Ownership Verified: '80 BMW 316 e21 - Alpinweiss: Because why the hell not

l3v4rt

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'80 BMW 316 e21 ; '97 Opel Vectra B Caravan 1.8
Hello everyone!
This is the story of my first car - the first BMW 3 series, the '80 e21. It is packing a 1.6 liter engine that used to produce 90 hp. Right now a lot of these horses have been shot, crippled or eaten. <_<

The reason and the story of the purchasing the car is based on the moto : ''why the hell not''. It was 17th of August and I have not yet been on vacation or at the seaside that year. A friend of mine sent me the link to a beat up white BMW and honestly I'm not even a fan of a BMW, my dream has always been and still is to own a Opel Manta or Opel Rekord D Coup?. So, under influence of wanting to visit sea I decited to go see the car that was by the sea and have a great day and go on a road trip with the boys. :cool:

We meet and start driving - of course it started to rain...and rained all day. :cry: We go see the car, the car was dirty, smelled like cigarettes inside, the seats were torn, it made funny noises and the body was in bad shape, but I would not let a day go to waste, so I throw a random number of money, substantially lower than asked price - just because. The guy agreed - sh*t. Kinda shocked but oh well, looks like I bought my first car. With mixed feeling we proceeded driving to the beach with friends, experiencing my first RWD skids because of wet roads and poor tires. Driving home on the highway the car managed to drive about 250km far with zero problems but infinite fuel cunsumption then driving 130km/h or more. :|


(After purchasing)


(Automn drive)


Later on I serviced the brakes and make the car good enough to pass the MOT. But that simply won't do, will it?
I decited to make this my first project car and make something out of it, to restore it and make a fun car but not break the bank, since I'm still a student. :rolleyes:

The bimmer got different seats up front - Recaros (taken out of an old Opel) and after some MacGyver stuff I made it fit. The 13 inch steel wheels had to go since I bent one when after a skid I went into the curb and the tires needed to be upgraded. I changed the wheels to 15'' OZ Alpina King and fitted new Michelin PilotSport 3 (195/15/15) and boy, the grip is great, first time I had new tires on a car. The 15'' wheels were straightened and edges restored. Since the grandpas old suspension was boat-like soft I decited to fit newer, sportier suspension - Bilstein B8 Sport with H&R -35mm springs. Now we're talking! The engine recieved a complete service (plugs, alternator, coil, thermostate, filters, fluids, ..). :)


(after cleaning)


(wheels sorted)




The car ran good but the carburator liked to cause problems but still I managed to get some roadtrips done this year and have some fun. :cool:

But still, it was still not good enough, not for me. The body was hit in front, at back (2cm of filler) and on the side (drivers door) and the rust... oh the rust! :blink: So i took the car apart and sorted the rust and have it resprayed, the restoration process is the story for another time. The goal was - do the best I can with the body for as little money as i can. Now I know, this sounds bad, but i did not cut expenses where it mattered. The body was fixed by me and with the help of my father and the preparation for the respray was also done by me under instructions from my friend that later resprayed it after. I'll let the results speak and you guys will tell me if I've done well but have in mind that this was my first project. :p


(visiting Austria)

(after first cleaning of the restored body)

(After new MOT)

The car has been completed but there is still much work to be done - engine and transmission upgrade, seats need to be re-upholstered, pop-out windows would have been nice, steering rack and steering wheel changed, LSD (humble wish),...

Few photos of the last drive in the season:









I hope you've enjoyed reading and that we will have a great discussion. Thanks for reading, drive safe! :)

Proof pic:
 

nicjasno

BMW Perfectionist
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I've seen this car irl and it looks absolutely lovely after the rust repairs.

I met l3v4rt when i was on the bicycle and he was stopped at a red light. This was just shortly after he gor the car. I gacve him the thumbs up and we later met at the old & rusty picnic.
 

