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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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    STOP THE PRESS / #1990-BMW-325i-Sport-E30 / #BMW-325i-Sport-E30 / #1990 / #BMW-325i-E30 / #BMW-325i-Sport / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /

    A BMW that’s more than a bit of all white

    How about this for some old-school 1980s cool – a white BMW 325i Sport. Well, it’s a 1990 car, but still... It’s up for grabs with Anglia Car Auctions at its 24 August sale – but this is more than just any auction car. Firstly, 20% of the hammer price and all fees will be donated to the Lennox Children’s Cancer Fund.

    Secondly, it’s a car that ACA themselves have gone to town on. The camshafts and cambelts were replaced 200 miles ago, and the bodykit carefully removed and any problems with the body addressed (again only using original BMW parts) before being put back together again. ACA estimates that £20,000 has been invested in the car. Its paperwork includes the original service book, receipts and MoTs. It was stored between 2007 and 2012, and its mileage stands at 110,825 miles. The car is being sold with no reserve; so a chance of a bargain, a greatcondition car and you’re doing some good. Definition of a guilt-free purchase? More details at angliacarauctions.co.uk
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    Book your flights to Portugal now / #BMW-M3-Convertible-E30 / #BMW-M3-Convertible / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW

    RM Sotheby’s has announced a special single collection sale with all cars at no reserve. The 130-car Sáragga Collection sale on 21 Sept in Comporta, Portugal will feature an eclectic mix ranging from a Maserati Royale to several 911s and this BMW-M3-Convertible-E30 . rmsothebys.com
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    Best buys 2019 / #BMW-E30 / #BMW /

    Thoroughly enjoyed Mr Quentin Willson’s recent piece on Smart Buys, all lovely cars and sage words indeed. Many years ago, I decided to hunt down a nice BMW-E30 when they were plentiful and relatively cheap – a £1000 or so would get you on the ladder and £3-4k would buy a really nice one. After looking at several saloons that didn’t quite tick the box I chanced upon a nice manual #BMW-325i-Touring-E30 in Malachite Green and snapped it up. I still have it today and although I bought the E30 so I could enjoy driving it and without consideration to future values, it’s reassuring to know it has earned its keep over the years.
    • Smart BMW, smarter Alfa? I can’t help sharing Quentin Willson’s advice (Smart Buys) on the E30 Touring – stylish, relatively practical and just magi Smart BMW, smarter Alfa?

      I can’t help sharing Quentin Willson’s advice (Smart Buys) on the E30 Touring – stylish, relatively practical and just magical with that straight-six. I had been considering buying one but a Dutch ad for a 72,000km, one-family-owned Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon 2.5 V6 24v in light metallic green with natural leather made me change my mind – even though I had sworn I wouldn’t buy another Italian car after selling my beloved but troublesome Lancia HP Executive.

      They are not as in-demand as the E30 Touring, but in my opinion just as stylish and enjoyable. Moreover, they are much cheaper – at least to buy – if you can find one of course. The only fault identified so far is that they turn like trucks, and I am of course (mentally and financially) preparing for the €2000+ timing belt and water pump replacement. With that, a full service, tyres and compete detailing, the Alfa will cost me €10,000 – about half the price of a 325i in the same condition! That’s just unbeatable as far as I’m concerned.
        More ...
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    / #1990-BMW-318i-E30 / #1990 / #BMW-318i-E30 / #BMW-318i / #BMW-E30 / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW / #1990-BMW-318i-Automatic-E30 / #BMW-318i-Automatic-E30

    £6820

    Brightwells, Leominster, March 6 Quentin delved into the BMW E30’s rising status in the last issue, where he understandably favoured the 2.5-litre cars. It seems that collective enthusiasm has already spread to lesser models – this was an overestimate result for a four-pot, four-door E30 with an auto ‘box. Balancing all that out was pretty minimal mileage at 38,350, most of its life with the same family, plus plenty of history.
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    E30 M3 STAYS COOL AT 215MPH / #BMW-E30 / #BMW / #BMW-M3-E30

    A tuned E30-generation #BMW-M3 has broken the ice speed record in Sweden. Buldre Racing Team recorded an average speed of 212mph at the Swedish Speedweek in Årsunda, recording a high of 215.5mph on one run.

    As you might have guessed, it’s no factory-spec M3, though – under the bonnet is a #Toyota-2JZ pumping out 1300bhp. This beats the team’s previous effort in an Audi RS4, which had the safety net of four-wheel drive...Watch it at
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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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    MARK B’S #BMW-E30 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E30 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E30 / #BMW

    Well it’s been a busy month or so and I’m pleased to be able to say that all remains well with my E30 M3. In fact, a recent trip up to Silverstone for the Pistonheads Sunday Service saw me cover nigh-on 550 miles in one day.

