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76 2002 Alpina build

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BMW at the tuner

Hitting the dyno on Thursday!  Waiting for a 911 to get out the way!


This is going to be off the hook!  Get ready for some awesome, gas burning, piston screaming video!


(ignore the caddy.  Feast your eyes on the countach in behind.)


I don't know what you guys think but I would say the '02 is the prettiest of the bunch!





The big small step

Headliner done...


I decided to paint protect the nose, leading edge of the flares and the lower half of the rear quarter behind the wheels. 


The nose will chip like crazy, given the geometry.  Can't be helped.  The stuff is nearly invisible...


Back in my garage for some final trim, rear quarter windows and a bit of electrical.  Big step.


Car in the 3M shop for protection


Back home (ya, that feels good!) 


Seam on the car...





Big week this week.  So nice to see the sun visors, rear view mirror and dome light back in where once was open metal.


Some pics to enjoy.


On to 3M plastic paint protection.  I have had a few of these cars now and the nose, being the neg angle that we have all come to love, just collects stones.  I am having the nose, leading edge so the wheel flares and the lower half of the rear quarter behind the rear wheels done.  I am also putting  strip across the back of the trunk for underneath the rear zender flare.


The rear parcel shelf is a custom build to work with the 6 series rear buckets which I heavily modified to fit the correct sitting angles and accommodate the seat belts.  What I really like about it is that below it are my hidden 6x9's for invisible, awesome sound.  It is covered in a thin foamed, perforated vinyl headliner material for the passage of clean solid tunes!  The power antennae is below it as well as I deleted the rust attracting antennae from the driver side A pillar


Pattern matches the front recaros as well.  Nice reference!






And, to the front...






Kaffe and Klassiker

The joy we all share over a morning coffee, a nice sit in front of a beautiful view...:)


Final buff, Sept 26

Headliner, Sept 30th


Beltline, flares, windows- when the snow flies!  2017 will be the year on the road...



It has been exactly 2 years since I took the first bolt out of my '75 '02 and began down the restoration road.  I will be nearly complete at the end of August.  I want to get the clear coat buffed up and need to get the headliner in still.


I was going for August but I decided to pull out and rebuild the back end as well.  I was going to do this later to spread out the joy but it didn't feel right so I just did it.  This delayed me nearly 3 week's as I waited for the sandblaster and powder coater to finish up.  Summer vacation season...


The biggest pain was getting the sunroof to work right again.  The gear in the manual crank is worn a bit so it wouldn't engage the cables.  Got new cables and it still wouldn't do it.  I ended up putting a thin plastic shim in around the cables at the gear point and bound it with the track.  Works great now.  What a relief!


All the mechanical is done.  The electrical needs another few days and it will be done.  I still need to wire up my electric rad fan, gauges on the motor side and my coil with the 2 ballasts.  


I haven't posted in awhile so here are some fresh pics to enjoy!


First, the whole car, air dam will go on after the buff job. 





Got this original and perfect raised emblem from my buddy Christian in Germany.  Good to have such a good buddy!  This was off of his 1602, the first Inka I saw in the flesh!  He no longer has the car but he shared his emblem.  Awesome!



Sunroof closed, still needs a little fine tuning which will be done before we hit the headliner.



Sun roof tracks in chrome, not polished.  This worked out really great!  Big "wow" factor when you crack that gorgeous giant BMW sunroof.  No one seems to make them as big as the bimmers.  You feel like you are full in the sun with them.






Here, the motor on the front sub, still one of my favorites and definitely the way to install the motor, bottom up baby!



Tidied up rear under side.  Good to refresh.  There was and inch of greasy mud on the diff.  I opened up the lsd and all looks perfect as well.  Relubed and sealed it up.  Good for peace of mind



New bearings, shocks and brake lines (courtesy of Ace Andrew).  Those lines fit up very nicely.  I stripped all the new bolt and had them zinc plated.  Yellow zinc doesn't have near the corrosion resistance.  Had to do the cleats on the shafts though.  Not as important as the bolts and it just looks so awesome against the black



Oversized drums courteously of Bill Gruff!  Worked out perfectly.  My e-brake cables ended up about 1" short as a result, I have a solution that I am fine tuning with a barrel nut to allow me to attach the cable from the bottom of the e-brake attachment.


