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    Into hibernation for the winter

    CAR: 1989 BMW 320i Convertible
    OWNER: Glen Waddington

    / #1989-BMW-320i-Convertible / #1989 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B20 / #BMW-320i-E30 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-E30-M20 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet-M20 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet-E30

    I feel somewhat bereft this evening. My final autumn drive was to take the BMW to its winter storage location. My garage will soon be a building site, as part of it is converted into a home office. And RH Classics (rhclassics.co. uk), based near Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, kindly offered the BMW a winter home at its expanding storage facility.

    I got very lucky with the weather. Not warm, but bright and crisp, so I gave the E30 a wash and buff-up, lowered the roof and headed out on the 40-mile drive. It’s at times like this that I’m glad the first owner shelled out for heated seats – and that I shelled out for a new blower motor a couple of years ago, when the original packed in. With the windows up you get the full daylight yet not too much buffeting, and the cabin stays cosy. There’s a fabulous road heading out from Market Harborough for the second half of the journey: this part of Leicestershire is relatively empty, very pretty and home to some seriously snaky tarmac. If you fancy seeking it out, it’s the B6047, and it’s especially enjoyable north of the A47, with bend after bend accompanied by matching changes in altitude as it rolls across and through the landscape.

    RH Classics offers several storage options, but all are in a secure, discreet and extremely dry location: the buildings once stored potatoes! Every car is valeted and inspected, and a condition report is agreed with the owner. Fluid levels are checked, the battery disconnected, and the car is fitted with a breathable cover. Optionally the car can be connected to a trickle charger and run up to temperature fortnightly, with a condition check each time, and you can pay extra for bubble-storage. Although I know my car is safe, it was still an emotional process, leaving in the knowledge that this will be the last time I drive it for some time.

    Thankfully, I have a busy season to look back on, with lots of family trips out (that’s what we bought the E30 for, nearly nine years ago now) plus plenty of excuses for a solo blast, not to mention the odd work thing. Most memorable of the latter was in September, the Octane Tour to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court. We met for early-morning bacon sandwiches at Cliveden, in the Buckinghamshire countryside, then set off with a road book that took us via Marlow and Henley on Thames. The sun was out, but that early start provided the first hint that autumnal weather was imminent. Still, by the time we were queueing along the road in from Staines, the sun was at full strength and jacket and scarf were quickly discarded. Roofoff, naturally, a state of affairs that continued for the 100-mile trip home late that afternoon. Readers might remember that an altercation with the foglamp bracket on a 4x4’s bull-bar had left my tail-light lens cracked. This, at last, has been replaced. The new lens and fixings arrived from BMW Group Classic (bmwgroup-classic.com) and I was pleased to find that it was simply a case of disconnecting the bulb carrier and removing a few nuts with an 8mm spanner.

    Easing the lens away revealed perfectly preserved paint around the aperture – I’m so thankful that the lens took the impact, and not the metalwork. A quick clean, then the new one went straight in and was soon tightened into place. This is a genuine replacement from Munich and, of course, a perfect fit. Job done.

    Now, as I look up from my desk at the darkness outside, spring seems a long time away. I’ll pay RH Classics a visit at some point but, for now, the BMW is snuggled under a cover, resting. At least I’ve still got the Porsche 944 to hand.

    Left and below: BMW arrives at its hibernation lair, RH Classics; study in dark metallic blue with Mark Dixon’s Range Rover at Cliveden House; new tail-light lens about to be installed; some of the 320i’s winter companions.
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    Seems spring has arrived early

    CAR: 1989 BMW 320i Convertible
    OWNER: Glen Waddington
    PHOTOS: Robert Hefferon

    / #1989-BMW-320i-Convertible / #1989 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B20 / #BMW-320i-E30 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-E30-M20 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet-M20 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet-E30

    This Time last year we had snow. My 944 had just recently blown its rep by blowing out its own electrics, and the Beemer was tucked up safely in my garage. Where it spends too much time. But I don’t like taking it out on wintry roads, because it’s nearly 30 years old, factory-original and in damn fine fettle.

    As I write this on the last day in February, I’m looking out onto a sunlit garden, daffodils swaying gently in the breeze, birdsong drifting through an open window. Two record-breakingly warm days preceded this one. But tomorrow it’s back to normal. Whatever counts for normal in 2019.

    Anyway, I’ll stop wittering, because my point is that this is the first winter during my eight-year tenure of the BMW – today is its anniversary – during which it’s been driven with anything like regularity. I was even out giving it an early spring clean last weekend, ahead of driving it to Bicester Heritage for an editorial meeting with the #Drive-My team. And I drove home with the roof down. That has rarely happened this side of April. I’m generally an advocate of use rather than storage, although I admit that when the BMW crept past 50,000 miles last year, I fleetingly wondered if I should mothball it. Winter hibernation can cause the odd issue: I’ve lost count of the new batteries I’ve fitted (even if the last one was terminally discharged when I left the bootlid slightly ajar – can’t blame the car or the weather for that one), plus I’ve been through a master cylinder, a clutch slave cylinder, a heater blower motor and a seized brake caliper. All these failures occurred within the first post-hibernation drive.

