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    Rest and recuperation
    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i BAUR CABRIOLET
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic / #Boxd

    It’s been a few months since I last wrote an update on my Baur Cabriolet, but it has been in regular use and pretty much my everyday car. Since I bought it in August 2015 I have added around 10,000 mies to the 106,748 it showed then, even though it spent most of 2016 being restored. It’s certainly getting more use than it had with the previous owner.

    Post-restoration snags carried on into 2018. We had to get the boot repainted because it was patchy in places, and the rear quarter panels started to show signs of rusting, as did a small area around the rear quarter windows, the battery support plate came away altogether and had to be bolted back into place. Maybe they didn’t get rid of all the rust...

    With everyday use, things are likely to go wrong at some stage with a 38-year-old car. During restoration we reconditioned and re-used as many mechanical parts as possible, but more work was soon needed. A whining noise from the front, like a quiet jet engine, turned out to be the wheel bearings so I had all of them changed, front and rear. Next was a horrendous clicking noise underneath from a disintegrating exhaust downpipe. Exhaust parts for right-hand-drive E21 BMW's are like hens’ teeth, but a pair of new-old-stock downpipes showed up on eBay only an hour away, in Marlborough - sorted!

    Next, a grinding clutch release bearing, replaced along with the rest of the clutch. And then, towards the end of the summer, I started having to top up the coolant more frequently. All seemed well on a compression test, so it’s probably not a leaking head gasket. Finally, the oil-pressure light started to glow when idling.

    I met up with Sam Lawrence, at Boxd in South-east London, a new and very popular storage facility. Boxd offers a maintenance service, too, so while your car is in storage they can, for a fee, tinker with it during the winter so it’s niggle-free when you have it back in the spring.

    With that oil-light problem I didn’t want to risk driving the BMW, so I had it transported to Boxd for the technical staff there to assess, they found plenty to keep them busy, the clonks on braking and cornering were from a poorly fitted alarm, found rolling loose in the scuttle area, there was a smell of petrol, requiring a check of hoses and clips around the tank and pump, they will check the whole cooling system for leakage, and fix an oil leak by replacing the sump gasket while carrying out a service. As for the indication of low oil pressure, they’ll start with the warning light’s switch.

    What else? A new seal should stop the major water leak past the offside rear light cluster, the rear silencers will be renewed, blown dashboard bulbs will be replaced with LEDs, and the heater fan made quieter, the non-responsive lever for cold air will receive a new cable, if necessary. Reinstating missing washers in the (loose) wiper mechanism should fix a leak into the scuttle, and the bonnet needs a new torsion spring, the headlights are dim, too - might they deserve an upgrade?

    I’m hoping there will be time to tackle most of the above by spring but, with such a mild winter to date, I am missing it already. Worse, I’m surfing the net to find more Baurs for sale. I must be mad.

    Top and left: BMW has luxury transport, by Classic Automotive Relocation Services, to its winter retreat and health spa at Boxd.
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    Shark Hunting
    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    Have you heard classic BMWs described as ‘sharknose’? Sharknose-era BMWs were manufactured from the 1960s through to the late ’80s and represent a crucial period in BMW’s history. They can be as different as they are similar. Some were built for racing, some were built for families.

    Some featured cutting-edge technology, others were a little more basic. What brings them together is a common design aesthetic. They range from the Neue Klasse models of the ’60s through to the M1 and E28 (the second-generation 5-series), taking in the CSA, CS and CSLs and the earlier 3-, 5-, 6- and 7-series along the way.

    Now the #BMW-Car-Club has introduced a new umbrella group called the Sharknose Collection, and I was delighted to be asked to attend a gathering of cars from this collection to produce a video for the club’s website. As club secretary Richard Baxter says: ‘These cars are now becoming sought after yet finding parts and specialists can be difficult. The Sharknose section of the club aims to give cars and owners a collective platform at shows, to help with parts and accessories, to share technical days, and allow networking with fellow owners.’

    The pressure was on to get my Baur looking as good as possible, given the company that it was going to be with. I contacted Joseph Crowe, owner of Knowl Hill Performance Cars in Maidenhead (www.knowlhill. com), and he obligingly ensured that the car was machine polished to look its best.

    Gathered together for the shoot were some of the very best examples of sharknose BMWs in the UK. In the picture, above, from left to right are Stu and Lizzy Blount’s grey #BMW-E28 / #BMW-M5 / #BMW-M5-E28 , Tony Wilkes’ beige #BMW-E3 , Georg Champ’s red #BMW-2002 , Sam Lever’s blue #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 , Trevor Gude’s white #BMW-E12 / #BMW-M535i-E12 , my own BMW-323i Baur Top Cabrio and Kos Ioizou’s beautiful red #BMW-635CSi-E24 . I was amazed at the depth of knowledge and passion for the cars shown by all the owners – the future of these classics is safe in their hands.