Der Stig

is Der Slut
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Nice work on the E21, doesn't look like you cut any corners at all.
 

l3v4rt

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2016
Messages
22
Location
Slovenia
Car(s)
'80 BMW 316 e21 ; '97 Opel Vectra B Caravan 1.8
Thank you guys, I feel glad to be a part of the community!
User nicjasno really helped me a lot and is great to hang out with him irl, I believe a beer is in order, since I joined FinalGear forums after nicjasno suggested!

I'm thinking of a write up of the restoration process with more details and pictures, hopefully it would not be too long or boring and you guys will like it, I'll try to create good content, maybe the rust repair will seem interesting to you guys. Thank you for the kind words. :)
 

loose_unit

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I'm thinking of a write up of the restoration process with more details and pictures, hopefully it would not be too long or boring and you guys will like it, I'll try to create good content, maybe the rust repair will seem interesting to you guys. Thank you for the kind words. :)
Please do! This would be awesome!
 

R.A.

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Very, very nice job with the car! And I like plans you have for it :)
 

l3v4rt

Member
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Location
Slovenia
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'80 BMW 316 e21 ; '97 Opel Vectra B Caravan 1.8
Hi! I've decided to post the first batch of the photos from the restoration work. This post will be dedicated to body work that has been done to the bimmer. I'd like to point out that this was not my workshop so I had to speed things up since I didn't want to hogg the place. It took me exactly one month to finish the car from taking apart - body work - respray prepping - respray - assembly. Form 10th august to 10th september. During that I went on vacation for one week so I only had 3 wokring weeks on it. Crazy amount of work had to be done and on a student budget and as my first project I'm quite happy with the progress. I had to buy materials, pay for the respraying place and for beer. Everything except the respray was done by me with the help of my father, the tips for prepping the car for paintjob were given to me from a friend that also layed the color on the bimmer.

Let's digg in boys, shall we?


This was waiting for me under the carpet and an aluminium plate.


Cutting off the first section that has to be made from fresh metal. By hand!


Well here is a picture of the process. I wanted to make it look as close to original as possible but of course if you make everything so fast and by hand, it can't be like from the factory. :rolleyes:


Outside looking much better than before, with a coat of primer.


This was waiting under the window seal and was in bad shape


After rust cleaning it was clear that this is in too bad shape to be on the car, the filler would crack, it would continue to rust so it had to go.


Changing this section was really challenging, especially with the dash inside (no time to dissassamble).


Critical point for the rust. I used a thicker metal here, putting one part into the hole and welding around and the putting another shell on top also with a bit thicker metal, just to be sure. These zones are crutial at any collisions and these kind of repairs should be taken seriously.


sorting out any surface rust behind the bumper and putting primer on it, later the fresh Alpinwhite color.



This was also tricky to repair but unfortunatly I can't fint the picture after repair. If I find it later, I'll post it.


First repair zone came up nicely I think


Back side of bumper being refreshed and protected.


Oh boy, that was a really bad place to have rust. It's a hard part to reproduce, the lines are really accurate here and if you don't get it right it it will look bad once the car is painted. There is also a container for evaporating gas from the tank and to weld here is dangerous but with a bit of MacGyver skills it can be done. :p


There was rust all around the rear windows on both sides.


Suprise under the rear bumper. :?


Where there is a hole, there was no more edge for the new sheet to be welded on so that had to be done first.


There we go! New edge welded on, after grinding it's ready to be welded with the new covering piece and then primer everything!


Welded on the edge and not looking that bad. :rolleyes:


The super bad place with rust has been elegantly repaired.


The rear not looking shabby either. These parts were welded on the endge and that is NOT a way to do it proper but as time was a big factor I just want it to be done as fast as possible. This area is covered with chromed bumper so it is not visable. On other places I tried to drill small holes and then spot weld there together two pieces but here it was not considered that important. But this was is not proper and if you can, definitely go the extra mile. :cool:


Refreshing the boot :)


Passanger floor was also rusty but the process was the same as on the other side.


That's better isn't it?


New edge on the bonnet/hood.


