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A poor man's Restoration

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I love the look of a vintage roof rack on a 2002.  I searched for months trying to find one but had no luck.  I was able to reach one company that makes them but they only had a limited supply and would not sell me one.  So I decided to make my own, kind of.  I purchased a VW bug rack off ebay and decided to modify it.  It was quite a bit of work because It was too tall as well as too narrow.  So I started by chopping the legs, all 6.  I got it to as low as I wanted it and welded some new metal feet to the bottom of the legs that fit in the rain gutters.  Then I had to figure out how to widen the rack, that was the hard part.  I cut the three cross bars in half and added about 2 inches give or take to the middle of the bars and welded them back together.  For the base of the rack, I left that in tact and instead, welded a 1.75" metal piece to the rack sides where the base connects via a screw.  I'm super happy with how it came out.  It's not going to be carrying any couches anytime soon but it's strong enough to carry some camping gear or whatever.  


The first pic was taken while I was still working on it.  The last two pics are the finished rack. 





A few new pics

I recently took some pics of the car while on a drive in the desert.  I haven't posted much on the blog since I got the car back from paint but have been driving it a lot and have done quite a few things to the car including new carpet, tucked front bumper, dyed the rear seat to match the brown door panels, installed an electric fuel pump and repainted the steelies.  I'm also currently modifying a VW bug roof rack to fit on the car.  I'll post some pics of that when its finished.  My future plans for the car are to install a 5 speed transmission, recover the front seats and reinstall and fix the frigiking A/C cause its getting hot as hell out here in AZ.  










After 6+ months at the paint shop, I finally brought the car home in the pouring rain and began reassembly right away.  I'm really happy with the color and work.  I thought I would be able to put it all back together and have it running within a week but thats not the case.  While everything is disassembled, I keep finding new things to fix before I put it all back together which is taking me down multiple rabbit holes.  Some of the things that have held me up is replacing the sunroof drain tubes.  What a pain and i found out that the paint and body guys drilled through the tubes when they put the door seals on so that's why I spend days trying to yank the tubes out with no success.  I'm also finding new electrical issues I didn't have before paint and body.  And the brakes are rock solid so I need to replace the brake hoses.  I am really happy with how the interior I made is looking in the car and the cheater trim I put on.  I also really like the mix of old badges with the new paint.  I think it gives the car character.  I do need to figure out something with these bumpers.  




Shirts are in!


The shirts I designed are finished.  Thanks to those individuals who reached out to me and wanted a shirt after I posted the design on my previous blog post.  The first 7 or 8 shirts have already been mailed out.  I only printed 20 but I still have about 10 left in sizes medium, large and XL.  The price for the shirts are $20 each plus $5 for shipping and handling.  Please message me If you are interested.  


The shirts are super soft, next level brand and the graphic is a two color screen print so it will last a long time.  


FYI - The shirt design is tongue-in-cheek and not intended to be a literal german translation.  







While my car is finally getting painted this week after being at the body shop for over 3 months, I decided to make this t-shirt graphic that I had an idea for.  It seems like the closer the car gets to having paint and body complete, the more impatient I become.  Glad I could occupy my time with the graphic while I wait for the call from my paint and body guy saying that the car is done.  I'm thinking of printing a small amount of shirts so If you're interested, please hit me up.  


Now, the car is being painted Riviera blue.  It took me a long time to decide the color being a graphic designer and all but I feel like I picked a color that is just perfect for me.   I'm keeping the chrome trim but deleting the lower trim.  I also deleted the front side reflector holes as well as some of the bumper holes.  I'm putting the big bumpers back on but I told the body guy to delete a number of bumpers holes on the side of the car and around the back.  I plan on eventually getting early bumpers and when I do, I wont have those ugly big holes on the side of the car.  The only problem with deleting some of the bumper holes right now is that the rubber accordion bumper things will have to be attached without the bolts,  I'm thinking I can hack the bolts off and use some strong 3m tape. maybe??  Below are some picture of the car.  The guys at Uptuned auto in Glendale did a hell of a job cause the car I dropped off to them was rusty and had more bondo on it than paint.  Oh, Uptunded auto also did a hell of a job spraying the engine bay with the engine in!.  I know you all may be displeased with this information but I'm on a budget, with no garage and no patience to pull the motor out and do an lengthy retoration.  Plus I want to drive it, A LOT and NOW!  Hope you enjoy the pics and hit me up if you're interested in a shirt. 




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The car has been at the bodyshop for over 2 moths and is now down to bare metal.  There were a lot of things hiding underneath all the bondo on the car.  Not a straight panel on the car but I find comfort in the fact that this car is getting the proper bodywork done after 40 years of shitty paint jobs and bad bodywork.  As you can see from the pictures, there is a lot of hammering to be done.  While the car has been at the body shop these last 2 months, I've been getting more and more anxious to get it back so I decided to make some door panels from scratch with the help of my bad ass Mom who can pretty much make anything and knows how to sew.  All the materials for the vinyl door panels cost less than $100.  I'm using basic plywood for the door cards.  I also found some BBS RA (15x6 ET33) wheels on craigslist.  They need some work and repainting but I thought it was a pretty good deal for $200.  The guy that I bought them from originally had them on a VW and the wheels had been sitting in his garage for 15 years.  Does anyone know if these wheels for sure fit on the car without longer studs or a spacer? 












