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    ELLIOTT STILING
    1988 E32 750iL V12
    2017 F22 230i M SPORT COUPÉ
    1983 ALPINA B9 3.5 (E28)

    Alpina B9 3.5 (E28)
    YEAR: 1983
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 138,520
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 0
    TOTAL COST: £25 (relays), £10 (fuel hose), £40 (ignition coil), £20 (distributor)

    E32 750iL #BMW-V12 / / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW / #M70 / #BMW-M70
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 119,572
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 12
    MPG THIS MONTH: 18.7
    TOTAL COST: £136.14 (MoT work), £10 (seatbelt buckle), £50 (storage)

    F22 230i Coupé
    YEAR: 2017
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 18,934
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 851
    MPG THIS MONTH: 38.7
    TOTAL COST: Still none

    Last month I made a promise to update you on Maggie’s #MoT and the Alpina’s non-start issue, so here goes.

    The annual MoT test can be a nerve-wracking ordeal for any classic car owner, but I had faith that Maggie’s test wouldn’t produce a fail sheet as long as my arm. Thankfully, as it turned out, my hunch was spot-on!
    The fail list consisted of two tyres which were not fitted in accordance with the side wall instructions, a windscreen wiper that doesn’t clear the windscreen effectively, the horn not working, a rear seatbelt buckle that was found to be broken and a ball joint dust cover that was no longer preventing the ingress of dirt. However, all things considered, I didn’t think there was actually terribly much to put right and, to be honest, most of them were things that I was already aware of. What’s more, the bill wasn’t too bad at all, either, at just £136.14, which included the test fee. Sadly, though, that inner glow of well-being wasn’t to last.

    While I was out with the car on the photoshoot for this month’s E32 Buyers Guide, I suddenly became aware of an odd, groaning and grinding sound emanating from somewhere under the bonnet. It lasted for a few miles until the power steering failed followed, shortly after that, by a loss of brake pressure. Thankfully, we managed to get all the photos we needed for the feature, and then limped Maggie home without further incident. She’s now sitting patiently, awaiting a slot at the garage to investigate things further.

    Early research would suggest that the most likely culprits could be either a failed power steering pump, air being drawn into the system, a drive belt failure or a brake bomb failure. However, it shouldn’t be the latter as that part was replaced fairly recently, but I’ll just have to wait and see what the garage can find.

    As you saw last month, I’m also having some challenges with the Alpina. It’s never once failed to start in all the time I’ve owned it, but is definitely showing not the slightest interest in fi ring-up now. In an effort to isolate the problem, I bought myself a multimeter and began testing various parts with that. But, in the end, I think it’s better to just replace the most likely candidates, on the basis that they will all then have another fresh lifespan on them.

    Finding parts hasn’t been overly challenging, although you can’t really buy bigger parts from BMW any more. Thankfully, though, there are plenty of alternative options online. So far, I’ve picked up a new distributor and rotor arm, a DME relay, fuel pump relay and an ignition coil. Hopefully, I will find time in the next week or so to fi t these myself, and see if that does the job. I’ve also noticed a strong smell of petrol coming from under the bonnet, and have traced that back to the fuel pipe that runs to the cold start injector. I don’t think it’s related to the starting issue but, clearly, a weeping fuel line in the engine bay is never a good idea, so I’ll be tackling that, also.

    If there’s one positive thing to come out of the current situation, it’s that I get to spend a bit of time getting hands-on with the Alpina; E28s are always nice cars to work on. Of course, if the problem turns out to be more involved than I’m currently hoping, I might be forced to eat those words! It does mean, though, that the car won’t see the light of day this side of Christmas, because I’m struggling to see a time when I can get the subsequent MoT sorted before we go away to the West Coast of Scotland in the New Year.

    Below: The E28 is a good car to work on which, as it turns out, is a good thing. For the first time since I’ve had the Alpina, it won’t start and I’ve yet to isolate the problem. But among the new electrical components I’ve already sourced online, is a new #distributor .

    The Alpina’s also developed a fuel leak, coming from the pipe that supplies the cold start #injector .

    The annual MoT test can be a nerve-wracking ordeal for any classic car owner, but I had faith that Maggie’s test wouldn’t produce a fail sheet as long as my arm. Despite the MoT test success, Maggie rather blotted her copybook on a recent BMW Car magazine photo shoot, with an as yet unidentified power steering and brake pressure failure.
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    ELLIOTT STILING 1983 E28 ALPINA B9 3.5 / 1988 E32 750iL #V12

    / #BMW / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-V12 / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-750i-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32
    YEAR: #1988
    CAR: E28 Alpina B9 3.5
    YEAR: 1983
    TOTAL MILEAGE: Can’t remember
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 0
    MPG THIS MONTH: 0
    TOTAL COST: 0

    CAR: E32 750iL V12
    YEAR: 1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 118,797
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 0
    MPG THIS MONTH: 0
    TOTAL COST: Racking-up!