    The Club is looking for ownership and restoration stories to share in its monthly publication Straight Six and hopes to attract owners of cars not yet known about. Cars from the Sharknose Collection will be on show at several events this year, including Masters at Brands Hatch on 26-27 May; Sharknose Europe at Rosmalen, Holland, on 23 June; Silverstone Classic on 20-22 July and the club’s National Festival on 12 August at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon. There’s more info at www.bmwcarclubgb.uk and I hope I will get along to at least one or two in the Baur.

    Above and below Sharknose Collection members lined up some of the UK’s finest examples, including Sanjay’s 323i Baur cabriolet.
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    A question of #safety

    CAR: #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    Winter came and went and I haven’t carried out all the improvements on the BMW that I’d hoped to. But there’s a major incident to report. We came back from holiday in early December and there was a strong smell of petrol throughout the house. It was coming from the garage and – specifically – from the BMW.

    I took the car to Automo (www.automo.co), where it had been restored, and it turned out that there were several problems to fix. Later six-cylinder E21s were fitted with an extra fuel tank, connected by a link pipe, plus extra venting, an expansion tank, connectors, clamps and so on, which means a host of possible weaknesses. Access to most can be gained only via a hole in the bodywork under the rear seat base. Automo traced a leak to the connecting pipe between the two tanks – and also the fuel cap, which I had not fully closed…

    Even with the problem diagnosed and fixed, there is still a distinct smell of fuel around the car, especially on a full tank, so further investigation is required.

    The other improvement I managed to complete was to fit new seatbelts. The old ones were difficult to pull out, did not fully retract, and were prone to catching in the doors. The rear belts were covered in red paint overspray too, so I was keen to get them sorted.

    I called on the help of Stuart Quick at Quickfit SBS (www. quickfitsbs.com), a family-run business created by Stuart’s father Bill Quick, which has been fitting seatbelts to cars since the early 1960s, well before they even became a legal requirement. Of course, if your car was originally manufactured without seatbelts, you are not required by law to have them fitted. However, passengers under 12 years of age must be strapped in whether your car was manufactured with seatbelts or not. And if you’re planning to use your classic on a tour or long trip, seatbelts are a worthwhile safety upgrade.

    Quickfit can retrofit periodlooking seatbelts that will not look out of place.

    In making the Cabrio, Baur adapted the rear seatbelts of the E21 saloon. The saloon’s mounting points are fixed to the rear pillars but, in the Cabrio, the belt housings were moved to a position in the boot, under the rear parcel shelf. This required parts to be made specifically for the Baur, and they are now extremely hard to find. Quickfit also advised that the webbing itself needed to be changed, as well as the reels and mechanisms.

    The result is that all the seatbelts now work perfectly.

    Above and left #Quickfit-SBS made up new seatbelts from scratch to fit the Baur, which has unique mountings in the boot space for the rear belts; Baur’s red paint glows against the backdrop of a WW2 hangar at Bicester Heritage.
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    Time to get the rot sorted

    CAR: 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO
    OWNER: Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    The original pitch from the advertising agency that proposed BMW’s now legendary slogan was made back in 1974 and was therefore used in the various campaigns for the launch of the new E21 in 1976. But is there any truth in it? Was it really the #Ultimate-Driving-Machine ?

    The Baur is a fantastic little car and such great fun to drive, with oodles of power. I have enjoyed using it so much that it has become my everyday car; there is only one set of keys I look for whenever I go out (without being disloyal to the DB7, of course). It is so perfectly at home on modern roads and motorways that it is hard to believe that this is a car designed in the early ’70s; it feels so comfortable in all conditions. The driving position is excellent with good visibility all-round, and on motorways the car is very quiet inside the cabin, unbelievably so for a convertible built 35 years ago. This car must have been so over-engineered in its day.

    BMW even had an ad campaign claiming that, with the top down and driving in the rain, the design of the ‘targa’ roof meant that you would still stay dry inside the cabin, as the rain would be deflected away. I will put that to the test in due course.

    As you can see, I am full of praise for the 323i and rightly so I think. What other five-seater convertibles were there in the early ’80s that boasted disc brakes all-round (vented at the front), a 143bhp six-cylinder engine with five-speed gearbox, 0-60mph in 8 seconds, a top speed of 120mph, and driver comforts such as central locking, electric mirrors, three-speed windscreen wipers and even headlight wipers. This car was so far ahead of its competitors that I think BMW had every right to use that ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ slogan.

    At £12,000 new it wasn’t cheap but it meant you were driving what was probably one of the most well-engineered cars of its day. That price also meant that it appealed to owners who could afford to maintain them. I am lucky to have found one that I know has been very well looked after and garaged for much of its life. That said, the model suffered from corrosion and, although mine looked OK, it was impossible to tell what was lurking beneath. There was superficial rust all over the bodywork, not terrible but I could see that some work needed to be done. As winter approached I was faced with a dilemma: should I face up to it now or wait another year?

    A chance meeting with Chedeen Battick, owner of Slough restoration company Automo (www.automo.co), set the cat among the pigeons.