I recently sent the car off to get bodywork and paint done.  I got a good deal here in Phoenix through a friend.   I would love to have done a bit more of the bodywork and paint myself but I don't have a garage.  It needs some rocker panel work and we're filling the lower trim holes as well as the front side reflector holes.  I'm gonna keep the holes for the big bumpers cause I'm planning on driving this car a lot and Phoenix drivers are some of the worst.  The car has been repainted a number of times so when the body work guy sent me some photos of what it looked like after they sanded it down, I was amazed at how crazy all the colors look.  There really isn't much left of the original color after I did quite a bit of welding inside and in the trunk so I don't think Im going to paint it the original green color again.  Sorry guys.  I think I'm going to paint it Riviera Blue.  I really don't like blue cars but this blue is perfect for this car and it will go perfectly with the custom interior Im making.  Hope you enjoy the pics. 











When I ripped up the nasty old carpet and discovered the rust on my car, It looked like such a big job that I thought there was no way in hell I'd be able to repair it or pay to have it repaired.  But after deciding I was going to tackle it myself, I borrowed a welder from a family member and taught myself to weld.  I welded the drivers side and passenger side floor boards.  It wasn't hard, just time consuming.  And I did it all myself.  I thought I did a pretty good job for my first time doing metal work.  I absolutely love coming up with solutions to complete my projects.  It's the most rewarding feeling when working on the car.  


Then came the electrical issues.  When I got the car, the only electrical thing that worked was the stereo.  I even found an old Jackson Browne tape in the glovebox.  Its in the trash now (the stereo, no the J. Browne mix).  I found out why non of the rear lights worked after I pulled the back seat out.  There was a little petrified mouse laying in a field of seat stuffing that had chewed through the wires running to the back of the car.  I figured he either died from electrocution or peacefully in his bed. 


Over the past 8 months I've owned the car, my absolute favorite part of my poor man's restoration project has been searching for good deals on unconventional parts that will work for the car.  Whether It be on craigslist, ebay, 2002faq, salvage yards or the hardware store.  I find great joy in finding unique pieces and ways to fix and restore the car without spending top dollar for OEM parts.  I definitely like to look outside the box.  And I think in the end,  this approach will pay off as I will have a one of a kind 2002 thats both unique and fits my style.  Some people might frown upon not using original parts for the car but I believe I'm saving this car from being a pile of trash and I like the Idea of reusing as much as I can.  


Some of the good deals I've found are some Recaro style cloth seats for under $100.  I think the seats are good candidates for leather and tweed reupholstering.  The rails were a bit narrow so I had to widen them with a couple pieces of metal from the hardware store.  I used the left over piece to make a gas pedal.  Before finding the Recaro knock offs, I spend 3 summer days in an Arizona salvage yard ripping out some E30 sport seats but then found out I'd have to cut the car up to make them fit.  It's all good, made $80 on the resale.  Also found some corrado steelies on craigslist for under $100.  Lastly I found a new old stock AMCO shift knob on ebay for $40.  I think its pretty slick looking and way better than the sticky rubber shift knob with continuous twisting action that was previously on there.  Thanks for reading and check out some of the pics.  IMG_1862.JPGIMG_1971.JPGIMG_1886.JPGIMG_1242.JPGIMG_1778 (1).JPGIMG_2556.JPGIMG_2555.JPGIMG_2559.JPGIMG_2418.JPG




IMG_1002-copy.jpgEver since I was a kid, I've always wanted to own a classic car.  I just never had enough money to buy one.  I always thought I would get a muscle car because my dad was always working on restoring his AMX when I was a kid.  I always liked the 2002's but It wasn't until I became an adult that I realized I wanted to restore a classic bimmer.  While my dad was a muscle car guy, he also owned a number of bmw's through the 80's and 90's like a 320i, and a 528i.  I learned to drive stick in the 528i in the early 2000's and while I hated the look of it when I was a teenager with it's faded rust colored paint, it was the funnest car I've ever driven.


IMG_2077-copy.jpgIMG_21112.jpgI had been looking for a 2002 for quite some time here in AZ but it was slim pickings,  lots of deals fell through.  My dad calls me one day from New Mexico and says he found a 2002 in the back of a guys shop.  He said it needs a lot of work and it doesn't run but its complete and cheap.  I bought the 1976 2002 for $700. The body looked solid but as I tore it apart, I found a lot of rust and a lot of bondo.  Everything rubber needs to be replaced.  This is a big task and I'm working on a graphic designers budget.  I've had the car for 6 months now and have fixed a whole lot of things on my own with very little experience and help from my dad over the phone and the bmw2002faq community.   I hope to write some more blogs about my experience restoring my car on a budget.  Here's a few pics of the car and some old school pics of the cars my family owned in the 80's.  Oh yeah,  And the reason I call the car Rusty Bob is because I love Bob Marley and know that he owned a 2002 and that was another reason I decided to get a 2002.  Cheers. 


Work completed:

Got it running

Welded new floorboards

fixed wiring issues

New shocks and springs

Rebuilt shifter

Rebuilt carb

New plugs

New battery and cables

Fixed gauge cluster

New wheels and tires

Pulled emissions wires

New pedal box

New clutch MC




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