    This month has been all about the 750iL. I dropped by Hardings Garage to see how Steve and Dale have been getting on, and am happy to report that good progress has been made.

    The guys have fitted the non-electronic suspension and it was a relief to hear that the job went well – partially because that should translate into a slightly more palatable labour bill, although I have no idea what this is all costing, because we haven’t agreed any figures yet!

    Before deciding to have that work done, I researched the modification, and it was clear that the removal of the failed EDC insert from the strut sleeve could be both challenging and frustrating. I was expecting an ‘if we knew it would be this bad, we wouldn’t have agreed to do it’-type conversation, but Steve said the old insert came out really easily, then the new one went in perfectly.

    The next job is to delete the SLS or Self Levelling (rear) Suspension because, as you can see from the photograph, the rear ride height isn’t correct yet. If you look closely, you’ll also see that the system threw all of its fluid out over the ramp when powered-up for the first time. Hopefully, though, this should be as easy to sort as the internet suggests. The other main job needed was to fix the solid brake pedal problem, which has afflicted the car ever since I bought it. Of course, the previous owner didn’t know anything about that... cough.

    Despite replacing another part in the braking system a few months ago, it’s now apparent the actual culprit is the brake accumulator sphere. This device meters out the hydraulic pressure for the brakes and steering, and complete failure of this part means you have neither when you need them most – gulp.
    However, the bad news is that after researching the correct part number, I’ve discovered that it isn’t available anywhere. Internationally, BMW itself scrapped all remaining spheres in 2014, when the newest stock reached its maximum stocking age of five years.

    Despite scouring the (internet) world, I cannot find another matching sphere anywhere, so all V12 E32 owners worldwide could suffer from this challenge. So, with necessity being the mother of all creation, we’ve had to think outside the box to solve this one.

    There’s no way an E32 V12 should be consigned to being a parts car because a single component in the braking system isn’t available. I could fit a second-hand part, maybe, but it’ll be the same age as the part that’s failed. That doesn’t make much sense, so I’ve bought a brand new 735i part instead, and have tasked Hardings with modifying it to fi t, and thus keep my old girl running.

    We have a date with an M760Li coming up soon (keep your eyes peeled for a future issue), and I want to make sure Maggie puts in a good showing. More next month on whether the modification worked because, as we stand right now, I don’t actually have a credible Plan B.

    There’s work still to be done on the 750iL’s suspension. Having removed the EDC units, the ride height needs further adjustment, and then there’s the fluid loss…

    This is a 735i brake accumulator sphere. The correct part for the 750iL is no longer available from BMW, so let’s hope this one can be adapted as necessary.
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    Elliott Stiling
    Elliott Stiling joined the group VW Golf III
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    CAR: #BMW / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-V12 / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-750i-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32
    YEAR: #1988
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 118,797
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 496
    MPG THIS MONTH: 17.9
    TOTAL COST: £286 (dampers)

    I had hoped to have a fully, fighting-fit #BMW-7-Series for inclusion this month but, sadly, only some of the jobs have been ticked-off the ‘to do’ list. The spark plugs and leads have been fitted, and I’m pleased to report that the engine’s turbine-like approach to business has been restored. The hydraulic brake cylinder has been fitted too, together with a full brake service. Sadly, though, this identified broken bleed nipples on the front calipers, so both had to be replaced – an expense I wasn’t predicting and, while it’s probably not the end of the world, I haven’t had the bill for them yet! Unfortunately, this work hasn’t cured the brake pedal pressure problem I’ve mentioned here in the past, so it’s now looking like I’ll need to source a new brake accumulator. BMW don’t have one in stock apparently (and I’d no doubt have heart failure at the price, even if they did!), so I think a bit of a Google/ forum searching session will be required.

    With workshop space at a premium, Hardings asked if I could take the car back, at least until I managed to get the suspension parts the car needs, so I’ve taken the opportunity to use the car pretty much as a daily-driver. It’s done everything this month from B&Q trips, commuting, plus some decent motorway schleps, seriously boosting this month’s mileage. It’s been an interesting exercise actually, and I’ll report on my thoughts and findings soon.

    In the meantime, I’ve finally managed to track down some matching, Monroe non-EDC dampers for the car, for the bargain price of £286. Funnily enough, they came from Eastern Europe, which seems to be a new parts haven for classic BMWs. Now, with MoT day looming, ‘Maggie’ is back at Hardings awaiting her leg transplants, and the completion of the rest of the outstanding jobs. Something tells me that this garage session is going to cost me…

    Bargain-priced #Monroe dampers, hot off the courier van from Eastern Europe!