    Chedeen and I met at the launch of a car he had designed for a Jaguar re-creation manufacturer. The work that he had engineered was impressive, so when he said that he had been let down on a job and could get my car in to take a closer look at the paintwork, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity.

    The plan is to strip it down to see what needs to be done. I’ll report back next time but I am very excited about the prospect of getting the bodywork sorted out.

    THANKS TO BMW Classic Group, www.realoem.com.
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  • Post is under moderation
    Fine tuning 1981 BMW 323i

    TOP CABRIO SANJAY SEETANAH

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR / #1981-BMW-323i / #1981-BMW-323i-E21 / #1981-BMW-323i-Baur / #Bosch-K-Jetronic

    Most of the saga of getting my Cabrio back on the road was covered last month. All except the story of its fuel injection. And #Bosch K-Jetronic is notoriously difficult to get right. There was a strong smell of fuel and the car was running rough and revving high at idle. Then, during the early summer months, it started to run hot.

    The temperature gauge needle should sit exactly in the middle of the dial when the engine is up to temperature, but it was creeping over the ¾ mark. I tried to diagnose the fault myself, and changed the sender unit – but no difference. So I changed the thermostat, but no. Could it be the water pump? No, that was fine too. Could it be the head gasket? Gulp! I took the car to #Munich-Motors in Wokingham, where Clive Sanchez has been specialising in older BMWs for several years. He soon had the Baur running smoothly again.

    The overheating turned out to be a faulty new thermostat! And fine-tuning the K-Jetronic injection was a relief, as the car had been guzzling fuel, but it was now returning a respectable 28mpg. Felt quicker with it, too. There have been several other minor problems, such as the alternator which I replaced (from #Linwa-Motors in Lancashire). I drive the car every day, but I don’t want to continue using it throughout the winter months and it’s too nice to be kept outdoors so I think I will store it until spring.

    There are many things that I want to improve, though some parts are near-impossible to find, especially in right-hand-drive form. The seats are creaky and could do with re-padding and springing. I have managed to source some original seat fabric from #BMW-Group-Classic which was an absolute find: a project for the winter.

    Above With the fuel injection sorted and a faulty thermostat replaced, the Baur Cabrio is now a star performer.

    THANKS TO Jeroen De Laat at BMWE21.net; Benjamin Voss at BMW Group Classic, realoem.com; Clive Sanchez at Munich Motors, munichmotors. co.uk; Ian Thompson at Linwar Motors, linwar.com; Chedeen Battick at Automo, automo.co.
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    Back in for final fettling 1981 BMW 323i TOP CABRIO Sanjay Seetanah

    / #1981 / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio / #BMW-323i-Top-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio / #BMW-3-Series-Cabrio-E21 / #BMW / #M20B23 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW / #BMW-323i-Baur / #BMW-323i-Baur-E21 / #BMW-323i-Baur-Cabriolet / #BAUR /

    I have been rather down in the dumps about my Baur during the last couple of months. Initial forecasts were that its restoration would have been finished last May, but work was delayed on several occasions due to parts being very difficult to source. As we edged towards the end of summer I knew all hope of enjoying the warm sunshine with the roof down was out of the question.

    But finally, and to my delight, the call came and I collected the finished car in October, with just enough pre-winter weather left to enjoy a few topless drives. And that’s when I discovered all was not as it should be.

    The car looked absolutely gorgeous but, to my horror, it drove nothing like as well as it looked. Clearly it would have to go back for some further mechanical work; as things stood, it was hard to believe this was the same car I’d delivered for a paint job 12 months before. Sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for.

    I’d bought the car largely because it drove beautifully and was mechanically sound. Before the restoration it became my daily driver and it seemed completely at home in busy traffic, quiet and very comfortable despite being 35 years old. All that was required was bodywork to match.

    Naturally I expected a few snags; when you have an engineout, ground-up restoration, it takes a while for all the components (and there were many new ones, including suspension parts) to bed-in and work together, but this felt rather more serious. The back end of the car swung out when cornering at 35mph, it stopped poorly, and the differential and gearbox whined. It would also stall in low gears, the gearshift was extremely stiff and it stank of fuel. Quite a long list of snags, then, and the car was duly returned to Automo to carry out further checks.

    Automo’s proprietor Chedeen Battick was horrified that the car had been returned to me without proper shakedown testing, and assured me that all the problems could – and would – be fixed. With winter now upon us, and the first dusting of salt having hit the roads in November, I resigned myself to the fact that I was unlikely to be driving the car again before the coming spring.

    Still, although I was gutted that I would need to wait much longer for the finished result, I was confident that the problems could be solved by Chedeen and his team. I hope my patience will finally be rewarded and that the BMW will drive as well as it looks.

    THANKS TO Chedeen Battick at Automo (www.automo.co); Katrin Mölle and Benjamin Voss at #BMW Group Classic (www.realoem.com).

