being possible), and that’s when the head-shaking started.

    Eventually, with the spare free, inspection revealed that it had never been used – or removed – making me wonder if the Z3 actually ever had the necessary tool in the first place. Then I prepared myself to undo the wheel studs, fully expecting this to be a major battle (why do people do these up so tight?). I decided to start with the locking nut but, of course, the ‘key’ to release this, was completely mullered.

    At that point the head-shaking turned to swearing, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to be changing the wheel anytime soon! Still, at least the car was on my drive, it wasn’t raining or winter, I wasn’t in a rush and nor was I wearing my best suit!

    A quick phonecall to my very helpful, local independent tyre outlet, Littlehampton Tyres, saw their mobile unit with me within 30 mins, and he had a full set of Laser locking wheel nut ‘keys’, allowing him to swap wheels and take away the flat tyre to be repaired. The call-out cost me £30, and the puncture repair, £15.
    It could have been a lot worse and I will, of course, now look to either buy a new locking wheel nut key (and you can imagine what BMW will charge for that!), or get some standard wheel studs and swap them over… but then I’ll need the stupid ‘key’ to do that, won’t I?…

    A missing T-bar wrench means you can’t lower the Z3’s spare wheel cradle. The locking wheel nut key had been used; actually, it had been completely destroyed!
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    CAR: #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E46
    YEAR: #2002
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 156
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 87,276
    MPG THIS MONTH: 26.9
    TOTAL COST: £167 (tyres & locking nuts)

    Clubsport? Lightweight? Race car? Well, not quite; but sitting inside, the M3 does have the look of a car midprep for an attack on a Nürburgring laptime. A couple of delays mean the M3’s interior is still missing a fair proportion of its trim, but the guys at Perfect Coating (www.facebook.com/ perfectcoating) will have that sorted by the next update, so I’m looking forward to photographing the interior in its shiny new glory in time for next month. Talking of next month, with good weather on the cards and some events in the calendar I’m planning to take the M3 to Wales with some mates, and if things work out just-so, a sojourn to the Nürburgring too. Throw in another visit to Bruntingthorpe for VMAX and I’ll have a chance to put some good quality bonding miles on the M3. Truth is, I’ve not used it as much as I’d like of late which may be good for the mileage (a relatively low 87k considering the 2002 year of registration) but this is not a car to be afraid of using – you only need to look at the amount of M3s deep into six figure mileages to know that if well looked after, there is nothing to fear. With the service indicator telling me I have 800 miles left before the next service, she’ll be well looked after very soon, most likely by Highams Park Motor Company in East London.

    It’s the perfect time for some routine maintenance, meaning I can look forward to summer fun with her! That’s not say I’ve not had fun in the dark months, and now I’ve had a chance to put some proper miles on the M3 with the 18-inch wheels I’ve really grown to love them. Unsurprisingly, after last month’s sideways fun the rear tyres were looking rather sorry for themselves. Lucky for me, my local tyre shop happened to have a pair of very lightly used correctly sized Pirelli P Zeros in stock; an absolute bargain for £150, and I had some new locking wheel nuts fitted at the same time. The old lockers were looking pretty sorry for themselves, and I had visions of being stranded with a flat, unable to change wheels due to a rounded off key. It’s a small thing, but it gives peace of mind. As I reported last month, initial impressions on the smaller wheels were a marginal trade off in ultimate grip in return for better ride quality and even more benign, playful handling characteristics when pushing on.

    With the new Pirellis, a good run on some of my favourite local B roads cemented that impression. I’ve never been one for chasing ultimate grip anyway – I’m not setting lap times – so I’d rather have a car which has grip levels well matched to the power output, with really enjoyable handling which can be exploited at sensible speeds. On the 18-inch wheels, the M3 delivers this by the bucket load. I’ve grown to love the look on the dark grey smaller wheels too; the polished 19-inch wheels always looking a bit bling for my taste.

    Despite sharing space with cars worth 50+ times what I paid for the M3, it still managed to turn heads and secure a prime spot at a local breakfast club meet. If you’re an Essex dweller, I’d heartily recommend a trip down to The Hare near Roxwell the first Saturday of most summer months (check its calendar to be sure). Get there early enough and there’s even free coffee. But more importantly an excellent mix of old, new, and sometimes hugely rare and valuable cars to have a look at… and a 15 year old M3 with half the interior missing. It was my morning jaunt to the last meet that gave me the chance to enjoy my favourite local roads, and driving back I was feeling pretty pleased with life. I think it’s fair to say my love affair with the M3 is going pretty strong…
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    Longtermers #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #2002

    Plenty of action for the M3, Ben gets his German race licence, Elizabeth almost says goodbye to the 1 Series while the repaired E90 318i has more dramas

    After a couple of quiet winter months the M3 must be wondering what’s hit it! New wheels, interior in pieces… it’s even been on track alongside a couple of fun jaunts on local roads. Let’s start with the interior refresh. I’d been talking to the guys at Newbury based www.perfectcoating.co.uk for a few weeks about some options to revive the scuffed, scratched and scabby grey plastic interior trim in the M3. The interior of my car was in great shape overall when I purchased it – nice shiny seats with only mild bolster buffing, whilst the dash and remainder of the cabin trim was in excellent shape, perhaps even better than you’d expect of an 80k mile, 15-year-old M3. Letting it down though, were always the plastic inserts with their metallic grey finish. Given these adorn the door handles and electric window switch surrounds amongst others, they were in prime position to deteriorate from 15 years of contact with rings, nails and the natural oils from human skin.