    My 750iL still isn’t fully fighting fit, but we’re getting closer.
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    PUTTING THE BOOT IN #Volkswagen-Jetta-Mk4-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI / #Volkswagen-Jetta-1.9TDI-Mk4 / #Volkswagen-Jetta / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora / #VAG / #Volkswagen / #Volkswagen-Bora-TDI / #VW / #Volkswagen-Bora-IV / #Volkswagen-Bora-1.9TDI / #OZ

    We don’t tend to get too excited over modified Boras these days because we very rarely get the chance, but Anthony Warrior’s example literally stopped us in our tracks. Just look at it! Words: Elliott Roberts. Photos: Si Gray.

    It’s funny, but looking back over the years, we’ve only ever featured a small number of Boras on these hallowed pages – the majority of which have been created across the pond. I’d go so far as to say you could probably count the amount of full-fat, UK-built Boras on one hand. The booted version of the Golf just never really took off here in the UK, largely because people didn’t deem it as sporty as the hatchback or as practical as the estate. Understandably we’re more than a little bit excited to bring you coverage of what Anthony Warrior’s vision of a sporty Bora should look like. It’s more than simply a breath of fresh air… it’s awe-inspiring!

    Despite being very fond of cars from an early age, the engineer from Darlington didn’t pass his driving test until he was 21! “I was certainly a late starter, that’s for sure. I remember as a kid that my dad was always a Ford man, but for me it was hearing my friend’s Mk3 Golf VR6 for the first time. That triggered my passion and love for all things VW almost instantly,” he confessed. Despite initially being into the idea of getting a Golf, due to owning quite a large dog Anthony’s other half, Claire, insisted that it had to be a five-door: “I’m not keen on five-door Golfs to be honest,” said the 35-year-old, “so I started looking at Boras and ended up buying this one.”

    The car might have only had one previous owner and been low mileage with just 50k miles on the clock, but it was totally bone stock and that just wouldn’t do. “Okay, I can honestly say that all I ever really planned originally was a set of wheels and perhaps a remap. Now, some 12-years, five sets of wheels, three sets of coilovers, air ride and £1000s spent on bodywork and interior, I can safely say I didn’t intend to go this far.”

    Anthony’s modified journey didn’t begin all that positively though, with a set of 18” Audi A8 replica wheels shod in equally awful balloon tyres being his first step on the ladder. It was actually PVW’s very own Dave Kennedy, or rather his Bora project, that helped Anthony see the light: “I have to say that I’ll always remember watching the progress of Dave’s black car… And those huge wheels he attempted to fit to it.” Needless to say after the rep’s came a set of BBS RCs, followed by a couple of sets of BMW wheels before Anthony finally wound up with his current set-up: “The wheels were something that took ages to get right, especially as they’re 20s, which nobody had really done at the time or certainly hadn’t pulled off,” he said. Anthony claims it was a bit of a gamble buying the genuine Ferrari wheels as it was a big financial outlay, but when they came up for grabs he accepted the challenge. Talk about trial and error, too: “I knew I’d need to run adaptors and the fronts were pretty straight forward being a pair of 25mm items. Out back the adaptors were quite large at 38mm, but that wasn’t a problem until I offered the wheels up before ordering tyres. For some reason one of the wheels poked out a bit more than the other, so I had to take the adaptors to work and have 2mm machined off one of them.” It’s quite a common problem on the Mk4 platform where the axle never sits perfectly in the arch. You don’t actually notice when running standard ride height as there’s lots of clearance in the wheel arches. It’s only when you’re go low and are dealing with millimeter clearance that it becomes apparent.


    Talking of air-ride, after running numerous sets of coilovers over the years Anthony finally decided to bite the bullet and opt for air: “I decided I was sick of bouncing the 130-mile round trip to and from work, so invested in and Air Lift Slam set-up.” Obviously the install has progressed over time, from the original set-up he fitted in his in-law’s freezing garage, to the carbon-clad, hard-lined work of art you see today. “The air tank is still the original item, but now wears a carbon-fibre skin with copper strands running through it, which Paul from C6 Carbon said was a must-have to tie-in with my copper hard lines.” Since the initial air install, Anthony has also fitted poly bushes throughout and also added IDf drop plates to allow the amount of camber needed to run 11s out back.