Well here it is, a few photos of restoration process. I know that a lot of things are not as they should be and trust me, if I had more time, money and tools and knowledge I could make it even better but for the first project I'm pleaesed. This is how body work was done, there was a lot of smaller things that had to be adressed but I did not take photos of them. :)

Feel free to comment and share your oppinion on it, if you would like I can also write about the respray prepping and the process after metal work. Thank you guys and I hope you enjoyed the reading. Drive safe!
 
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nicjasno

BMW Perfectionist
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So, when do you have time to pop by the workshop? There's a few holes that need fixing on the touring shell :)
 

Der Stig

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Terrific work, especially given how short the time span was. I'd say come down and save my Bronco, but meh :p
 

Lastsoul

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Great thread! I love the idea of buying a worn old car just for fun and ending up fixing it. Given the fact that you only had month/ 3 weeks, it looks really really good! :)
 

AkiH

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I like what you are doing to this car. Those wheels are very nice too.
 

l3v4rt

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Location
Slovenia
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'80 BMW 316 e21 ; '97 Opel Vectra B Caravan 1.8
Hi guys, thank you so much for kind words! :)

As promised - this here is going to be the respray part (hopefully in one post). First of all I'd like to point out that this was my first time preparing a car for a respray. I learned along the way and have been given tips and tricks from my dads friend who paints cars, he stopped by a few times to check out the work and helped out when things were too complex for me.

Respray started in the boot. Here are two pictures after spraying on a new fresh paint. Grinding in the boot is a huge pain the butt and you'll be breaking your back for sure, at some point I even seat inside and continued the work. :lol:





Later on - filler was applied. I was carefull not to put too much on the body since I din't want to grind off later on that much and waste time, pads and risking that filler wouldn't be completly dry. I made one pass everywhere where it was needed, if there was needed more I applied it later, so no thick layers.

















Grinding has started and that was a truw workout let me say. There were a lot of places where you could use a maschine but somewhere you just have to rely on the good old elbow grease. :cool: As I remember I used pads wth roughness 120, 240, 320 at this point.




These dors were repaired after a crash so long stripes of filler were applied so after grinfing it off there would be a smooth transision.















After all thegrinding and matting the paind coat of primer was applied and later two thin coats of different spray filler. Using two of the different tone of gray colour is a good indicator that shows you if you grind through the first layer. Another trick that you will see here is spraying a dark blue or green colour on the spry filler but you only make a fog, so it will stick on the spray filler on it's own and show you the structure of the filler, if it looks like cellulite than you have more work to do - until it's flat.







Here I have sprayed the door frames and hinges, so it will look more tasty :rolleyes:
before:




After:










Hood also needs a respray but this will be taken care of then the engine is out but the top part can still be refreshed..



After all of this I put on the lights and plates for a ride to the friend who later on took it to the respraying chamber and resprayed it.





So we made it to my friends house and the fine girnding of the spray filler has begun. Here you'll see the cellulite on the edge of the bonnet and that can only be sorted using hands, using a maschine on a edge will take you through the spray filler to the primer colour or even worse - bare metal.



Watch out for structure like this (if it looks like this - you have more work to do; until it's flat):


Near the end - approaching wet grinding with as I remember 800 sand paper. Elbow grease lewel was low at that point.. :?







And the day was over - bimmer went to sleep for the last time before respray. :cry:




Few days later and I recieve a call from a friend that the bimmer is done. It was delievered back at the evening but still the Alpinewhite looked amazing to me! I was thinking about another colour but when I saw the resprayed car I was so happy with my decision. :D





Over the restoration my Opel Vectra turned over 320 000km.






So this is it! I know the post is long and there is a lot of pictures and words but I hope you enjoyed reading and maybe someone learned anything from this - I know I did! I didn't have any experiences with resprays before and I'm so happy that I could prepare the car on my own and saved some money but learned a lot. I know everything that has been going on and every mistake and stuff that I could improve but still I'm proud on the project. Well, I think I wrote enough for now.. Next up - refreshing details and assembly.
Thank you for reading!
 

public

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Great work, and a lot of it!
 
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