    Below and right New hood and shiny red paintwork look resplendent, though more work is needed to solve the BMW’s mechanical issues.
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    BMW’s iconic #BMW-Art-Cars have been setting hearts a-flutter since #1975 but your chances of actually owning one are pretty much zero. There is, however, little stopping you from building your own… Words: Daniel Bevis /// Photos: Patrik Karlsson / #BMW-Art-Car /

    Art Attack E9 and E21 resto-modded Art Car replicas

    The BMW Art Car series is something that’s been capturing the imagination of motoring enthusiasts for generations. It all began in 1975, when French racing driver Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the 3.0 CSL that he was to drive at Le Mans. Using bold primary colours, Calder transformed the already eye-catching form of the #Group-5 E9 into something that looked like it was rapidly swishing through the scenery even when it was sitting still. It turned out to be one of the last art pieces Calder produced before his death, and in the mid-seventies it was actually a pretty astonishing move to present a car to the world as a work of art; it was, as you might imagine, even more astonishing that the flawless museum piece was then entered in the Le Mans 24hr.

    The Calder Art Car sparked off a chain reaction that resonated through the decades. The following year, Frank Stella painted an E9 CSL; the year after that, Roy Lichtenstein had a go at a Group 5 E21, then it was Andy Warhol’s turn with an M1, with the snowballing project building momentum until it all came to a head with the recently unveiled John Baldessari M6 GTLM, the 18th official #Art-Cars Car .

    Now, there have been quite a lot of other BMWs to be decorated by artists in unusual ways over the years, but these core 18 are the official ones, the bona fide commissioned #Art-Cars . They haven’t all been race cars (David Hockney’s, for example, was an 850CSi and Matazo Kayama’s was an E34 535i), but they have all been devastatingly beautiful and incomparably desirable.

    To BMW’s endless credit, the collection isn’t kept safe and secure in a hermetically sealed and top-secret location – they get toured around the world from Goodwood to Pebble Beach and beyond, and the PR bods even took them on a sort of world tour in 2012 which included a brief but comprehensive exhibition in, er, a multistory car park in Shoreditch (which was very weird, but an utter joy to attend – BMW didn’t publicise it widely, so very few people turned up; those of us that did got to enjoy some rather special alone-time with these magnificent creations).

    But just having a little look-see at the occasional show was never going to be enough for Swedish retro race enthusiast Jonas Nilsson. He had a dream, an all-consuming aspiration, to possess an Art Car of his very own. But obviously BMW would never sell him one, they’re far too valuable, so he was left with just one option: to build his own tribute to these iconic slices of history.

    As you can see here, he got a bit carried away. He hasn’t built one Art Car, but two – and that’s just about pushing the very limits of awesomeness that our brains are able to cope with. So let’s try and piece it together in as logical a way as possible, without our minds dribbling out of our ears at the sheer magnificence of it all…

    “BMWs have been special to me ever since I was a little boy, and our neighbour came driving home in his brand-new E21,” Jonas recalls. “I’ve always thought that they have very nice car models and very good performance.” Yep, no arguments here. And that early infatuation clearly planted a seed, as things have gone a bit nuts in the intervening few decades.

    “The first #BMW I owned was an E36 318iS,” he continues. “It was white, with a subtle body kit – just right for a guy in his twenties.” It wasn’t, we must point out, all about the BMWs for Jonas though, as he’s also pretty keen on Opels. His first car was a Monza GSE, and over the years he’s built some fairly impressive modified examples including a twin-turbo Monza with nitrous and a ’caged, supercharged Kadett GSi on slicks. It’s this passion for brutal performance and race car thrills that ultimately informed what you’re seeing here, allied to that early passion for BMWs. It turned out to be the perfect recipe.

    “It had always been my dream to build an Art Car, so when the opportunity to do it came up, I had to take it,” he says, matter-of-factly. “The Roy Lichtenstein E21 tribute was the first one I built, and when that was finished I felt ready to tackle another one, so I attempted the Frank Stella E9, which was the one I’d really wanted to build all along.” Blimey. He makes this deranged behaviour all sound so normal, doesn’t he? What’s arguably most impressive is that Jonas built up everything you see here himself, as you can’t just nip to Halfords and pick up a Group 5 body kit for an E21. “All the bodywork is made in steel and cannot be bought, so I made it all by myself to a plan I had in my mind,” he explains, like some kind of automotive voodoo shaman.

    “To create these two Art Cars, I actually used four cars,” he goes on. “I took two cars and cut the body from the base, then I took one base and welded it together with the other body, and to make everything fit I had to adjust the length and trim the base car to make everything match up.”

    Looking inside either one should give you a bit of a giveaway as to what resides beneath their respective skins; the E21 is all E36 inside, while the sharknose E9 has an E34 M5 hiding down there. It’s all utterly bonkers, and phenomenally impressive that he’s made it work.

    “I found the E21 at a friend’s place,” says Jonas. “It was in okay condition, but the engine didn’t work.” And what better remedy for a misfiring first-gen 3 Series than to slice the body off, plonk it on to an E36 325i chassis, and bolt on some outrageous retro racer bodywork?