.... and the interior.  I wanted to build something special here so I built a burl wood console and instrument surround.



Tomorrow, I should finish up the rest of the electrical (which is a long process...) and start building the custom parcel shelf for my e46 seats.



Almost there.  Long journey but an enjoyable one.  Learned a tonne and made many good friends along the way!









Today was a really big big day.


I assembled the transmission and engine together.  Then I pulled the subframe and mounted the engine on the subframe.  


I am going with the bottom up install.  I did the lower the engine in method last time and I really hated it.  This was so so much easier.  Fully dressed motor ready to be lifted in!


Beautiful motor.  Love it!






Its home awaits
















Had to get the wiring harness in so the headliner could go in.  Put the rear lights on with the squar'y chrome strip.  Very pleased.


More polishing tomorrow.  Then I can put the flares back on and get them out of my living room because that is where  '02 parts belong when not on the car :)




Fun getting these through the firewall again.  Mensch!




Painless classic wire covering.  Bit of work but way worth it!



Just because it is awesome...  I did clean up the rims today so I guess that counts.



Had to get the wiring harness in so the headliner could go in.  Put the rear lights on with the squar'y chrome strip.  Very pleased.


More polishing tomorrow.  Then I can put the flares back on and get them out of my living room because that is where  '02 parts belong when not on the car :)




Fun getting these through the firewall again.  Mensch!




Painless classic wire covering.  Bit of work but way worth it!



Just because it is awesome...  I did clean up the rims today so I guess that counts.



Golde in Chrome

I chromed up my Golde sunroof track 2 years ago when I started taking the car apart. I laid it in today to see what the fit is like. Looks great and fits great


if you have been thinking about this to give it more pop and get rid of the ugly oxidation, I say go for it!





Another Inka is born!

Those of you following are probably surprised to this fairly dramatic change of direction. After much deliberation, it felt wrong to push this car into the popular colour of white. I felt obligated to make this car something that it is, a 1975. '75, was a time of bell bottoms, leisure suits, tee's and fun colours.


So, an icon needs to be an icon...  


What at a pig of a colour to paint with. The pictures below are after 5 coats of this super transparent paint and 5 coats of clear.  The clear is a highly flexible Sherwin Williams product that is wonderfully transparent and durable. 


 I have a 360 degree video which is also outside in the sun








i am am putting the turbo flares on this car. I was really mixed on that but ultimately, I want to keep the wider wheels and the wheels sticking out is trouble for the paint and the cops.  I will put them back on once the brakes and engine are back in.


Now the assembly fun begins!



I struggled to put the torsion bars in for the trunk lid. Turns out, I am not alone on this and I see many have given up and resorted to a stick, leaving the torsion bars out.

Here is a video I put together that I hope helps you get some space back in your trunk and get your lid opening smoothly.

Good luck!


Quick update pics on the blocking and sanding. Almost time to put the front sub back on and get it out for final paint! As is stands, completely smooth and all the lines a looking good.

Got to go over the engine compartment with 400 yet and then it will be time to fit the hood and trunk.

Always tough to see the work done in these shots but you can see the lines at least.



Centre Console

I decided that I wanted to do a real wood console. I bought a big block of amboya wood and got to work on it with the router.

I used the follower on the original decorative cover for the instrument panel to make a template. This took awhile. It needed to be really accurate so everything would be properly centered and I needed to adjust the tabs to make sure the decorative spacers to close the gauge gap worked properly.

Instrument Panel

The template



PS. If you want one, let me know and I can make you a copy of it.

The front


The back (notice the routered out back to create the same face depth and gauge flanges)


Installed in on the cluster


Here is the base of the centre console


Here is the base of the centre console with the mock up for the gauge cluster. The gauge cluster in amboyna will be done when it warms up outside a bit.



2015 has been a big year of progress for the 2002 project, particularly the body. 2014 was a year of disassembly and cleaning... so much cleaning. In fact, my favorite tool of 2014 was my parts cleaning basin while the favorite for 2015 was my Lincoln MIG 140 welder!

My hope was to have the body in paint by the end of 2015 but it is looking like that is going to be more like Feb 2016.