    It’s obvious that Anthony, who is an engineer by trade, is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work – other than the paint and carbon – himself! Believe it or not the all-metal, wide-body makeover was carried out around six years ago (before the air ride and Ferrari wheels, in fact) when Anthony was still on coils and looking to fit some wide 6-series BMW wheels. “The bodywork had to be one of the most time-consuming parts of the whole project but then it was done twice. I wanted the arch lines to be as close to factory as possible, to keep it subtle.” As if widening the car by around 4” front and rear wasn’t going to be pretty damn obvious. The thing is, despite the added girth and crazy-wide wheels filling each corner, Anthony almost pulled off the whole subtle thing. For some reason though, he wasn’t really happy: “I seemed to fall out of love with the car for a while at this stage and it just got used and abused really.” It was only after talking to his friend, Dentman that Anthony got the bug again: “He suggested I should take the car to Autospray in Darlington, which I did. We discussed my plans and I quickly decided they were the right guys!”


    Apparently the car was only booked in to have the wide-body conversion reworked, which should have taken a week, but that soon changed to include smoothing the doors and rear bumper, repainting the front bumper and bonnet, then doing the B-pillars and rear door quarterlight bars gloss black, plus adding new window rubbers, clips and screws: “Four weeks later it was ready for show season. That was four years ago, and since then it’s been back ever year to have little bits added or improving,” he said. The car has got continuously smoother as time has gone on. However, we love how the gloss black external parts break up the Satin silver colourcoding so it’s not too over powering.

    On the engine front Anthony hasn’t gone too overboard, but he did admit to getting a little fed up being left behind by his mates whenever they went out in their cars together: “I needed to do something, so I took the car to Revo for a remap, but that turned out to more than a simple flash. We actually had to remove the ECU and install a new chip. What a difference it made out on the open road, though.” After a quick rolling road session it showed 152bhp and 270lb/ft of torque: “I was pleased but figured we could do a little better, so went for a full Milltek system from the turbo back, with de-cat pipe, too." With the addition of an ITG panel filter and Allard EGR delete, the final outcome was 165bhp and 297lb/ft and Anthony was finally happy! Having driven the car for best part of a year with the tiny stock brakes hidden behind those monster 20” hoops, Anthony was ready to up his game again, especially now he had a bit of extra power, too: “Even though I’d fitted a 312mm TT set-up up front they still looked small and the standard rears we just embarrassing, so a set of fourpiston Ferrari Brembos were sourced to replace the fronts. Then all I had to find a set of suitably large discs and make them fit,” he smiled.

    After quite some time spent searching, Anthony eventually found a set of 400mm Alcon discs originally intended for a Jaguar XKR: “First these needed redrilling to fit my 5x100 hubs, then the bell housing needed machining down so the wheels would clear them.” And this was before he’d fathomed out how to make the calipers fit: “I started with cardboard templates and using wooden blocks to get the measurements for the adapters right. Then I bought two pretty large bits of steel, which were drilled and milled for around ten hours apiece. I went a bit over the top getting them as smooth and shiny as possible,” he said. Anthony claimed by the time it came to the back he’d run out of ideas, not to mentioned money: “I figured I’d got a perfectly good 312mm set-up going spare now, so why not just convert that to fit the back?” How hard could it be? “Well, after a bit of drilling, cutting, grinding and lots of swearing they went on.”

    Although hard pushed to choose his favourite single modification, Anthony admits that he is particularly fond of the way the interior came together as a whole: “I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too. I love all the carbon work Paul’s done inside as well, then there’s the TT dash which tops it all off for me.” That said, the dash swap was probably the hardest part Anthony had to tackle himself: “I thought, how hard can it be?” Turns out, pretty damn hard! “I needed modified clocks because my car’s a diesel and they never made a Mk1 TT diesel, then the steering column had to be lowered and brought backwards,” he continued, “and because I did the full centre-console, the gear linkage had to be modified so I could select all gears. This, along with all the wiring and installation of the electric heater box – as my car didn’t have climate control – made it more than a challenge.” It was worth it in the end, especially with the diamond-stitched leather top, tying it all in nicely with the rest of the trim.

    We asked Anthony what he’d change about the car if anything and he had this answer: “I wouldn’t really change a thing other than just doing it the right way the first time around, rather than rushing in and regretting it after.” As for the future, he’s going to look at cleaning the bay up, tucking some wiring and adding some more carbon: “Of course more carbon, lots and lots of it!”


