Porsche Progress Report 4

One small piece of trim prevented the completion of repairs to the Porsche last week. New ETA is next Tuesday. (Can’t attache the trim, can’t put in the window. Can’t put in the window, can’t attach the door panel…) Since the garage was empty, we repainted and put down a new floor.


So today we went back to the skidpad with some of the instructors from the local BMW club. This would have been more fun with the Porsche, but the MINI is plenty chuck-able. In this video, I’m working on the Scandinavian Flick. In one case, I manage to get the back out more than 90 degrees and still recover. Also listen for the sound of terminal understeer towards the end. I wanted to see how well the camera would pick up that sound.

The Doctor is In: Dr. Color Chip

I love it when a product actually works as advertised. The product in this case is produced by Dr. Color Chip. The good doctor produces an automotive touch-up paint kit that really works. Here’s how: Let’s say you have a car with a very blunt nose, like a MINI.


After a number of years, the entire leading edge of the hood can get really chipped as you see in the photo above. If you use regular touch-up paint, you end up with little blotches of paint where there once were chips. Almost and anti-chip and just as ugly.


With Dr. Color Chip, you dab paint on the chip, smear with a gloved finger and once dry to the touch, you buff with the secret sauce.


The key is the blending agent. It removes the excess paint, but leaves enough to cover the chip. Polish with a microfiber towel and the results are amazing.


You aren’t going to win a concourse with this, but from five feet away, it looks much better than the traditional blotch approach. In fact, most of the blotches you see in the photo above were from using the previous method. I’m a convert.

Window Tint and Dent Masters

GeorgeCo has been taking a couple of days off ahead of the Easter Holiday here in the U.S., using the free time to catch up on some garage and basement cleaning (more room for spare parts and tires) as well as taking care of a few odds and ends that GeorgeCo can’t get done when working 9 to 5 — things like paintless dent removal and window tinting.

The GeorgeCo MINI powered by Beano has done pretty well in the door ding department. After 7 and one-half years of motoring and 140,000 plus miles — only 3 dings of any significance to date. One of which was from a shelf full of GeorgeCo spare parts that fell on the car while safely parked in the GeorgeCo Garagemahal. The other two were likely earned while parked in the underground parking garage at the undisclosed GeorgeCo work-site location near the nation’s capital.

So we made an appointment with the Maryland Dent Masters location in Rockville. Cyress did a great job. No grinding, painting, or putty and the dents were history before you knew it. The three dings took about an hour to erase and you can’t even tell they were there when he was done. Highly recommended.



We also got the GeorgeCo E30 back from the tint shop as well. Since it no longer has AC, we need all the protection we can get from the sun. Decided to go with the max tint allowed by the Great State of Maryland (50%).

New Paint for the Stealth BMW

Back in Black

We got the GeorgeCo Stealth E30 back from the paint shop yesterday but didn’t really get to take a good look at it because we were dodging thunderstorms and tornado warnings. Today we rolled it out into the sunlight and to paraphrase Fernando Lamas “it looks mahvelous.” The paint still needs some time to cure, but so far, we’re really happy with it. And the price was right too. Click either the photo above or below for the complete slideshow. Can’t really call it the Stealth anymore.

even from behind

The change is all the more dramatic when you compare with what we started with back in 2008:

2585727999_21df729464 2626943842_6fd76a3fbe 2586558424_7de18be6d6

Detailing Tip of the Week: Better Living Through Chemistry

If you have an ’80’s BMW, chances are you have some funky looking door trim. If you’re turned off by the price of OEM replacement parts, take heart: there is a better way. OK, not better, but certainly cheaper. And you can get it at your local Ace Hardware. Acetone. Tape off your trim so you don’t dissolve your rattle-can paint job, put on some gloves to keep your skin attached to your hands, and grab a decent rag and wipe away years of oxidation and discoloration. It’s like magic and only slightly toxic.


The change is dramatic and immediate, but it only works on the door trim, not the bumper trim.


Done Painting the Stealth (for now)

It’s easy to forget what a long road it’s been, but if you click through this set of photos, it’s really amazing how far this car has come in the last 13 months. I put the badges back on and hooked up the spray nozzles on the hood tonight. Once I knocked the dust off, I was amazed that this actually looks like a real car from about 5 feet. The challenge with flat black paint is you can’t really appreciate it in bright light, but once the light starts to fade, it really looks great. Who would have thunk it.


And all it took was about 15 rattle cans of black, half a dozen cans of filler-primer, and two tubes of bondo.