It took awhile to get things going (winter is about snowboarding for me and it ended with a concussion which put me out for awhile...) but by April, I was starting to make get things going again.

April started with the floor pans



I did this with my buddy Lino. This was the first real bit of assembly that I was doing. Rust gone, new solid floor in. Felt great!

Lino had other work to do so I started building my center console. I know this is a bit of a departure from the standard plastic but, I am building this car to my taste. One of the great luxuries of building your own car :). I happened to have a big 5 lb block of amboya burl wood and I thought it would make for a nice classy addition to the 2002.

I got out the router and spent many hours to put this pc together. Note, this is with a bit of water on it so the burl pops out like it will when it is finished


I needed to do the gauge cluster cover as well. This took many hours of fine tuning...


I am going to put the gauges, radio and (of course) the ashtray in the center console. I have the template cut. Plan to finish this up in May once the rest of the body is done.

Can't wait to see this staring back at me from my dash!


After taking a good look at the nose, all blasted in May, I found a bunch of patchwork that would have been a monumental and expensive task to clean up. Time for the next big call.. to get a new nose or try to work this one. I talked to some of my autobody buddies and with the holes all in the back of the nose and the plates that were welded on the surface of the lower half, it needed to go.

I managed to source one from California, NOS, perfect!


It was a US nose but, no matter, closing up those big old holes would be the first order of business after it made the 3000 km journey to my garage.

In June, with the quarters off, I got to work on the inner quarters and the quarter rear rails. These things always rust out. Even this California body had rusted!


I got some right angle steel from the local steel shop, template out the old ones after cutting them off with the spot weld drill and built these.


Rock solid!

July 27-Aug 1

Time to cut the old nose off and but the new one on. This felt like a really serious job but, since the nose is structurally independent from the rest of the car, it was just a matter of getting it off the ground and going to town with the cut off blade.


All ground and cleaned up...



And, the new nose is on!


The trunk spare tire well was really rough underneath. It is basically a mud flap for the rear driver side wheel. Got that out and replaced it as well. By this point, I am getting really handy with the welder :)


Aug 8,

Time to fit the glass before the roof skin goes on! With the roof machine screwed down where I thought I wanted it, in the front and rear windscreens went. No pinch points or tight spots expected but better to be safe than sorry.

Time to grab a friend and a bucket of water with some soap.


All good! Thanks again Chris!

Aug 30th,

Finally got the glue gun and now it is time to attach that roof! By now, it has been 8 months since I took the original roof off. Felt like another big day. With 30 clamps and the glue gun in hand, it is done and on


Weld up the corners and inner tabs and its a wrap!




Now it is time to strip the roof with aircraft paint stripper. I was going to do the same to the rear panels but after talking to my body buddy a bit more, he convinced me to get Lino to sandblast it. This can only be done by someone with years of experience and a light touch or the panels would be warped so bad that you have nothing but a car full of body fill. Lino has that ablity so, sandblast it is.

By this point, I thought I was done with all the serious welding that I was going to do. But, as it goes, after blasting, I found some more garbage in the rear quarter. Always better to spend more on a better shell up front... lesson learned...


Now in high build epoxy, I was time to take it home again for the final bits of welding before blocking and sanding.

Getting it all in one colour sure felt great!


The neighbours were stopping by a lot sensing that it was done and ready to be put together. Many, having never heard of this car, asking where they could get one! Ah, the natural beauty of this car...

I spent October welding up the rough spots and, being done with what I could do, time to get to the professional for blocking and sanding.


(PS, love the shadowing on the nose on this pic)


Decided that we needed to do something better with the rear wheel wells so, I got the outer fenders and my pro welded them on.

From cheating risk...


To perfect wheel wells!


Cleaned up some pain in the rails as well.

Nice job Tommy!

And so, here we finish in 2015. Blocking and sanding 80% complete.


I look forward to fitting all the panels and sanding before it goes into color in 2016, the year of finished assembly!

Thanks to all of you who have been following my progress!


Installing a new nose

Low and behold, after sand blasting, I found 2 lovely plates face welded onto the front of my car. They were not sealed so the lacey rust had begun below and behind these plates.

Much of the rest of the structure of the nose below the grill didn't look the best so, desicion time again, new nose or fix this one. Well, in my view, the front end of these cars is one of the many important defining, iconic features.