    Dub Details

    ENGINE: 1.9-litre PD 115 TDI with custom chip (producing165hp and 297lb/ft), 3” down pipe and de-cat, #Milltek non-resonated system with twin-exit back box. Allard EGR delete pipe, #ITG panel filter, Touran engine cover painted crackle black, #Forge short shift kit

    CHASSIS: 8.5x20” and 11x20” Ferrari 599 HGTE three-piece forged wheels by OZ with polished lips and faces mounted on G23 adapters (25mm front, 38mm and 36mm rear) with 215/30 and 245/30 Nankang tyres respectively. #Air-Lift-Slam-Series front struts, #Air-Lift tapered rear bags, #Air-Lift-V2 management, #Viair-444cc compressor and five-gallon tank, #Powerflex poly bushed all round, IDF rear correction plates. Ferrari four-pot front callipers with custom machined brackets and 400mm Jaguar XKR Alcon discs re-drilled to 5x100 with machined-down bell housings, Audi TT 312mm front brake set up adapted to fit the rear with callipers painted yellow to match fronts

    EXTERIOR: Full respray in the original Volkswagen Satin silver, arches extended 40mm each side in metal, smoothed factory bumpers blended in the extended arches (front and rear), smoothed rub strips, side repeaters and roof aerial deleted, genuine Golf Anniversary front valance modified to fit and painted gloss black, genuine Golf Anniversary side skirts, Bora 4Motion rear valance (painted gloss black), genuine OEM xenon headlights with twin, centre running lights and turn signal relocation, all-red rear lights with gloss black housings, Lupo stubby mirrors (electric and heated) with clear glass and gloss black basis, new window rubbers all round, gloss black B-pillar and rear door window bar, gloss black grille, bumper grilles and scuttle tray, genuine Jetta GLI grille (carbon skinned), aero wiper arms and blades, gloss black rear towing eye cover

    INTERIOR: Full Mk1 Audi TT dashboard and centre console conversion with diamond stitched leather top and custom instrument cluster, modified steering column and shortened gear linkage relocated OB2 port, Climate Control retro-fitted with heater box change, Recaro Sportster CSs in black leather with gloss black inserts, Mk3 Scirocco rear seats retro-fitted and trimmed to match fronts, six-speed Beetle Turbo gear knob, Momo 280mm wheel, carbon-skinned door card tops (with deleted door pins), steering column cowl and TT knee bars (all carbon skinned in Audi small weave by C6carbon). Black perforated leather roof lining and A, B and C pillars, Golf Anniversary black grab handles, interior light, seatbelt tops, sun visors, alarm sensors and rear view mirror, Passat mirror adjuster, leather door cards all round with custom audio builds in front doors. Brushed-aluminium door grabs, custom bootbuild with floating floor (lit by LEDs), five-gallon tank skinned in small-weave carbon with copper strands running in the weave, copper hard line installation, twin AVS polished water traps, polished compressor fittings and polished bulkhead fittings

    AUDIO: JL Audio MBT-RX Bluetooth receiver, #Precision-Power-Par245 five-band EQ mounted where head-unit would have been, JL Audio XD 1000/5v2 amp with copper/carbon-skinned cover to match air tank, JL Audio TW3 12” sub in non-ported custom enclosure, 8 x 6” Jehnert woofer speakers 2 x 4” Jehnert mids, 2 x 2” Jehnert tweeters, Jehnert crossovers and lots of Dynamat throughout

    SHOUT: My wife, Claire for putting up with ‘that car’, Paul at Deluxe Detailing for looking after and preparing the car, Mike and Vicks at Kleen Freaks for all their support, Paul at C6 Carbon for all the carbon goodies, Pete, Adie and the crew at Autospray Darlington, Justin at Car Spa Darlington, D&W Wheel restorers for the powder coating, Rob at JL Audio UK, plus Lee, Woody, Roger, Ricky and lastly my buddies Dentman, Shaun, Begley, Wardizzle, Cuzy and Nathen

    It’s obvious that Anthony is pretty proud of what he’s achieved with the car, especially as he’s carried out virtually all of the work himself.

    I just love the Recaros up from and am so pleased Paul made me do the Mk3 Rocco rear bench conversion, too.

    Recaro CSs are pretty special up from but Scirocco rear bench is a genius addition.
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    Elliott Stiling
    Elliott Stiling joined the group VW Golf IV
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    LONGTERMERS #BMW-E28 / #BMW-E28-Alpina / #Alpina-B9 and E32 750iL / #Alpina / #Alpina-B9-E28

    I would love to report some serious movement on the B9’s refurbishment but unfortunately the truth is I haven’t really had the chance to chase the body shop this month.

    I have, however, received negative news from my ‘stripes guy’. It doesn’t look like he is able to supply them in the timescale I am likely to need so it’s back to the drawing board. The fall back plan is to just have the car back without any stripes and then have them retro-fitted when I can procure a set. The BMW community is a big one, and an international one at that so if you know where I can have a set made up please do get in touch!