    There have been no such problems this year, and I’ll count my sunburnt forehead as a freak of the highly unseasonable weather. We’ve had a lot of frosty nights, mind. Frosty enough to make the 944 a tardy starter one morning. Rather than drain the battery, I reached for the Energizer 400A jump-starter kit I got late last summer. It wasn’t cheap at around £100, but it’s about the size of a large smartphone and can be used to charge one of those so you can cycle its battery between boosts. Connection is easy – it’s great not having to lug something heavy around – and the 944 sprang instantly to life. Indispensible for any car that is parked up for just a touch too long.
    So I’m glad I’ve got it, ready for when we have snow in June…

    Above and below: BMW bowls along at Bicester; it was joined by editor Elliott’s Triumph not-2000 – and a McLaren 12C Spider.
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    Time for the autumn chill-out

    1989 BMW 320i Convertible Glen Waddington

    / #1989-BMW-320i-Convertible / #1989 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B20 / #BMW-320i-E30 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-E30-M20 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet-M20 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet-E30

    As I write this the sun is shining outside. It’s bloody cold, though. Autumn is setting in quickly and suddenly and it’s only just over a month since I spent a balmy late-summer evening with a whole bunch of BMW convertibles near Henley-on-Thames, as regular readers might remember. I had a fantastic time piloting such beauties as a BMW-328-Roadster , a #BMW-507 , a #BMW-Z1 and a #BMW-Z8 (see right), before sunset called a halt to proceedings.

    Thing is, I’d already had a fabulous drive down there in my own #BMW-Convertible . And no matter what the charms of those other cars were - only one of which I could even imagine owning, if you bear their market values in mind - mine more than held its own. In fact, it was rather enjoyable to have some of the other assembled journalists take a look over it; one or two of them even assumed it had been brought down as part of BMW’s own fleet!

    The journey was a hundred miles or so, much on trunk roads plus a spell on the M40. But the scenery turns bucolic in a major way on the stretch south from Stokenchurch, narrow lanes winding and plunging through dense woodland with the sun barely filtering through at times, thee leafy smell and the birdsong make a convertible a real treat to be in - quite a different effect from the more usual roof-down/howling exhaust scenario.

    A few hours later I had to think about my route home, those thread-like lanes could easily hide the occasional inebriated local, lurking in a 4x4 without thought to a delicate 1980s soft-top, so I headed out of Henley towards Nettlebed and Watlington and was treated to some fabulously sinuous B-roads, perfect for the innate balance and modest yet useful power of my 320i. Even the roundabouts on the A43 past Brackley did their bit to make this a properly life-affirming high-speed late-night trek. One I’ll remember during the winter evenings ahead.
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    Renewing the vows

    OWNER: Glen Waddington

    CAR: #1989-BMW-320i-Convertible / #1989 / #BMW-320i-Convertible / #BMW-320i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-M20 / #M20B20 / #BMW-320i-E30 / #BMW-320i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet / #BMW-E30-M20 / #BMW-E30-Cabriolet-M20 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet / #BMW-320i-Cabriolet-E30

    Sometimes I find it difficult to believe that the Beemer is 28 years old. The body’s in such fine (and still original) fettle, it’s such a vivacious drive, and it’s still got less than 50k on the clock. I love it to bits, but I use it sparingly.

    A little too sparingly over the last year, though. Life got in the way, in exactly the manner described by John Simister in his How to reconnect with your classic piece in #Drive-My . The 320i had languished over winter yet flew through its MoT in April, though when I wanted to press it into service for a rare romantic weekend away with Mrs W, a shudder through the steering the night before we headed off put paid to that. And I’d already been putting up with a non-functioning heater blower for 14 months or so. So I booked it in for a once-over with my mate Stuart Templeton.

    The night before it headed off to Templeton’s Garage (www. templetonsgarage.co.uk) I washed and buffed the bodywork: step 1 of the reconnection. And it came back a few days later, following a short service and with the maladies rectified (step 2).

    The shaky wheel? A seized brake caliper was the culprit, as Stuart had diagnosed on the phone. With that replaced (on exchange), plus a new blower motor, the Beemer was back to singing along. Just in time for the early-June heatwave.

    And so step 3 of the reconnection was suddenly there for the taking: get back out and enjoy the car, reminding myself what it was I always loved about it in the first place.

    This is our seventh summer together. I always said it’d be a keeper. And that remains true, especially now it’s running that little bit sweeter – amazing what fresh oil can do, even if it’s all in the mind. And yes, I’d swear it’s that little bit faster too.

    As a family, the four of us headed down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the Beemer, roof-down for the stretch across the Downs from Winchester. Reconnection complete.
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    Brightwells June sale / #BMW / #1992 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-318i-Convertible / #BMW-318i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio

    Brightwells had a glut of BMWs on offer at its June sale and this #BMW-E30-Cabriolet was one of three 318i examples it had up for sale and the only one that sold. Its mileage might have been on the high side at 136k but there was plenty of history with the car showing it had been loved during its life. At £4500 it looked like reasonable value for money but as an investment the 325i sold by ACA looked to be a better bet.

    SOLD FOR: £4500
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    / #1989 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-325i-Convertible / #BMW-325i-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-325i-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-325i-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio

    There seemed to be a bit of a glut of E30 soft-tops up for auction this month – ACA had two, and Brightwells had a further three up for grabs – but this Alpine white example at ACA really did look superb. With just 60k miles on the clock and an excellent history this manual example made £9450. Not cheap, but it still looked like an excellent buy in time for summer – if it ever arrives!

    SOLD FOR: £9450
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