Needs to be done right.



~Therefore, new


I started by "gingerly" cutting away parts of the nose.

For some reason, this felt like a much more critical task than the roof.

Some key take aways:

-The inner fenders and the frame rails don't depend on the nose for squareness. Therefore, there is absolutely no need to brace the inner fenders when you take the nose off.

-Use the front quarters to square up the nose

-Use the quarters and the relative position of the factory holes in the inner fenders to square up the nose.

-Use machine screws in the holes you have drilled out to re-create the spot weld look with a much smaller diameter shank to allow you to position and shift the component.

-Re-weld the bottom of the nose to the frame rails

Most of all, like anything, once you get into this, it really isn't that hard to do.

The nose that I got was never installed in a vehicle. However, the upper shelf had been poached and it was a US nose needing some cleaning up since I don't intend to use one of those big front bumpers. However, the shelf not being there made it a bit easier to put in the nose (I think...)

Step 1: Weld in the US bumper holes


-Sheet metal

-Copper pcs (1/2" copper pipe fitting smashed flat)



-Air compressor for cooling.

-die grinder.

1. Start with making a template for the holes.

2. Use a metal cut off wheel to cut your sheet metal (saves lots of warping)

3. Set in your cut out, trim to size with a grinding wheel.

4. Hold the pc in place with 4 magnets so that it is flush with the body.


5. Place the copper behind the location you intend to weld and hold it on with the magnet.

6. Tack weld and cool with air.

7. Move the magnet and copper to the opposite corner and tack/ cool in that location.

Repeat 6 and 7 until the pc is tack welded at 1' spacing all the way around. Continue to move the copper and magnet until closed. Then die grind and admire.

Remember, you want to have the surface flush or low. You will need to put some body fill in this area.


Step 2: Mount the nose on the car

Provided you are starting with a fully removed nose, quarters and you are looking at your firewall from the front of your car (note, this may be disturbing for some viewers...)


you are now ready to put on the new nose!

The nose should sit very close to the frame rails. It needs to be welded to them but there is a bit of a gap. Be sure that these are painted and then ground to metal where you want to weld, across the inside back (close to the stabalizer bar, mine is red to match the red Alpina velocity stacks) and on the inner wall of the frame rail.

Mark the locations of the holes you need to drill in the nose. Use similar spacing as with the spot welds to make it look authentic.

Get some small diameter, self taping machine screws. Position the nose and put in 2 of the machine screws at into the top of the inner fender to hold it on.


Now, you need to mount your quarters again to make sure that your nose and your quarters line up. Don't rely solely on this. Look at the factory pass through holes on the nose relative to the inner fenders and loosen your machine screws and shift the nose until the relative position of the nose to the inner fenders is the same. I used the micrometer to center. Don't mess around and take time with this step. It must be centered properly.

Once you are in position on the top, put 1 machine screw in on either of the inner fender verticals and your nose will be secure. Measure and position again if necessary.

Then you are ready to weld it on.

Weld all of your pre-drilled holes closed and grind them flush.


Time for a cold one!

Step 3.

Install the shelf.


-Blair spot weld drill.

-WD 40 as lubricant for the spot weld bit.

-Lincoln welder

I spot weld drilled out the shelf from my existing nose and drilled out holes in the new nose to weld the shelf in with.

Follow the same steps as with welding the US bumper holes closed using the copper. Use a big welding clamp to pinch the pcs together. Do the supports to for the hood last!

Note that the braces in the mid of the shelf, at least with the way my spot weld cutting went, was a bit narly. Lots of gentle welding and grinding to make it smooth. High fill to finish the job.


Roof Clip, All done

blog-0689548001447640389.jpgWith the cage removed, putting on the skin goes really smoothly. I still need to do some fitting but here is a peek at the car with the roof sitting on the cage of the vehicle. Coming along, as they say!

In the next week or so, it will be welded and epoxied down. I am going to try a product 3M has to "glue" in the window frames and the drain troughs. I will weld the tabs on the inside of the roof.

If anyone has experience with the glue for this application, give me your feedback. I will share mine


Nov 15, 2015 Update

So, I put the roof on in September. Time to update this post.