    In the meanwhile, the editor kindly sent me a link to a B9 which has just sold at a CCA car auction. It was a 1986, white Japanese import with a low mileage of 77,000. It was, however, hampered somewhat by being left-hand drive and having an automatic gearbox. The latter for me would be a serious problem as these cars really need the manual gearbox in my opinion. Plus winter isn’t the ideal season to maximise the sale value of your classic car…

    Using CCA’s five-star system it was described as a three-star car – ‘Good: Everyday useable classic car, driven and enjoyed, commensurate with age and mileage, drives and looks as it should, some vehicle history’.

    I suspect it would have benefitted from being sold in Germany where left-hand drive classic Alpinas sell for really strong money. Nevertheless it fetched £16,500 which I thought was a good buy for its new owner, who certainly hasn’t overpaid for what is an exceptionally rare car.

    It looks like I will need to review the guaranteed value I have with my insurer when it comes to renewal time. Good news indeed.

    On the 7 Series front what little time I have had to spare has been spent trying to find bits for it rather than driving it very far.

    In my last report I mentioned not being able to find the required brake booster in the UK, as all of the available parts were in America. After a little bit more research I finally managed to track one down in the UK. The best bit was the price. By not getting stung with the post-Brexit exchange rate and import duty I managed to buy one for £130, nearly half of the £250 it was going to cost to get one from the US. I need to get the part down to my local garage to check it’s all there!

    Given editor Bob’s recent positive results with having his throttle bodies cleaned I might just have a look at how much of a job that is on a 750iL. I suspect the answer will be ‘at least twice as much’ because the V12 seems to have two of everything.

    Given the car’s idle isn’t quite as sewing machine smooth as it should be and it seems to be running a little rich at idle it’s probably a job worth doing. I suspect as much as anything some new spark plugs will clear things up but having researched how to replace spark plug number 12 on a BMW 750 I think that’s a job for the garage.

    In the meanwhile I have tackled an easy job and replaced the car’s two air filters. The originals weren’t all that bad but there is a nice feel-good feeling to knowing your car is breathing through new filters. I am hoping the garage can take the car in sometime in January because I’d like to get things moving along ahead of the spring car show scene as I’d like to start showing the car off a bit.

    In the meanwhile I have seen another 750iL for sale which is located only ten miles from me, in my favourite colour of black. I’m trying desperately to not just jump in the car and have a look. It’s a disease, being into classic BMWs…

    CAR: #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-750i-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW / #M70 / #BMW-M70 / #V12 / #BMW-V12

    YEAR: #1988
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 23
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 118,235
    MPG THIS MONTH: Not sure
    COST THIS MONTH: no new ones this month
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    LONGTERMERS E32 750iL

    Despite a work schedule that feels like I’ve taken more flights this month than I have spent nights at home, I have managed to ensure the big Seven has had a little attention. Regular readers know I actually enjoy spending some time cleaning and polishing my cars and the #BMW-7-Series-E32 was ripe for a little attention in a couple of areas. Don’t get me wrong, the car wasn’t presented particularly badly, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for improvement, particularly the cleanliness of the leather and the finish on the bright work.

    Over the years I have collected a few cleaning and detailing products and three of my favourites are the Gliptone Leather Conditioner, the Vanish Powerfoam and the 3M Metal Polish as they never fail to impress.

    Whilst the leather in the car looked to be in very good shape I could see faint darker patches both on the doorcards and in the stitching creases of the seats – clear signs of some dirt residue. Whilst the leather conditioner is a great product, for the best finish it does need some assistance, so I used some baby wipes to clean the leather first (it’s surprisingly effective if you’ve never tried it) and then used an Autoglym Magic Sponge to work the conditioner into the leather.

    You need to be careful when using the sponge as despite being silky soft to the touch, they are incredibly abrasive and can soon strip the leather of its top surface if you are too aggressive or careless. With the correct application, though, they are very effective, as can be seen from the pictures.

    Unfortunately for me the amount of leather in an iL version of the 7 Series is staggering so the whole process took about four hours. It’s very easy, for instance, to forget that there is leather tucked down the side and backs of the rear seats which can only be accessed once they are fully reclined. In the end every single square inch of leather received this process and my gosh, it looks and smells better for it, particularly as the Gliptone conditioner imbeds the smell of new leather into your seats. Not only are the seats now better presented but the remoisturising process will undoubtedly ensure the life of the seats has been extended.

    Whilst I was working on the interior I decided to tackle the thin chrome strips that run along the tops of the doorcards next to the side glass. Thankfully the chrome wasn’t pitted or corroded but it had lost much of its lustre so a little attention was likely to reap instant results. After masking it up to avoid horrible white marks on the black plastic it was out with the 3M polish. Half an hour later the trims looked fantastic with a deep lustre evident.

