It’s been a busy couple of weeks. The E30 convertible is pretty well sorted out now. I think I have one, maybe two more projects to do on it this summer but as a daily driver it’s all set. Work to date:
I have the parts to replace the rotors and brake pads. Now I just need the time to do it. The stress bar has really eliminated much of the cowl shake, but I still need to replace the struts and should probably replace the springs while I’m at it. Once that’s all done, I can turn my attention to a new headliner for the hard top and then (hopefully) get the car painted in the Spring.
All of that work and the parts I already have on hand brings me to about $4,800 invested. With a decent paint job and some new suspension work I will have exceeded my $5,000 budget, but we’ll have a pretty decent car.
My wife would always joke about wanting a convertible when she turned 40. The challenge was to find one that would carry all three of us and enough gear to actually go on a trip with it. As a kid, I used to ride around on the parcel shelf of my parent’s Alfa, which probably wasn’t the brightest thing to do, but back then a “child seat” was the carpeted hump in front of the rear seats in the 20 foot station wagon.
So I got to thinking, why wait, since 40 is still several years away. I found this car listed for sale by a fellow member of the local BMW club. It’s basically a sound daily driver, high mileage (165k), tired paint and interior. A solid $2k car that with a little TLC could be an excellent $4k car, but not likely to ever be worth much more than $5k. With that in mind, I launched my little scheme and achieved total surprise.
Here’s my cunning plan: Safety; comfort; performance; and appearance. The first step is to pass the safety inspection and get the car titled in Maryland. Level-set the maintenance items (new tires; oil change; change the fluids; timing belt, etc.) and make sure the car is safe to drive. Next is to clean it up and find some decent seat covers. The leather is not torn, but much of the stitching is coming un-done. It actually cleaned-up better than I thought it would.
The top is new and the windshield was just replaced. The headlights are new and all of the major bulbs have been replaced. (It came with a hard-top as well, but it needs a new headliner.) Once I get a cover for the steering wheel, the comfort items should be about done for now. (Not sure how to get a cupholder into the car, but I’m sure someone has a slick option for that since this was made pre-big-gulp.)
Once we get some miles on the car, I’ll figure out what can be done performance-wise. I don’t think much beyond some plugs, new coil, and a better air filter. More will come later. Finally it would be nice to get a new coat of paint. Assuming everything else hasn’t busted the budget, maybe try to get a basic respray that will last 3-5 years.