You want to remove your roof skin. I really liked doing it this way. It made it really easy to make sure the position of the new skin was right. No weird welds in the pillars. Came together really clean. Note, use a grinder to get this off. The spot weld bit is not worth it for this job. Use a cut off wheel and a grinder.



I tried to upload a littler video capturing the process of removing the roof and the risks of a sunroof car. Didn't work so I will have to put that up on YouTube.

Tools used

-30 3" clamps

-3M 08115 panel bond (use this one, no other)


-Flex-E 6000 non sag sealer (P10491)


-Dual chamber caulking gun.


-A friend

Be sure to line up your roof, cut it so that the seams are close. You will need to tack it down with machine screws once you have positioned it and try your front and rear windshield out before you glue this bad boy down. Install the seal and the window. Make sure it is sitting in properly. Reposition if necessary.

Pull out the windshields and the rubber. Remove the screws. Mark, the ones you like. These will help you put it in the same place when you get out the glue.

Put in your drainage tubes if you are running a sunroof car! Make sure they are extra long so you can pull them up in case you burn them when you weld the corners.

NOTE: Even though this glue is super strong, you should weld in a few spots. Welds are more ductile than the glue and could help keep your roof on in case you are in an accident with your car!

Make sure that all the surfaces you are gluing are ground clean metal. Otherwise, the glue will not hold well.

Load up the 3M 08115 panel bond and install the mixing tube. Let it rip. Dispose of the first 1" or so of the mixture as the 2 compounds may not have mixed well.

-Run a bead all the way around the roof.

-With a friend ( you will need one for this), lay the roof skin on and use the machine screws with you like to make sure the roof is in the right place. Tighten through those holes again

-Get out your clamps and clamp the roof down.

Once you have all the clamps in place, run a bead of the Flex E6000 all the way around the interior of the roof to the cage of the car. Do this after, not before. It will interfere with the 3M08115 if you do it before.

Let everything sit for a day or so until everything is good and cured.

Weld the inner tabs and the corners. Do this carefully if you are dealing with a sunroof car. You don't want to burn your tubes.



Floor Pans

After a long cold winter, finally I can get back onto the 02 Alpina build again!

The project this week was the front floor pans. The driver side was rusted out and the passenger side had some decent surface rust on it.

I got the front floor pans from Wallothnesch.

The floor panel were really good. Thicker gauge metal.

Here is the link.


Penske parts carries lots of body parts in the US. I got some parts from them for my sunroof and they were a great pleasure to deal with! I took a quick look and it doesn't look like they have the floor pans though.

Check it out.


The metal is really good quality. It took about 2 hours to prep to cut out the existing pans with a cut off wheel and a grinder. Then I drilled out the floor pan in roughly the same positions as the spot welds that I had to grind/ spot weld drill out. Then weld them back in.

I found the best was to cut out the existing floor with about 1 inch of overlap with the new floor pans, lay in the floor pan nice and tight. Then draw around the new pan with a Sharpie and then cut the floor out about 3 mm inside the line to make sure the fit was tight.

Here are the results!

First, cut all the way around with about 1 inch of overlap between your pc and the space you want to put it in. Mark out where the frame rails are and cut from the top or cut from the bottom. Grind ALL of the old floor pan away. Be careful not to stay in one spot too long! Over heating, turning the metal blue is bad as it weakens the metal.

Fitting the hole.

Make sure you cut straight 3 mm below your Sharpie line. You want a nice tight fit.


Now lay in your floor pan, draw the outline of the frame rail on the bottom to the pan and mark out where you are going to drill your holes




Drill it out using a 2.5-3mm diameter bit


Grind off the burrs and paint of the edges so you have a good welding surface and start spot welding and shaping the floors in!

This was done with MIG welding.




Still need to close in some of the cracks, clean it up and blast it. Then epoxy and the floor will be done!


A Modern Interpretation of a Classic

My friends are starting to call this project "DJ's Physical Essay of the 2002"

Here is why and I need your help.

Clean and Original

I am putting all the original bits on the car. To get a sense of it, I have NOS vent windows (big find), new original chrome belt line, new side mirrors, new door handles, new square rear brake lights... You name it, it is all perfect chrome and perfect rubber.