    So a jaunt over to Newbury was arranged, where the guys at www. perfectcoating. co. uk had the relevant parts out of the car in short order. The individual pieces looked even worse sitting on a bench under bright lights, the door handles predictably being the worst offenders. The parts are sanded down to remove the existing paint and prepared for the black basecoat.

    Once this is applied, the clever part of the process happens, as the film is applied through hydro dipping (or water transfer printing as it’s known) to create a finish which looks almost identical to a carbon weave, with some golden colour showing through (we opted for this to better match my M3’s Phoenix yellow – many other finishes and colours are available).

    Once this has cured (a very quick process), the parts are sent to the bodyshop for a high quality lacquer to give a deep, lustrous and hardwearing finish. Having seen some completed parts earmarked for a Mustang I was blown away by the quality and can’t wait for the finished items to be refitted – pictures and in-depth report on the process next month. The fact that the process is just as suitable for external parts is highly compelling: carbon spoiler and mirrors anyone? My return journey from Newbury made for an easy drop in to Aldershot to pick up the set of original 18- inch wheels I sourced through the popular M3cutters forum. I’d been interested to try these and experience for myself if the ride and handling were tangibly different on the smaller rims and accompanying taller sidewall tyres. There is a marginal reduction in unsprung weight over the 19-inch polished alloys, shedding 1.4kg per front and 1.1kg from each rear wheel; of course this is mitigated by the slightly heavier rubber due to the taller sidewalls. In reality, it’s the latter which seems to make the biggest difference to the driving dynamics in the handful of miles I’ve been able to try them so far.

    Tyre footprint remains the same, with 225/45/18 up front and 255/40/18 at the rear as opposed to 225/40/19 and 255/35/19, but the taller sidewall has reduced initial bump harshness, whilst there is a trade off to steering sharpness when turning in. Perhaps due to less tyre deformation, it feels like the 19s have slightly more ultimate lateral grip, but we are talking fi ne margins here which would take an accelerometer to confirm. On the road, the 18-inch setup does feel like it works better, providing the M3 with an added degree of suppleness to deal with our imperfect roads. At the same time, the chassis feels a little bit less edgy on the limit, proving extremely friendly with the DSC turned off ; a feeling I was able to confirm on track recently where some pretty extreme corner entry styles had the M3 virtually on the lockstops in third, but feeling utterly benign and predictable in extremis, as well as sensational fun. Of course, much the same can be said of the wonderfully balanced E46 M3 chassis no matter which wheels you’re running, but there was a tangible and enjoyable difference to note. That the 255/40/18 rubber is significantly less expensive than 255/35/19 is a pleasing side benefit….

    This has freed up the 19s for a refurb too. They are thankfully free of kerb rash, but the lacquer is looking a bit second hand in places. If you have any recommendations of a place to have these cost effectively refreshed in Essex or London please feel free to message me.

    BMW E46 M3
    YEAR: #2002
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 622
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 87,120
    MPG THIS MONTH: 28.8
    TOTAL COST: £350 (wheels)
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    Blast from the Past. We don our rose-tinted specs and sample Hartge’s 5.0 V8 E53 X5… it’s still a hoot to drive. It’s been a while since we drove an E53 generation X5 but this Hartge-fettled example reminded us what was so great about the original V8-engined softroader. Words: Bob Harper. Photography: Gus Gregory.

    We may well be on the third iteration of the X5 softroader, or Sports Activity Vehicle, as #BMW still insist on calling it, but there’s something that’s still rather wonderful about the original E53 incarnation. In the right colour and sitting on the right alloys it’s still a pretty good-looking piece of kit that has aged well, although conversely in the wrong colour and on the smaller wheels it does also show its age. I still have a pretty soft spot for the car – a wonderful, if slightly expensive to run, workhorse in 3.0d form, and hilariously quick and well-mannered in the fruitier V8 varieties. Even after all these years one of my favourite car launches was the face-lift E53 X5 over in South Carolina riding the Blue Ridge mountains in a raunchy V8. Stunning scenery, hospitable locals and a great car to be let loose in.