    The only real drawback with living here in Cornwall is everything else is just so bloody far away! Oh and that we don’t have a race circuit, although once my lottery millions roll in I plan to remedy that situation with a mini Nürburgring! I simply need to win the lottery first! Anyway, I had never driven Silverstone before, but the Pistonheads event had 30 minute sessions available for just £40, so I figured it was worth the trip. As well as a chance to get out on track there is usually a good mix of cars there to drool over and there was even a bit of sun forecast to make an appearance. I also knew that Sam Ratcliffe was due to be there in his stunning E46 M3 track car, which is just about my perfect specification. Added to which he can pedal a bit and who doesn’t like seeing an M3 getting used properly on track? In fact, look up DannyDC2 on YouTube and you can see both Sam and Dan driving their M3s back at Silverstone a week or so later.

    Anyway, the trip up in the E30 went without incident, although it has to be said that the Nankang AR-1 tyres aren’t exactly ideal on a cold autumn morning. I did consider swapping over to my spare wheels that wear an all-weather Toyo TR1, but as the forecast was for dry and bright weather I figured it best to stay with the Nankang and just be a bit more careful driving up. Once I was within a few miles of Silverstone I soon began to spot other cars heading to the same event. I ended up in convoy with a pair of serious-looking Caterhams, a stunning blue 911 GT3 and a Clio Sport. It reminded me just how useful a roof and windscreen are as the Caterham looked a bit of a chilly and damp place to be thanks to the early morning drizzle.

    Once we reached the circuit I was directed to the pit garages, while the rest of the convoy went into the main car park and joined the rest of the event. There were so many great cars there and a few rarities, such as the Renault 5 Turbo 2 and a pair of Nobles. There were several of the usual suspects that you see at track days, such as a 911 GT3 RS and the later incarnations of the M3 and M5, with a lovely track-prepared E34 M5 being a favourite of mine. The drizzle had stopped but the track was still pretty wet and there was certainly no visible dry line. Sadly one unlucky M3 owner had a pretty big off and wiped out the front of his car in a big way. Fortunately he wasn’t hurt, though, and an initial inspection suggested his M3 wasn’t beyond repair. It was still a sobering reminder of how quickly things can go wrong if you push a little too hard or get caught unaware by changing track conditions.

    The time for my sessions soon rolled around and I lined up in the pit lane behind a lovely-looking Noble. The track had been drying out but there were still lots of wet patches to look out for and I knew my tyres needed a bit of heat before they’d have any real grip. There was also the added factor that my only experience of Silverstone was driving it at home on the PS4 and Project Cars, where spinning out in a Group A E30 M3 doesn’t matter. I opted to try and stay to the right (letting the faster cars past with a cursory flick of the indicators to confirm my intentions) and simply enjoy being on such a historic track and being able to really stretch the E30’s legs. One of the many things I love about the E30 M3 is just how communicative the chassis is. It’s just so easy to feel exactly what the car is doing beneath you and the feedback through the steering means that even clumsy amateurs like myself can make a reasonable job of putting a respectable lap in. The more laps I did, the drier the racing line got and the more my confidence grew. The only downside was that the KW Competition suspension I run is just a bit too firm for wet conditions. Ideally you want a bit of body roll, so the weight shifts and pushes the tyre contact patch into the tarmac, so I could have disconnected the ARB if I’d had more time, but it was still great fun all the same and reminded me just how capable the E30 M3 really is out on track. I had a couple of moments going into the faster corners where the inside rear caught the wet outer edge of the track and lost grip but it just made me more determined to go back once spring gets here next year.

    The drive home (after checking the engine oil, coolant, tyre pressures etc.) was just as uneventful as the drive up. I always enjoy seeing people react to spotting a track prep’d E30 M3 go past amongst a sea of modern Euro boxes, though. The engine has been great and, even out on track, the oil and coolant temperatures stayed perfectly constant, as did the oil pressure. I’m off to Mallory Park in late November so will need to change the oil and filter before then and have Joe at ARM BMW do a spanner check. I also plan on fitting some new brake pads from Pagid and fitting a vinyl sun strip on the windscreen now that the winter sun is so much lower, as the cage stops the OE sun visors from being used. I’m also thinking of getting Apex to supply a set of their stunning dished ARC-8 alloys.

    THANKS Joe @ ARM as ever Pistonheads Sunday Service Silverstone Circuit Nankang UK Apex

    BMW E30 M3 felt at home around Silverstone.
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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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