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 Will I ever finish this car and why do I listen to myself?

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Location : Whitstable
Cars : BMW e12 M535i, BMW e34 Alpina B10, BMW e24 635csi, BMW e34 535ise
Posts : 10
Occupation : Project Manager

PostSubject: Will I ever finish this car and why do I listen to myself?   Thu May 17, 2012 4:25 am

Will I ever finish this car and why do I listen to myself?

This is the story so far of my 1988 BMW Alpina B10

I bought this car in June 2010 with the intention of breaking it up and then
Alpinaing my poorly 635. The car is a genuine Alpina B10, hadn’t turned a wheel
in 4 or 5 years that I could ascertain, had all the cosmetic Alpina bits
missing and was suffering from rot in some very strange places but did have the
all important B10 engine, ecu and diff.

So all was going well with this idea until I read through the wad of
history that came with the car and realized what I had was actually a lowish
mileage car with buckets of history and it was the 3rd one built,
Also a bog standard 535ise appeared on ebay in exactly the same colour with the
same colour leather and a set of genuine Alpina wheels on it, so all ideas of
only having two classics and not an insurmountable amount of work went out of
the Window. I couldn’t bring myself to break it up and convinced myself it
didn’t need a lot of work really.

In the making of this decision please be aware that at this time I had an
e24 635 that had been cooked by the MOT man at it’s last MOT (he did pass it
mind) caused by a weak viscous fan coupling which the B10 was supposed to be
the donor for, that also really now needed some bodywork doing and either a
mopping if I was lucky due to paint fade or a re-spray. And my e12 M535i that
at this stage still needed a lot of welding to get through an MOT plus whatever
else I found that needed doing.

I went from having two classics I couldn’t drive to now owning 3 and a
donor that I still couldn’t drive, which I then proceeded in turning into lots
of piles of classic car all over the garage, drive, shed and house.

I have to make clear here I have applied for Sainthood for the wife which
the Vatican
does have in it’s in tray.

The B10 had rot in both inner and outer front wings, both inner and outer
cills, all the jacking points, the nearside front spring was snapped and the
rear near side quarter panel was rotten under the petrol filler which someone
had repaired with fiberglass. I have the original bill of sale for this car,
someone spent just short of 50 grand for this car when new in 1988 and someone
further down the line slaps fiberglass badly all over the rear quarter and didn’t
even bother to rub it down, the things you see when you don’t have a gun!

So work that hadn’t really re-started on the e12 after I moved house
stopped completely and I set to work on project B, I’m nothing if not under

I started work on the B10 in earnest (a summary from summer 2010)

As it says above I have actually started in earnest, I took
two weeks off work and got the tools out.

I removed all the front panels except the bonnet, which as with all taking to
bits work was the easy bit.
I removed all the front suspension and most of the steering.
I found lots of rot on both inner wings, both outer wings are rubbish, a hole
in the passenger side floor and both sills are like a patchwork quilt.
So a pretty scary start, scarier was to come though.

I completed all the inner wing repairs which also entailed replacing the bumper
mount and brake pipe mount on the drivers side.

I have put a plate in the floor on the passenger side and started cutting away
at the mess that is the sill on the passenger side.

The scarier part I mentioned earlier was to do with the petrol pipes that run
under the car, whilst welding the floor I decided it would be prudent to remove
the petrol pipes as I was getting very close to them with welders, grinders and
all things hot and sparky plus they didn't look too clever. So putting my hand
up around the tank to feel for their route they literally disintegrated in my
hands and as you would expect started to deposit petrol everywhere.