    The last interior job, for this session at least, was to clean the carpets and over mats as the driver’s footwell area really wasn’t up to the mark. I’ve tried lots of different carpet cleaning products over the years but have a soft spot for Powerfoam by Vanish. Whilst it’s marketed for domestic use rather than automotive applications, dirt is dirt. The spray mechanism can be a little frisky so you often need to wipe away errant spots of cleaner that escape on to doorcards and the like when working in tight spots but that’s not really an issue and as I say it works a treat and leaves the carpets looking and smelling fresh.

    The cabin isn’t finished yet as there are still small areas to get around to but it now looks, smells and feels like the executive express it was designed and built to be.

    Staying on the TLC theme I also managed to get the car into the garage for a little investigative work into some of the areas I highlighted last month. Due to my work schedule I could only get the car into the garage for a single day (it’s too big a car to expect someone to store it indoors for a week until I could get around to picking it up otherwise). A day was enough time, though, for the garage to look into the suspension rattle, the brake pressure issue and the unlocking problem on the driver’s door. The other areas will need to wait for another session.

    The suspension rattle has been traced to defective front dampers. Apparently the fluid they should be filled with is notable by its absence. Looking back through the car’s history, there is a comment on a previous MoT certificate relating to oil misting around the front dampers. Clearly things have deteriorated since then to the point there is little to no oil left. I knew when I bought the car that BMW’s Electronic Damper (EDC) system is both unreliable and expensive to fix and ringing around several suspension rebuild experts has only confirmed that view. None of the specialists I spoke to will rebuild these dampers anymore, with one of them even referring to the system as ‘complete junk’ – hardly a glowing testimonial. The service history shows that the dampers have been replaced twice in the car’s past but here we are again.

    Given the unreliability of the system I’ve all but decided not to bother repairing them and am looking for a replacement alternative instead. A bit of internet surfing has suggested that it’s possible to fit non-EDC damper inserts into the original struts. So, at the moment that’s the plan, using Bilstein dampers and the original struts, assuming my local garage is happy it can carry out the work.

    If not, then I will be on the look-out for some comfort-orientated coilovers, if such a thing exists? I am anticipating a total cost of £600 to £850 depending on the route taken which I’m happy with for the benefit of refreshed suspension.

    The garage has reported that the likely suspect causing the brake pressure issue is the hydraulic brake booster. Looking in the engine bay the part looks very different to what you or I might expect. Instead of a large, black circular canister on the bulkhead it’s a gun barrel-shaped part, much smaller than you might imagine. It would appear that it’s a part that’s not shared with other E32 Sevens but is shared with the 850i/Ci, with which the 750iL shares its drivetrain.

    BMW has confirmed that it can supply a new part for about £950 (I bet it can!) but that’s not really a route I want to go down given the garage can’t be 100 percent sure it’s definitely the cause of the fault.

    Having done a little research it appears that it’s entirely possible to buy a fully refurbished booster although they all appear to be located in the US. I suspect that’s a function of their warmer climate and lower fuel prices meaning that the #V12 model variant is more plentiful over there? For £250 including import duty (grumble) it’s a more cost effective option than plumping for a new part from #BMW so I’ll be placing an order very soon and we can see if it works. I wonder what price the booster would have been pre-Brexit vote before the sterling’s slide into oblivion?

    The final area the garage had time to investigate was the driver’s door not unlocking on the key. Thankfully it’s nothing more sinister than the door pin not quite rising high enough to unlock the door. It’s only a few millimetres short but a door is simply either locked or unlocked so it needs tackling. They had hoped a little wiggling and waggling (technical engineering terms I’m told) would exercise the system enough to get it working properly but it hasn’t worked. If it still hasn’t worked by the time the car goes back for the suspension and brake work then it will be a case of removing the doorcard and having a look inside.

    In the meanwhile I’ve started buying some service items in such as air filters, spark plugs, engine oil etc as I want to keep the service history in order. If I can find a little more spare time I might start to fit some of the parts myself as it’s a job I get satisfaction from.

    So that’s it for this month I think. As I sit here writing this I’m in yet another airport lounge waiting to fly home and I’m itching to get behind the wheel again, let’s hope it’s not raining when I get back and I can go for a drive – with clean shoes of course.

    / #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-750iL-E32 / #BMW-7-series-E32 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW / #M70 / #BMW-M70

    YEAR: #1988
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 42
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 118,212
    MPG THIS MONTH: I shudder to think!
    COST THIS MONTH: £150 (service parts)… but plenty more to come soon
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    / #BMW-E28 / #Alpina-B9 and #BMW-7-series-E32 750Il / #Alpina / #BMW /

    I’m pleased to report that I had a surprise call from the bodyshop this month. Whilst the B9 isn’t totally finished yet substantial progress has been made, which was great to hear. All the rust has been eradicated from the bodyshell, the rear arch has been repaired and the boot floor is apparently looking much better. As you can see from the pictures it’s not correct to say the car is looking pretty but there is a certain charm to it partially presented in battleship grey primer I think?