    You’ll spot that the E36’s M50 engine is nestled beneath that colourful bonnet, while the 1990s underpinnings have allowed a little flexibility in upgrading things, which is why you’ll find some serious D2 coilovers in the mix along with 19” wheels. On the whole, though, the spec is relatively mild when you look at just how extreme the E9 ended up becoming.

    “I found the E9 on a car sales website, almost in mint condition,” Jonas grins, plainly unconcerned about chopping the thing up. “Whereas the E21 took about a year to build, this one took more like 18 months as there was a lot more to do.” Part of the reason for this is that he opted to complement the forthright race car looks with some appropriate power in the form of an S38 engine from an E34 M5 (which is the donor car beneath, remember) to which he’s added a Rotrex C38-81 centrifugal supercharger. It’s an astonishingly quick machine, which is just what you would hope for when you look at its angry angles and pointy aero.

    “Every detail and measurement of both cars were made from a model in 1:18 scale, including the wrapping,” Jonas explains, again shrugging off an incredibly complex engineering endeavour as if it’s all in a day’s work, and reducing us to shimmering pools of jealousy in the process. “The Art Car livery is vinyl-wrapped though if money were no object then of course I would have them painted on! And there’s not a part of either car that hasn’t been taken out and perfected before being put back in. I try to do as much as I can by myself, because I love a good challenge!” Well, yes, evidently. The work here really does speak for itself, and while Jonas’ bread-and-butter lies in the mill industry, he hopes one day to transition into building cars like this for a living; a passion that’s currently being fuelled by his new project, a race-inspired, street-legal 635CSi. If all goes well, he could one day be commissioning famous artists to adorn his creations with their colourful daubings… but for now, this pair of Art Car tributes is a fabulous showcase of his skills. BMW may take the official ones out and about, but they don’t tear around in anger like Jonas’ do. As dream two-car garages go, this one really is a work of art.

    TECHNICAL DATA FILE BMW #Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9 / #Rotrex / #Rotrex-C38 / #BMW-E9-Frank-Stella / #BMW-E9-Art-Car / #BMW-E9-Art-Car-Replica /

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 3.5-litre straight-six #S38B36 / #BMW-S38 / #S38 , #Rotrex-C38-81 centrifugal supercharger, chargecooler, race aluminium cooler with Evans waterless coolant, Nuke Blackline linear FPR, Nuke fuel rail, #Nuke-Blackline filter, #ECUMaster management, five-speed #Getrag-280 manual gearbox, Tilton racing clutch, modified cardan shaft, 40% locking diff, 2.87:1 final drive, 210 diff housing, forged CrMo driveshafts

    CHASSIS 10x19” (front) and 13x19” (rear) HRE 508 wheels with 265/30 (front) and 345/35 (rear) Michelin Pilot Super Sport tyres, E34 D2 coilovers, D2 Racing big brake kit with eight-pot calipers and 380mm discs (front) and six-pot calipers and 380mm discs (rear)

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, Frank Stella Art Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E34 M5 dash, Cobra Misano Anniversary seats, custom-trimmed matching rear seats and doorcards


    TECHNICAL DATA FILE #Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-E21-Roy-Lichtenstein / #BMW-E21-Art-Car / #BMW-E21-Art-Car-Replica / #BMW-Art-Car-Replica / #Art-Car-Replica

    ENGINE AND TRANSMISSION 2.5-litre straight-six #M50B25 / #BMW-M50 / #M50 , five-speed #Getrag manual gearbox

    CHASSIS 9.5x19” (front) and 11x19” (rear) #Rennsport wheels with 265/30 Hankook Ventus S1 Evo (front) and 325/30 Dunlop Sport Maxx Race (rear) tyres, E36 D2 coilovers, #Powerflex bushes

    EXTERIOR Custom handmade all-steel Group 5 bodywork, #Roy-Lichtenstein-Art-Car tribute livery

    INTERIOR E36 interior blended with original E21
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    Extraordinary #Art-Cars replica resto-modded E9 and E21!
    / #BMW-Art-Car / #BMW-E9 / #BMW-E21 / #BMW / #BMW-E9-Art-Car / #BMW-E21-Art-Car
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    DUE DILIGENCE Stunning super-rare E21 323i / #JPS / #BMW-E21 / #BMW-323i / #BMW-323i-E21 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E21 / #BMW-323i-JPS / #BMW-323i-JPS-E21 / #Getrag / #Getrag-245 / #M20B27 / #BMW-M20 / #M20 / #BMW /

    Due Diligence The story of one man’s love affair with JPS BMWs and in particular his stunning E21 323i example. Hard work, combined with a bit of luck, can take you a long way. In Australian Stewart Garmey’s case, it took him around the world as he helped other BMW enthusiasts, and also led him to possibly one of the rarest limited edition BMWs made. Words and photography: Chris Nicholls.

    It takes a unique level of dedication to spend a quarter of a century committed to a brand. And not just committed for your own purposes, but working tirelessly to help fellow enthusiasts enjoy their BMWs, wherever in the world they may be. That’s the kind of dedication Australian, Stewart Garmey has, though. A BMW fan since 1977, when a friend let him drive his then-new 2002 in New Zealand, Stewart finally got his own ‘02 in 1989 (a Taiga green Tii) after his mother passed away. “I always promised myself a 2002, and when my mum passed away in 1989, she left me a small inheritance. My wife said my mum had always promised me a BMW, so I better go and do it!”