Anyway panic over and back to work, after looking over the sills my original
idea had been to repair them, as pattern ones aren’t available in the UK as far as I
can see and the originals come in 3 expensive parts. I did manage to find a
German/Danish company that sold them as repair panels but they were still
Once I had surveyed the true level of rot and previous repairs I decided to
bite the bullet and ordered the pattern sills from Germany.
This stopped the welding and grinding much to the happiness of my neighbors and
I got on with quieter pursuits like treating and painting.
I tend to go with layer overkill when painting a cars underbelly after I have
repaired it, I treat the repair with waxoyl then a layer of stone chip paint
and then a layer of smoothrite and finish off with the body schutz, all of
which are applied as thick as I can get them, then if it’s the floor I under
seal over it and if it’s the inner wings I add another layer of smoothrite and
leave it nice and shiny which makes it easier to get the Bleep off once the cars
back on the road.
I have now started to re-condition the suspension and brakes, I am stripping
the legs down and will be replacing all the arms and joints when it goes back
together. The discs and pads look to be nearly new so can’t have had much use but will be replaced regardless.
One of the original springs was snapped so I have bought a pair of secondhand
legs from a B10 that has been scrapped which are the ones primarily I am
I would re-assemble it all but I want to wait until the sills are on and as
they arrived in the week, if the weather holds, out will come the welder and
grinder again probably over the bank holiday weekend which is asking for a
downpour I know.

At this point I decided after prompting from a friend that
gives me far to much help that I wasn’t going to finish it in time for the
summer and should drop back onto the e12 so that I could at least drive one of
my cars. The amount of welding this car needed should be the subject of a blog
all of it’s own but as my friend is the owner of an early Bay window camper we
are not afraid of a bit of welding.

I got a bit further with the B10 so update up to the 4th of October 2010

Work and bad weather have hampered me quite a bit but I have
managed to get the nearside inner sill repaired and the outer sill on.
I have rebuilt the front suspension and steering and fitted that along with new

brake pipes and hoses.
I have also fitted the front wing back on the nearside using my usual method of

treating the inside of the wing the same as the inner wings to stop the iron
weevil getting a hold again.

I have also cut off the outer sill on the drivers side and found that a very
poor repair had been done at the rear which involved welding the sill to the
bush mounting plate because the inner was rotten, I think repairing it properly
in the first place would have been better but whoever did it must have been in
a bit of a rush.

I had taken this week off work in the hope of getting the last of the
weather but this has so far the weather has not been helpful. I did get the
rear of the car up on stands and off the ramps so I could have a good poke
about around the rear wheel tubs and suspension and apart from a little bit of
surface hear and there it all looks pretty good so the sills and associated
repairs should be the last of the welding.

I hope to get all the welding finished this week and the rest of the front of
the car re-assembled before I can start taking the rear suspension apart.
One of the idiosyncrasies of owning an Alpina is that unless you can prove you
own one you can’t buy any non cosmetic parts and I had a real struggle to get
the log book out of DVLA.

I finally got my log book back from the DVLA so have managed
to get a
new plaque and B10 badges from Sytners and Walloth and Nesch, the rear badge is
no longer listed with Sytners but it is with Walloth and Nesch. Both were very
very helpful with Sytners sending me a copy of the cars build sheet and also
explaining that one of the men involved in the cars build still worked there
and remembered the car.

I had a good chat with the guy and he told what spec the car left them in
when new which was very useful.

Work upto date May 2012

I finished all the front, both
sets of cills and then got the car into the garage and dropped out the tank and
dropped the prop, rear axle and suspension.

I also bought a replacement rear arch for the nearside in
the hope of rebuilding from the cill up and along the bottom edge of the rear
quarter where it had been bodged.

I managed to pick up a new old stock complete rear quarter
so decided in for a penny in for a pound, I had it in my head I could just do a
partial re-spray and wouldn’t need to take the screens out but with replacing
the complete rear quarter that’s what it has to be, glass out and more cutting
and welding.

I have dropped the rear bumper off and the boot lid and done
all the minor repairs needed around there.

The rear axle has mostly been refurbed now, the swing arms
need to be done as does the anti roll bar then it all needs to be reassembled
with new bushes and hoses.

But before that I want to get the screens out and the rear
quarter changed which is the bit that’s daunting me most.

That’s where I am at the moment, and now the weather is
hopefully starting to look up I can get my motivation back and get on with it.
I hope

Last edited by onemanbmwclub on Sat May 19, 2012 4:14 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : split up into 4 pots and only the last went up)
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