MINI Paid Off & Stealth Bubbles

Like so many things with this car, you never really know what’s wrong until you get out the grinder. After I finished painting the roof, I found a bubble in the paint on the hood. At some point in it’s tortured existence, something very heavy landed on the hood of this BMW. The hood is mostly straight, but it sits about a quarter inch lower than it should at the hinge mounting point. It sat so low, it rubbed against the top of the throttle control link which wore a hole through the hood liner. I took the liner off, but there was no rust from the underside of the hood. I took the grinder to the bubble and found nothing but bondo. Evidently the bondo wasn’t bonding to the metal so well and had created a bubble in the paint. Sort of odd, but fixable with better prep work and more bondo. I tried to blend the patch, but trying to blend flat paint doesn’t work so well and I ended up respraying the whole hood.

But that wasn’t the big news of the day: I finally paid off the MINI today. If you know my history with cars, you’ll appreciate the magnitude of this day. For the first time since March 1988, I don’t have a car note of some kind. Now I just have to resist all of the deep discounts, once-in-a-lifetime-sales-events, zero percent financing, and cash-for-clunkers offers. That convertible we have, which probably wouldn’t sell for $1500, is worth $3500 if traded against a passenger car that gets 22 MPG or better. And Volvo currently has a $2250 discount on new 2009 V50s. The BMW 335d qualifies for a $4500 tax credit. I’m just saying….

Stealth Gets a Deeper Shade of Black

I finally finished my rattle-can respray in black. Well almost. I have a rust bubble I have to finish on the hood, but otherwise it’s finally done. My goal of a more or less uniform satin black finish is almost realized. The last bit of major painting was the trunk and deck-spoiler. That actually turned out pretty well.


I need to rub-out and polish the whole thing, but it’s coming together nicely. I’ll post pictures with the spoiler painted as soon as it stops raining.



Winter Break

It’s hard to get motivated to do anything related to my cars when it’s 15 degrees outside. If I’m lucky, I can keep the garage about 30 degrees above the ambient temperature, but when the best you can get is in the low 40’s, you don’t want to stay there long. Fortunately, we had a break in the cold today. With sunny skies and temperatures in the 60’s it was time to break out the hose and wash away the salt and grime. Much like the groundhog seeing his shower, the mid-February car wash means another six weeks of winter for sure. To hedge my bet, I put snow tires on the BMW.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to make any progress with the appearance of the BMW. I started out this morning to see what a little polish and a random orbital polisher could do to the severely oxidized paint on the trunk lid. Here’s a photo of what it looked like last summer.


I started off with polish and made no progress. Then I tried rubbing compound; nada. Then a combination of wax and advanced polymer polish; nothing. Getting frustrated, I got out the sandpaper. First 400 then 1000 wet/dry. I couldn’t get anything that would take a polish, so I got out the spray bomb and painted the thing.

painted trunk

Once I put the snow tires on and backed the car up into the sun, I realized I am making progress. The look I’m shooting for is a satin finish because this is the Stealth Bimmer after all. I’ve painted the front back to include the doors and now the trunk lid. I also got the rear-end and rear valance. Now just the rear quarter panels and roof to go.


I’ve got about 6 weeks to go until the first track event. Now I just need some drive-line work; a new clutch; brakes and… Anyway, here’s the finished product of today’s work.


Catching up with Fall Track Days & Progress on the BMW Stealth Project

I haven’t been keeping up with blogging so I’ll try to catch up with a few things in this post. With the economy in a tailspin here in the US, I’ve put my BMW project on hold for a while. There are a couple of advantages to this strategy: It preserves cash should we have to throw everything in the Volvo and head to Mexico; and if I wait until January, then the BMW will qualify as “historic” according to the great State of Maryland and I can skip the Maryland State Inspection (and associated fees).


Since I’m not making any progress mechanically, I thought it would be a good time to even out the flat black paint scheme. Here you see it before the attack of the black spray bombs.

2994088440_a375b7bfec (1)

And here it is afterward. You can see how far I’ve gotten by looking at where the door meets the rear quarter-panel. From that point back to include the roof remains to be painted. My goal is a uniform satin finish. Sort of Stealthy.


Back in October, I went to the Fall Driver’s School at the Shenandoah Circuit, Summit Point, WV.


It was a great three days of track time, but at the end of the first day, my friend hit the wall at the start of the main straight.


He and his passenger were both unhurt, but his 2005 Corvette was totaled. I was actually quite surprised how well the passenger compartment held up. He dropped a wheel off the outside of the turn going 85+ MPH and skidded across the track hitting the opposite wall with the car rotated about 110 degrees. Both airbags deployed as the car ricocheted off the wall. Now you know why I’m working on a dedicated track car.


Here’s a piece of video from one of the early track sessions. Sorry, the sound isn’t very good, just turn down the volume.