    Having taken the plunge, he undertook a bare metal restoration of the car and also joined the BMW Club of Victoria, spending the next 25 years attending club meets, participating in show ’n’ shines and organising things. From 1997-2001 he worked as club president, eventually joining the board of BMW Clubs Australia, and in 2004 he even became the Australian delegate to the International Council of BMW Clubs – a position he held for the next ten years. In 2015, in recognition of all his hard work, Stewart received the ‘Friend of the Marque’ accolade, becoming only the 48th council member to be awarded it, and the sixth Australian. It’s something he is justifiably proud of, saying it was like “getting the Brownlow” (the Aussie Rules equivalent of the PFA Player’s Player of the Year award).

    Of course, just owning a BMW (no matter how nicely restored) and working hard for club members worldwide was probably not going to get him Friend of the Marque, but Stewart proved his love for the brand over many years with further acquisitions. There was an immaculate Henna red South African-built E28 M5 we featured in our October 2014 issue that was so spectacular Stewart even received an offer for it from Ralf Rodepeter at the BMW Museum (a sale that only fell through because BMW claimed it would have trouble insuring the RHD car in Germany). He’s also owned a JPS 323i that he sold a while back, and he currently has a E92 325i Coupé and E91 323i Motorsport Touring he and his wife use as their current daily drivers respectively. Oh, and because clearly he hasn’t done enough for BMW as it is, Stewart runs a register of JPS BMWs (both the Australian factory race cars and road-going special editions made to order in Australia to commemorate them) in his spare time, as no factory records are thought to exist now.

    Now, for those who may not know, here’s a little more information on these Australian-only specials… Covering many different models, they were commissioned by BMW Australia to cash-in on the Team JPS BMW Group 5 and Group A cars of the ’80s. Available only by request, each one came with gold-centred BBS-Mahle wheels, rib-back Recaro seats, an M1 steering wheel, #JPS badges, a build numberplate and the signature black-with-gold-pinstripe livery. According to Stewart’s research, there was only one E12 sold, 100 E21s, perhaps only four or five E24s, just two E28s (one each for JPS team boss #Frank-Gardner and lead driver Jim Richards), and around 30 E30s. Stewart believes only about 15 E30s, 20 E21s, one E28 and an unknown number of the rest survive today, making them very rare beasts.

    It’s thanks to this research and subsequent knowledge of these JPS cars that Stewart was quickly able to discover that his second E21 323i example might be one of the rarest of them all – a 2.7-litre special order version, not fitted with the lazy M20B27 used in other factory BMWs over the years, but a stroker built locally using the 2.3-litre block and fitted with new crankshaft and rods, giving it a totally different character to the factory motor, as well as more power. “We’ve had people look at it and play with it, and almost beyond doubt now, it is one of the three [known] 2.7-litre strokers,” he says. “The fact it’s got the close-ratio 245 dog-leg Getrag and #LSD behind it suggests that it is the big engine. It certainly goes like it is, and when you hear it idle, it’s very cammy and lumpy.”

    Having heard the car during the shoot, that’s something we can definitely confirm. And with Stewart revealing one of the three 2.7s was written off in a crash a while back, that makes his – number 47 of the 100 E21s, according to the dash-mounted build plate – possibly one of two.

    The rather amusing thing is that, while Stewart’s hard work was responsible for him discovering how rare this car might be, it was just dumb luck that led him to it in the first place. Having sold off his other toys due to the need to downsize his house, he was apparently experiencing “withdrawal symptoms”, and decided to start looking around to see what was available. Lo and behold, this little example appeared on his radar, although it was, by Stewart’s reckoning, rather overpriced at first.

    “I saw it advertised for $27,000, rang the bloke and told him he was dreaming. He replied that that was what the car owed him, to which I retorted that what it owes him and what it’s worth are two very different stories indeed! However, I watched it for nine months, and kept in touch. Then one day he asked me what it was worth, which was $10-12,000 tops. After a bit of soul-searching he finally told me he wouldn’t take less than $10,000 for it and I told him I’d see him on Saturday morning! So I flew up to Brisbane, saw it and bought it.”

    Obviously neither Stewart nor the previous owner knew at the time that it was likely a 2.7, so clearly Stewart ended up with a bit of a bargain, although its imperfect mechanical condition meant he had to spend quite a lot of time and money ensuring it was back to its former glory. Perhaps oddly, Stewart revealed it didn’t seem too bad on his initial test drive, but once he got it trucked back to Melbourne (a wise decision in retrospect), the full extent of the issues revealed themselves.