Modern body

I personally feel that the Turbo is the body style was the most impactful of all that was done in the '70's. It has undeniably become the basis that all future BMW's where built off of, particularly the 3 series including the M3. The wider wheels, the flare shape to accommodate them, even the airdam. These have become the hallmarks of modern car design that continue to hold on.

As such, I am on a path of wheel flares, zender rubber tail defector and the turbo airdam. That said, the PO was on the same path. The wheel arches are already cut!

Enter Alpina...

No one can deny the inseparable history of the 2002 and Alpina. Not to mention irresistible beauty of the Alpina product in appearance, sound and performance. Some my say that Alpina may not have ever existed without the 2002 (I have been known to postulate that...)

To that end, I have collected an A4 motor, steering wheel and instrument cluster...

The Path

As you can see, I was headed down a path of the turbo body set up (I have the flares, front airdam and the zender rear flare). IMO, it looks very clean and translates well to modern day. Along the lines of a modern interpretation, and the clean look of the Turbo body, I would love to dress it up a bit more with the use of Mineralweiss (Alpine white 3 with carbon metallic) instead of the Chamoix paint. I think this paint will really help exaggerate the lines of the 2002 while not departing too far from the classic clean sporty BMW white

The Dilemma

That said, with the Alpina motor coming to be, I feel like I am on a path to create a mishmash of good things. The classic style of the Turbo but all the performance bits are Alpina. Result being that I will end up with a car that I really like but that doesn't tie back to anything that was done before which will cause it to have a reduced value. That said, at this point, I have no intention of selling this car; however, the day will come when it will be sold (ie. I am pushing up the daisies).

Your turn

This is were I am at the crossroads. Do I do what I want and suffer the certain loss of market value or do I swallow "my essay" for the sake of period accuracy and bring another '02 Alpina tribute into the world; although not a perfect replica. Both are worth quests...

I look forward to your comments!


I have been out enjoying Canadian winter so not too much has happened since December. Besides, who really wants to be working outside in -15 degree C weather...

Anyhow, need to update the roof work...

Tools this time

-Handheld grinder

-4" metal Tyrolit cut off wheel that can also go on the grinder

-Dremel with metal cut off wheel for those tight spaces.

Roof Clip, car removal.

Now, I do have to say, doing the clip first did make this a whole lot easier. I went with grinding the troughs again. I had every intention of spot weld drilling the window frames again but after I got to my 56th spot weld, the life of my last Blair tool was over. So, now what... I got out my trusty grinder and went to it. Quite honestly, this was far better and not all that much slower than the spot weld cutter, especially considering that you have to go at the spot welds with a grinder anyways. Just need to have some finesse and take your time.

So, after 6.5 hours in a barn on an almost freezing day in my buddies barn with my trust petzl head lamp guiding my way, , this is what we have! PS, grinding in your garage is a really bad idea! Get your stuff out and get out the plastic sheet to cover things you can't move. Hot bits of metal are hard on your things...

From the front


From the rear


Some close ups

Front corner


Rear corner


It isn't perfect in here so, while it is exposed, we are going to blast and epoxy the cage to keep with the theme of perfection!

If anyone has questions on where to cut the roof if you are getting into this and the pictures don't help enough, PM me and I will share what my body guy set me up with. It worked really well, as unnerving as it is to "decapitate" the car... yesh...


My Alpina rebuilt motor finally arrived from Germany on September 22nd. Very exciting day. I waited 2 years for this gem and now the work could begin to prepare its final home, a 1976 2002 California car with a sunroof, 5 speed tranny, LSD, and volvo 4 pot brakes.

Now, this build is going to be about perfection. All new hardware (which I have found is incredibly cheap to do, just requires a bit of patience), full colour change and every pc of mechanical hardware reviewed, powder coated, fixed or replaced on the way back.

First, had to remove all the trim, the interior, and the engine and transmission. I decided to go with the drop out technique with the subframe. I have gone with the lift out technique in the past and the risk for something going wrong is much higher! To drop in out with the subframe, it is 12 bolts and your out (in addition to the stuff you have to do pulling it from the top.


When I got the Golde sunroof out, I decided there was an opportunity to improve the appearance of it. I took it to my local chrome plater (lucky for me) and had it chromed.

