Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Red Coupe - Introduction

I've been attached to VWs for what seems like forever; I've definitely cut my teeth on watercooled VWs as my introduction to being a hands-on with automobiles. After all the effort, money spent and time in the VW scene, however, I really needed a change. I looked all over for a suitable small car I could play with to take on a new challenge and have a more rewarding driving experience if I chose to do so as my ownership played itself out. My requirements were something reasonably priced to buy and to get parts for, as well as relatively easy to work on; this is why older cars are awesome. I hopped forums and did extensive independent research on several models from VW, Audi and BMW (Porsche is still a bit out of my range unfortunately) over the course of ~14 months. I checked every online resource I could to see what was on the market within reasonable driving distance and decided to sell my second car.

My search lead me to a old manual transmission BMW 3-series; a zinno red 325i E30 to be exact. I didn't know what to expect, but I knew I liked what I heard from the PO about the condition of the drivetrain and was willing to drive out to see if everything else was up to my standards. I got to the POs house in PA and he was a nice guy. The car lived up to most expectations from the pictures, but more importantly I got to see in detail everything that I'd want to change, replace, improve upon and repair...the list was pretty long. Fortunately, the price was right and the test drive of that old straight six with short gearing (4.10 LSD) left me with a smile on my I bought the car and drove it home. The original stereo was a tape deck so I brought my 'Wut? Thee Album' Redman tape (of the same color), but the blurred blown LCD panel didn't clearly inform me a security code needed to be entered (turned out to be written on the top of the stereo later) so no music for me. It was for the best though, because I wanted to find out all the noises the car made, find out what was normal and what wasn't, see what problems were around the corner and most importantly listen to the motor and IE exhaust wind through the rpms. It was a nice drive.

I got home and immediately popped the hood, popped off the kidney grill, then started prepping it for matte black paint, which I had in my garage. It was mid-January and cold as sht, so I did a half-assed job, but I was determined to put my touches on this new car as quickly as possible. I called it a night a little after sunset and 4 coats of SEM were applied.

Not much more happened with the car as winter was ironically just getting warmed up. Thankfully the PO gave me a Bently Manual (which I studied a couple times a day) and a fresh set of winter tires on steelies; the latter would turn out to be the best gift ever in just another week or two. Before I put on those steelies, the snowfall started small. Here is one of my earliest shots of it:

Still much work to be done, but I'd have to wait until Spring.

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