    “I drove it while I was there and I was impressed by the way it went, but after 2000 kilometres in a car that hadn’t done a lot of work for a while (it had been a sit-around toy) combined with the fact I didn’t know it… it was too far, so I paid for it to come back to my house on a truck. Which is just as well that I did, as it had things like the exhaust system [being] held on with pull-up ties. It was also missing bits in the front suspension and the brake sensors weren’t fitted… silly little bits like that, so it was a good move.”

    This all happened back in July last year, and Stewart’s spent all the time until now fixing it up. That meant, on top of sorting the aforementioned urgent issues, Stewart had to replace many items in the engine bay, such as the strut-top caps, as well as order custom-made JPS C-pillar badges as they were missing. To match his high standards, he also had to get all five original wheels restored, replace all four headlight lenses, remove an additional gold pin-stripe that wasn’t meant to be there, put in a new dashboard, get the M1 wheel retrimmed and recover the unique Recaro seats.

    This last job proved quite the challenge, as the black side bolster fabric he needed was only used on those seats in period and was no longer in production. However, here again Stewart’s nouse and hard work paid off as many phone calls later, he eventually found out via a Sydney shop that the same material, albeit in green, was used on Holden Commodore SLEs at the time, and due to the Commodore’s enduring popularity, Stewart easily found the fabric and had it dyed black. After getting them done by his friend Ray at Bray Mills Automotive Trimming in Heidelberg in Melbourne’s north east, Stewart says the seat material “worked beautifully”.

    Amazingly, despite how good the car looks now as a result of all this work, Stewart’s not done yet. At the time of the shoot, he’d just ordered a new headliner from America as the original one had rust stains in it, and the carpets were nowhere near his usual standards, so he was going to replace those, too.

    Indeed, as you might have gathered, Stewart is pretty meticulous about his cars in general. His 2002 and M5 won so many BMW Club of Victoria concours events other members complained there was no point entering their cars – to which he responded “I’m not going to back down – if somebody beats me, they beat me, fair enough, but I’m not going to roll over.”

    He also never allows anyone other than he and his wife to sit in his toys with regular outdoor shoes on, and even he and his wife dust their shoes off before getting in. When it came to detailing this car, he says: “It lived up on wheel stands for about three months because I was detailing under the guards.” He also detailed the suspension while he was there and, because it had aftermarket stainless mufflers fitted by a previous owner, Stewart polished those up, too.

    All this graft is, perhaps, more evidence that effort, combined with luck, can indeed net you amazing results. As you can see, even in the car’s supposedly incomplete state, it’s a stunner. The sheer gloss Stewart’s managed to achieve with the original paint, and the near flawless finish on the (unfinished) interior all point to how much effort’s gone into it.

    Refreshingly, as you can see by the fact he was happy to get the car shot on a dirt road, Stewart isn’t overly precious about using it, either. He plans on taking it out regularly for club events and while there will, no doubt, be times when he’s too busy polishing it to make every meet, he always makes as much of an effort as he can. Because clearly, the rewards are worth it.

    “The fact it’s got the close-ratio 245 dog-leg Getrag and LSD behind it suggests that it is the big engine. It certainly goes like it is”
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    Classics at La Sarthe The biennial gathering for the #2016-Le-Mans-Classic always attracts some stunning BMWs. If you’re keen on classic racing you really should take a trip down memory lane at the biennial Le Mans Classic Words: Jeroen de Laat. Photography: De Laat Foto / #Le-Mans-Classic

    Once a year the streets of #Le-Mans and surrounding villages combine together to create one of the longest and most demanding race circuits in the world. Although the shape and length of the track has been modified several times over the past century, the Circuit de la Sarthe has been hosting a 24-hour motor race here since 1923. The track’s basis is formed by the pit straight and some other parts of the short permanent Bugatti circuit, including the legendary Esses chicane and the iconic Dunlop Bridge. But the larger part consists of roads that are open to the public for the rest of the year, making a total length of 13.6km in its current shape. The fact that 85 percent of the lap is spent at full throttle makes it a fast track that is extremely demanding for man and machine. This is part of the appeal for teams, drivers and spectators alike, and one of the reasons why this amazing circuit is almost celebrating its 100th anniversary.

    With the ever-increasing number of spectators, as well as the extensive safety measures required to turn roads into a race track, the event requires a lot of preparation. And that is what caused French classic event organiser Patrick Peter to have a brainwave approximately a decade ago. Why not benefit from all these efforts and have a classic race on this temporary track as well? The operator of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO), liked the idea and Le Mans Classic was born.

    The event has a 24-hour format, although realistically we cannot expect the legendary and often priceless racers of yesteryear to compete for 24 hours, so the past century of motoring is divided into six eras making six classes, so cars can compete with their contemporary rivals. Each grid performs several one-hour stints over a period of 24 hours, so in total there is 24 hours of continuous and varied action.

    The 2016 Le Mans Classic was the eighth running of this classic event. Taking place every other year it is blessed with a booming public interest that resembles the original 24-hour race. And just like that event, there were a series of support events to get the public warmed up. These included: close to 40 Group C cars racing, including 20 of Porsche’s legendary 962; the Jaguar Classic Series, which saw 19 times 24-Heures participant Andy Wallace win at the wheel of the D-Type which won the race in 1955 (driven by Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb); and Little Big Mans, where the kids do their own race in miniature versions of the actual Le Mans cars, complete with a running Le Mans start and driven by real petrol engines. There’s also a great car auction, while the exceptionally sunny and warm weather completed this year’s package.