    Even today in my slightly madder moments I can’t help but have a quick trawl of used X5 values (usually in their brawniest factory 4.6iS and 4.8iS formats) so when the chance came up to sample the wildest of X5s this side of the one-off X5 Le Mans I jumped at the chance. The car in question is a Hartge 5.0-litre X5, fully converted when new by Hartge and its UK agent Birds. I can still remember sampling Hartge’s demonstrator out in Germany back in 2002 and finding it hilariously entertaining to punt along with prodigious shove from the fully-fettled Hartge V8 accompanied by a fruity NASCAR-style soundtrack.

    On a recent visit to Birds’ Iver HQ to sample its divine 435d xDrive that you can read about elsewhere in the issue we spotted this dark green example, looking ever so slightly incongruous in amongst the more modern fare. One often has the chance to sample heavily modified BMWs when they’re new, but to come across one 15 years down the line is a rare treat and we couldn’t pass up the chance to sample this car to see how it has stood the test of time. Would it live up to my fond memories of the model, or would it be a huge disappointment?

    Before we put the pedal to the metal though it’s probably worth having a quick recap as to what exactly went into this Hartge X5 conversion. At its heart was an engine conversion that took the V8 to 4930cc thanks to an increase in bore (by 2mm) and stroke (up 6.1mm) to develop figures of 380hp and 376lb ft of torque, good enough to propel this brick on wheels to 150mph while knocking off the benchmark 0-62mph dash in a smidgen under six seconds. It wasn’t just about a capacity increase though as there was a bespoke Hartge exhaust with four howitzer-sized tailpipes and to ensure it handled the extra power the chassis came in for some upgrades, too. There were stiffer anti-roll bars and a Hartge suspension set up that lowered the car by around 30mm to ensure that the big SAV’s bulk was kept in check when pushing on.

    Rounding off the package was a styling kit that included a hugely aggressive front apron and a very sexy set of 22-inch rims. Even today 22s are pretty big, but 15 years ago these really were something to write home about. And it would seem that the past 15 years have been pretty kind to this particular X5 and it’s still in excellent condition as befits a car that’s covered less than 50k miles during its life. It’s also benefited from a few pleasant upgrades such as an M3 steering wheel complete with paddle-shift gear change and a well-integrated aftermarket sat nav and entertainment system in place of the outdated standard fit nav screen.

    The proof of the pudding though is in the driving and simply twisting the key (remember keys – a joy to use after the modern fad of keyless go and push button starts) elicits a wonderful throaty roar from the rear of the car before it settles down into a bassy idle that’s just a tad more menacing than the regular X5 V8. Trundling away from Birds the X5 is certainly eager to get a move on and feels a little bit like a caged tiger prowling the streets. On rougher roads those gumball wheels and tyres do make the car fidget quite a bit and be under no illusion that this machine will provide a billiard smooth ride, but despite this the X5 starts to wheedle its way under your skin, making you smile every time you prod the loud pedal and grin a little as it tries to take off into the next county.

    Crusing up the motorway to our shoot location and the X5 garners plenty of glances from other motorists and that bold front end styling that Hartge gave to the car proves to be very effective at clearing slower moving traffic from your path as other drivers seem to be convinced the X5 is simply going to Hoover them up through the huge air intakes. If we were to let it off the leash it feels like it would still hit its 150mph maximum, but that’s a game best not played on the M40 so we make do with entertaining ourselves once we reach the backroads.

    On A roads and fast B roads it’s a real hoot to punt along, feeling pretty rapid in isolation, no doubt a feeling partially assisted by the wonderful V8 soundtrack. Its outright speed is to a certain extent put into context by the 435d that I’m chasing, but as you can read elsewhere in the issue that machine is insanely fast. The X5 corners pretty well too – grip is never an issue thanks to the huge footprint and the four-wheel drive, but when the roads get rougher and more bumpy you do end up being a little more circumspect as those big wheels can upset the ride to quite a degree.

    Overall though the Hartge 5.0 X5 still convinces as well as it did back in 2002. This one has been lovingly looked after and seems to be in fine fettle. If you’re after the ultimate X5 pop along to Birds and give it the once over, you won’t be disappointed.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE: #2002 / #BMW-Hartge / #BMW-X5-5.0 / #BMW / #Hartge / #BMW-X5 / #BMW-X5-E53 / #BMW-E53 / #BMW-E53-Hartge / #BMW-X5-Hartge / #BMW-X5-Hartge-E53 / #Hartge-X5-5.0 / #Hartge-X5-5.0-E53

    ENGINE: #V8 32-valve / #M62 / #BMW-M62
    CAPACITY: 4930cc
    MAX POWER: 380hp / DIN
    MAX TORQUE: 376lb ft / DIN
    TOP SPEED: 150mph
    0-62MPH: 5.9 seconds
    PRICE: £15,995
    Contact Birds where the car is for sale for more information

    CONTACT: Birds Garage
    Tel: 01753 657444 Web: www.birdsgarage.co.uk
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