It came out great! I did the aluminum plates for the M series pedals, and the dome light bezel while i was at it. These guys did a great job!

See for yourselves





Sub Frame

With subframe out, it was a good opportunity to restore it.

I replaced the control arms, track arms, CV boots and bushings (IE Urethane). I put new front bearings in both of the hubs. I had the hub faces sandblasted and professionally coated on the non-braking faces. I re-painted the brake callipers painted classic sporty red and sandblasted the front sub and stabilizer. The subframe and stabilizer were powder coated and came back better than new! This was a really fun job. Nothing like a perfectly clean and new front subframe. Completely tight and looks like showroom quality.

See it here all built






To go with the new build, I added some Bilstein HD struts. These are gas shocks so no oil required in the newly powder coated strut boots! Sorry, no pics. Needed to get the subframe off so I could get it to the paint shop!

First go at the body shop!

This is the way these things go, you take the car to the body guy, he hums and haws and tells you what he doesn't want to do. You get him to do a bit and then you need to take it back and do a whole bunch yourself unless you are into paying instead of doing.

Off we go for round 1!

The Roof



The humming and hawing ends with a plan. The windscreen corners front and back are healed. The big surprise to both of us is that the rust on the roof skin is evident of far more extensive rust damage in the roof than we thought! This is not good. Time to go find a roof skin.

PS. if you have a sunroof car, replace your $20 sunroof seals! That is all you need to invest to keep your 02 from rotting out up there and ruining your car or setting yourself up for serious and expensive body work!

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a new roof skin. The only way to get one is to get a roof clip and drill out the spot welds. Believe me, I talked to a lot of people who know a lot of people who have been rebuilding out beloved '02's for many many years.

After some digging, Coupe King had a beautiful roof clip from an Inca orange car that now became mine. In a crate it went and on to my garage/ shop for the joy of spot weld drilling.

I have to say here that many have gone with just welding the new clip onto the car. It seems to be a personal choice. The big seals on the cars windows seem to allow for a less than perfect alignment of the roof. I am going with the skin to get it on the original cage and get everything perfectly straight with a little less grief.

Pick up and delivery

So, wanting this to be done right, it was time to pick up the car again after welding of the rotted out windscreen corners (also because of the sunroof seal failure) and planning is done.


There is no way I can put my newly built Alpina motor into a less than perfect engine compartment, myself in a less than perfect cabin and I might as well do the boot at the same time. Fortunately, I have found my sandblaster who also has a paint shop for an immediate RM Epoxy to seal in the work!

Sandblasting is serious work. If it doesn't done right, you can warp up the panels and have a bigger problem on your hands than some paint you don't like.

I pulled off the subframe again and we got to work on the sandblasting. Now, I elected to pull out all of the original interior damping material and the PO did (roofing tar, thanks for that one!). I spent hours with a scraper and blow torch melting out said tar and chased it with aircraft paint stripper to "melt" all the left over tar away. Rubbery things are impervious to sandblasting!

Once again, another shot of a sandblasted and epoxied car. The exterior bits will be left for the body work pro!

As blasted




In epoxy





I decided I am going to replace the front floor pans and then it is time for the roof clip.

The Motor

Nothing like a freshly rebuilt motor in a crate!



Unfortunately or fortunately, the motor didn't come with a flywheel, clutch...

So, know it is big decision time. Aluminum or steel, 228 or 215... I decided to go with the aluminum flywheel but I went for 228 to get what I expect to be higher torque at an increase in weight offset by the aluminum flywheel. I am excited to see what this combination is going to react like!

In addition, this is the first time I get to get out of the serious "dirt work!" So nice working with a clean engine, clean parts and new nuts and bolts.

PS, you pretty much need an impact wrench for this job. Doing up the flywheel bolts to 110 Nm without one would be near impossible. In addition, no need for locktite red on the flywheel bolts. The new flywheel bolts with the yellow locktite on them are ready to go. And, don't even think about re-using the old ones. 110 Nm... You don't want to do that 2x...




Everything bolted up nice and to full torque. Can't wait to see this engine turn over a prop shaft.