    Apparently part of the delay was due to a red herring from BMW. It had claimed that it had a full boot floor in stock (the same boot floor I had drawn a blank on procuring) but when the floor arrived, surprise-surprise, it was only half there – it’s supplied in two sections. To add insult to injury, it was even the wrong half! So, the floor has had to be patch repaired, all be it with some brand-new parts introduced, such as the spare wheel well bracket. I’ve not seen the repaired floor yet so I’m somewhat curious as to how good the finish will be but, as I mentioned in a previous article, other people are entrusting ‘my man’ with some seriously expensive classic Ferraris and Aston Martins so I’m fairly relaxed about it.

    I have to admit to getting butterflies in my stomach when I look at the pictures of the car being prepared for paint. I only wish the car was more local so I could pop down for a peek every now and again and feel a bit more involved with the work that’s going on, but it’s more important that the car is in the right hands than being in local ones.

    This flurry of activity means I need to get my skates on and decide exactly which stripes I want on the car. I’m 100 per cent sure I should get stripes for it even though the car was manufactured from new without them. The question is, which ones?

    Whilst I have pondered fitting thin gold pinstripes, as I had on my previous B9, the current front runner are the thicker bold green and blue stripes as I think they look fantastic set against Alpine white paint. You certainly can’t miss them but on an 1980s performance car I think you can get away with them. I just hope that the chap I know on the Alpina Register Forum who supplies stripe kits has the time (and inclination) to supply me a set of whatever I settle on in time. Hopefully I will be able to share some further progress next month although it’s unrealistic to expect the car to be finished by then.


    In the meanwhile I have my newly purchased #V12 #BMW-7-Series to satisfy my classic car cravings. I have to admit, though, it’s not been a big mileage month for the 750iL due mainly to a house move, although the big boot has come in handy for the odd B&Q run for additional decorating supplies. Thankfully the new house has a double garage (in fact it was a prerequisite) so the car is nicely tucked up dry and warm at night on a bed of underlay and carpet – no I’m not joking!

    Despite not doing much in the way of mileage the car has continued to impress, though, with one particular visitor to the house being almost spellbound by it. Apparently he remembered them from new and was particularly impressed by the car’s condition and preservation. Last month I promised to give you the car’s hit-list of jobs to tackle so here we go:

    - Both electric mirrors don’t work from the door handle control although the passenger mirror dips towards the kerb, as it’s designed to, when selecting reverse so clearly the motor is working. Perhaps it’s a faulty switch?

    - The heater is possessed by something with a wicked sense of humour. Even when switched off the system gently blows hot air from the dash top and rear footwell vents yet any request for cold air is duly ignored. - And while we’re on the inside I should mention that the cassette player emits a laughable level of sound quality and one of the rear seatbelt buckles is broken turning this 16-and-a-half foot leviathan into a three-seater car.

    - Rather more seriously, there’s appears to be a problem with the brakes. Every now and again the brake pedal pressure will shoot through the roof requiring a Herculean amount of pressure to start working. It only happens occasionally but it’s the wrong sort of excitement needed when travelling fast. - The suspension isn’t perfect either as when the damping is set in Comfort mode it’s very floaty and bouncy and there is also a metallic rattle from the front end over bumps, although it’s only audible with the windows or sunroof open. Given the car received brand-new arms for its last MoT it must be something else?

    - Other issues are a very small bubble appearing on the near side front wing, which is best tackled now before anything more substantial develops and I’m also experiencing the same smell of petrol when stationary as Bob reported recently on his M635CSi, so perhaps we have the same issue?

    - In the minor irritations category I’ve got a driver’s side windscreen wiper blade that’s worn and the driver’s door pin doesn’t lift enough when trying to unlock the door. Now anyone sitting there with their newly leased BMW may be concerned at that list but remember this is a big, heavy car closing in on its 30th birthday, so personally I don’t think that’s bad going.

    Either way I will be taking the car to my favourite local garage for a good coat of ‘looking at’ and we will see what’s what. Whilst I’m under no illusions though that these E32s can stack up decent sized bills my allocated war chest remains largely intact, all be it under imminent threat of attack. I’ll let you know how I get on next month.

    CAR: #BMW-E32 / #BMW-750iL / #BMW-750iL-E32 /
    YEAR: #1988
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 78
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 118,170
    MPG THIS MONTH: Not a great deal!
    COST THIS MONTH: None… yet

    Bodywork fettling is moving along nicely on Elliott’s Alpina and the boot floor has now been repaired.
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