    It was no wonder then that a record 123,000 spectators flocked to the circuit to see 550 cars, 1000 drivers (among them ten former Le Mans winners) and 8500 club cars on display. The event saw a celebration of BMW’s centenary in the form of popular club sessions, which allowed club members the rare opportunity of doing a few laps on the official circuit, and BMW demos, which featured BMW M cars ranging from the earliest cars up to the most recent models. We were very happy to get a few passenger laps to experience the track in its full glory!

    In BMW’s exhibition we found several special cars including: the legendary #BMW-328-Touring-Le-Mans ; a 507 Roadster; the 1977 Roy Lichtenstein E21 320i Art Car (that participated in the 1977 Le Mans race); and the V12 LMR that took the overall victory in 1999.

    Need more? How about the prestigious Concours Le Mans Heritage Club for cars that actually raced at Le Mans awarding the McLaren F1 GTR with a best in class award for the 1983-2016 period? And all this was on offer even before the racing began in earnest!

    On the Saturday afternoon Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, main sponsor Richard Mille (main partner of Le Mans Classic with EFG), and Pharrell Williams opened the event under the supervision of FIA president Jean Todt. The event started off with the oldest cars in ‘Plateau One’. A Swiss gentleman we have seen racing BMWs many times before, Christian Traber (who is well-known behind the steering wheel of a 2002 and an #BMW-M1-E26 / #BMW-E26 ), was now racing against BMW.

    Together with the American former SCCA driver, Spencer Trenery, they steered their 1939 Talbot Lago to first position overall, with another Talbot right behind them, relegating the BMW 328s to third and fourth places; the French équipe Bally/Leseur took third with the German 328 team Otten and Horbach not far behind. In total nine 328s took part. It was amazing to see so many of these cars on track at one time, and it gave us a real feeling for what club racing must have been like in the late 1930s.

    Apart from the BMW engines in several prototype cars from the 1960s and 1970s, especially the #M10 and #M12 four-cylinder, we saw a #BMW-2002 in action. The Group 2 2002Ti of Renavand and Bonny completed the event without issue and even though there was no fighting the mighty Lola T70s and the M12-powered Chevrons, they duo stood their ground in their own class.

    More BMW action was to be had when the ‘Plateau Six’ cars entered the arena. Two wonderful #BMW-E9 3.0 CSL Coupés caught our eye. Adrian Brady had a disappointing event when he ran into issues with his CSL during qualifying. Even though the mechanics thought it was only a head gasket failure they didn’t want to take any risks with the rare #BMW-M49 engine and parked the car up for the rest of the event. The second #BMW-3.0-CSL-E9 driven by Werginz/Janits/Andree/Huber failed after just two laps into race two. We spoke to Andree afterwards and learned that a broken con rod bolt unfortunately ruined their event. It was a pity after seeing so many CSLs being successful run at other events.

    In grid number six we saw some flame-spitting Lola prototypes, although when it came to BMWs spitting flames, the M1 immediately comes to mind. Christian Traber was fastest of his class with his M1 but two other M1s also completed the event without any issues.

    Every edition of Le Mans Classic is bigger and better than the previous one, and this eighth running of the event was no exception. It was a wonderful experience. The only down side is that we now need to wait two years for the next one. We recommend that you make a note in your diary to keep some days free in July 2018!

    Lovely #BMW-507 and V12 LMR were exhibited in the BMW pavilion; this year’s event was opened by Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake, Richard Mille, Pharrell Williams and Jean Todt.

    Mixed grids add to the glamour of the Le Mans Classic.

    Right: BMW-engined Lola caught in wonderful flame-spitting action.

    Above: Superb #BMW-2002-Ti-Group-2 car of Renavand and Bonny went very well in ‘Plateau 5’ but couldn’t hope to keep up with the Lolas, Porsches and Ferraris in its class. Below and Left: #BMW owners had the rare chance to drive the full Le Mans circuit in their road-going cars during the event.

    Even though they never won the event the #BMW-M1 is always linked with Le Mans – they competed here for eight consecutive years from 1979 to 1986 – and Christian Traber’s example (above, seen leading a Ferrari 512 BB LM) was as quick as ever being the fastest M1 in its class. Below: The Latham and Baud M1 looking great with driving lights fitted.

    Above: Little Big Mans sees children competing in scaled down replicas complete with the traditional Le Mans running start! Left: Stunning (full-size) #BMW-328 pulling away from the start.

    The Roy Lichtenstein #BMW-E21 / #BMW-320i-Art-Car that took part in the 1977 Le Mans race looked as fantastic as ever – what a machine!

    Sadly both the CSLs entered this year suffered engine troubles but we know they’ll be back to fight another day.
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