• PAUL’S E38 #BMW-728i / #BMW-728i-E38 / #BMW-7-Series / #BMW-7-Series-E38 / #BMW-E38 /

    Not that I expect – or indeed, deserve – any sympathy, but being a serial car collector does have its downsides. The beauty of having a small collection is that you can change your car to suit the mood, crowd or occasion. The downside is keeping on top of its upkeep and organising the everyday tasks that go with it. Like I said, I’m not expecting the sound of violins at this point. All told, it’s a problem that I feel very lucky to have.

    Having been using the E36 more recently, my once treasured E38 had languished in storage for too long, not only meaning that it really needed a clean, but also that the paintwork had started to look dull and lifeless. To top it off, a couple of very small stress fractures had appeared in the fibreglass bumpers. From ten paces back, it looked good, but when you got up close, it was clearly a case of a car that needed loving.

    The final straw was the small but growing list of jobs that need sorting. First up, the driver’s window stopped working. Then the electric passenger seat. This was swiftly followed by one of the rear windows… and on it went. The big Seven was clearly sending a message – and that message was ‘use me!’ It’s funny, isn’t it? Old cars are so much more reliable when they are getting enjoyed, used and abused on at least a weekly basis. As soon as you let them sit, things start to go wrong and break down. And, although 2017 is still a little way off, I decided to make an early New Year’s resolution to get the car perfect again – and maybe even make a few improvements along the way.

    Sorting the bodywork would be the first job. I figured if it looked amazing again, I would fall in love with it all over again – and be enthused to sort the plethora of snags and issues. This was easy enough, thanks to Nottingham’s very own ‘Motor Mafia’ just down the road in Colwick. Over there, in one small collection of industrial estates, you can sort anything from a paint job or retrim, through to new wheels, tyres or even a full rim refurb. It’s an awesome set of people to have on your doorstep, that’s for sure.

    Dan Nowell at DR Bodyshop was my first port of call. I dropped the E38 off and talked him through the issues. First up would be a mop of the tired paint to bring it back to life, next up would be a re-blacking of the chrome trims, which looked a little tired, and then, to finish, a full restoration of the paint on the bumpers to get them ‘as new’ again.

    I wasn’t in a hurry, so I left it with him for a week or two to see what could be done. What came back just a few days later was a great picture of a ‘half-and-half’ mopped bonnet, showing me just how much the paint had oxidised over the last few years. This factory shade really pops when it’s polished properly, with a much nicer, deeper shine coming through as a result. Needless to say, I asked him to carry on over the rest of the car.

    I decided to drop by and get a few photos of the progress, and although there are still a few jobs to sort, it was clear that already, the old girl is looking a lot happier. The car is going to need a full detail in time, of course, but even sitting there with a light dust covering from the workshop covering its vast flanks, it was a sight for sore eyes. Parked next to an old Bentley, it also made me realise what a well-proportioned car the E38 truly is. The wing height-to-wheel ratio is perhaps one of the best on any #BMW , and the reason the car stands so well, in my opinion.

    The DR Bodyshop lads had also managed to track down the cause of the bonnet not closing properly, too. The end of the cable uses a plastic socket – and this had broken. Cue a call to our local dealer, and yet another task ticked off the to-do list. By the time you read this, we should be well on the way to a useable, MoT’d motor.

    And then what? Well, as much as I love these Cades rims, I can’t help but think a wheel refresh is in order to give the car a new persona… and then I quite fancy upping the audio, improving the brakes, and maybe even getting the stance a little more sorted. That’s the problem when you start fettling a cherished motor, isn’t it? It’s hard to know when to stop.

    Join me back here next time, when either this will be finished, or the E36 will have some new fangled gizmo, or maybe I buy another item of random automotive tat instead. It’s hard to keep up sometimes, isn’t it? Until then!

    THANKS AND CONTACT DR Bodyshop 07875 530080