December 22nd

Roof Skin and Wiring Harness

Wiring Harness

This had to be the job that I was living in the greatest fear of. The spaghetti that came out of my car that i would need to sort out.

3 things I did that made a really big difference.

1. I bought a used '74 wiring harness.

2. The Haynes manual really came in handy!

3. Mount the thing on a board.

The used wiring harness made a huge difference. Having a reference harness gave me a lot of confidence in what was original and what was add on crap. Not to mention, when things were "so so" with the harness I could poach the other harness for connectors and wires. Absolutely critical. Best 75 bucks I have spent so far.

I want to have another good look around at it before I close it all up with the Painless classic sleeve braiding but here it is all labeled and sorted:


If anyone is looking for some help sorting theirs, shoot me a note and I will try to be helpful. I think I have a good idea of what is going on now after spending nearly 12 hours with mine and after a frustrating start.

Roof Clip

This job is not so much fun. I need to get the roof skin off of the cage for the perfectionist who is doing the body work. It took a bit of time to figure out what was best to use on what surface. Ultimately, the Blair spot weld drill bits are AWESOME but you CAN'T run the dry or you will only get 6 holes per tool. I used WD40 after burning through 8 sides of the hole tool. I thought it was because of catching on edges, etc, but if you run it with WD, you will last a long time!

I spot weld drilled the front windscreen and got the grinder out for the side. I finished 2 sides in 3 hours. Tomorrow, I will have the pleasure of liberating my perfect roof skin from the cage and ready to be put on the car.

Half done...


Dec 24th and 25th

Finished with the roof clip! The Blair spot weld tool worked great with a shoot of WD40 between each cut. The tool did all the spot welds I had left to do (about 40) and is still good to do more! Big difference to the 9 or so I was getting before.

I ground the troughs down the sides. Too many welds and the size of drill needed would have turned it into swiss cheese.

All the tools I used

-Hitachi grinder

-Dremmel with metal cutting disks

-Blair spot welding cutter.

-WD 40

-Pertex assembly fluid. (this is great stuff by the way. A bit of lube to help thinks go together is very very good)

Here it is, ready to go after 7 hrs of grinding and cutting



Pedal Box

Time to put this thing together.

I got a new clutch cylinder from Roger's Tii. Mine still works but the boot is shot. Good time to replace.

New parts

-Ireland Engineering complete pedal box rebuild kit

-New clutch cylinder.

All hardware was cleaned up.

I had the box and pedals blasted the powder coated. Whatever hardware I couldn't replace, i had zinc dichromate coated. Not the best for anti corrosion (I found out later) but it looks close to the original cadmium coating which is getting hard to get for environmental reasons..

This is what it looked like before (grab a bag...)



What a mess.

There is a large rectangular hole in the bottom of the box. Once the pedal box insulation foam inside the engine bay rots out, that thing is open and the pedal box and driver side floor pan are filling up with dirt and water. Not something to leave unchecked. I am going to see if i can make up some kind of a plastic cap to close it up.

So, after all the blasting coating and replacing




The pedals all operate effortlessly. That IE kit comes with no instructions so make sure to take lots of pictures so you can put it back together with less figuring than i had to do. Fortunately, I have the German mechanics manual to turn to in addition to all the photos I was taking along the way...

Steering Column

My cast aluminium ignition on the steering column was cracked. I think the PO tightened the collar with the locking nut fully seated. This is a no no. The nice crack was straight through and made the column feel looser than it should.

I got a new casting which had the side benefit of perfect new door handles and a tight new ignition. Not to mention, the steering column lock was broken or removed by the PO. Now she locks up tight.

I paint stripped and painted the column and the steering shaft since it is visible in the engine bay.

I don't have a before but here is the after...


Tight and turns nice and smooth. I hooked up that nice little brown and yellow wire that makes the horn work as well as part of my wire clean up. All the extra wires gone... It is amazing what people will do to avoid running a proper wire with a fuse to run a stereo.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that homemade lazy stereo installs are the death of most of these cars. From cut door panels (don't do it, 200 to replace!) to hacked up wiring...

That is about all I can do until next week. I am going to go take my trust Blair spot weld cutter, WD40 and dremmel over to my buddies where my body is hanging in epoxy and cut out the floor pans so I can get the replacements welded in.

More coming soon!