For those who do not speak or understand German (me included) it translates to "God is in the details". Who knew. It happens to be an old German proverb that dates back a few hundred years although sometimes misattributed to a gent named Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe a German/American modern day architect who appears took the liberty to replace one word, no doubt to express his level of frustration in dealing what ever he was working on at the time. Quite possibly his own BMW
Wikipedia defines the phrase as the following:
"The devil is in the detail" is an idiom that refers to a catch or mysterious element hidden in the details, meaning that something might seem simple at a first look but will take more time and effort to complete than expected and derives from the earlier phrase, "God is in the detail" expressing the idea that whatever one does should be done thoroughly; i.e. details are important.
Regardless of the interpretation it is fitting and somewhat ironic that this catchphrase finds itself rooted in German lore. Something no doubt many a German engineer takes great pleasure in.......but I digress.
If you have not guessed by now, I have experienced all the above in spades these last few month, six and counting to be precise, sorry I once again digress. Although I have been reminded by a couple of pro's that this is normal for a build such as mine, the waiting at times is agonizing. I am slowly resigning to the fact it may, scratch that..... it will take more time to get to where I want to be. Last February I thought I was close to the end, had everything covered, everything figured out, had all the bases covered.....boy was I wrong.
Since that last entry I swear my cherished , much loved ride has decided to fight back at every turn with my attempts to make her whole again. From scheduling issues, parts availability, vendor/service issues or newly installed parts failing unexpectedly. Oh ya and a small electrical fire too.... saw my life flash in front of me. Fortunately it was a very small matter, more smoke that anything else, (a short while fitting the seats but did cause some concern.) but very unsettling at the time to say the least. It just seemed it has been one thing after another that has brought me to this level of frustration. I was so focused on have this road worthy this summer that it drove friggin' crazy with every setback and the great weather. I should interject I have been able to drive the car but just to and from getting some of the outstanding issue addressed. Sitting on a essentially a box with a back rest is not what I would call enjoyable. I am slowly learning to accept it will take as long as it takes......as one friend and fellow enthusiast told be recently, " it will all be worth it in the long run, be patient you will be glad you took your time. It's the devil in the details that will make your project worthwhile"
Here are a few additions to the car as it progresses.....
They say that "necessity is the Mother of Invention" so after my electrical scare I decided to cover the amp under the rear seat and this panel for the alarm and locks that sits under the drivers seat for some added protection. Took me a few days to fabricate the covers but they will be able to provide some protection.
Got a few more of the shiny bits on the car........
Had some interior bits re-plated.....and a few new ones too!
........and a bit of a teaser with the first test fit
Thanks for your the time and allowing me to vent.
As the final piece of the interior make-over, I decided to try my hand in coming up with something that would house a pair of Alpine SPR-60's. I went into this project somewhat blind, not knowing if what I had planned would work. I did not want to place the speakers in the doors. I had made that mistake long time ago having the door hacked up to drop in a couple of 5" speakers. I had seen a few projects on the site that used prefab moulded kick panel but few had used a panel type install rather than just mount the speakers on a carpeted bulkhead. Another area of concern was how I was going to deal with the wiring that ran up from the floor and the contour of the bulkhead itself. It did not really lend itself to an easy solution.
Considering the lengths I have gone to with the the rest of the interior, I felt running the carpet up the kick area would not look as good as a custom panel. So with that in mind I traced out a rough template from a piece of old carpet onto a 1/8 piece of marine ply. Once fitted to each side I glued 1/2 foam to the back. This was to fill in the contours of kick panel in order it would sit flush and create a larger flat surface to mount the speaker. Once the hole was cut into the bulkhead, I transferred the measurements to the template in order to cut out the hole for the speakers mounting ring. I cut another larger ring from 3/8 MDF to form the curb the grill would sit in.
Once both rings were mounted a light weight filler was applied to contour the edges to the desired shape. The next step was to apply a coat of fibre glass resin to the face side of the panels. After some final shaping to the back side to get the proper fit , a coat of epoxy was applied to the back side to complete the job. All that remained now was to drill the pilot hole for the speakers' mounting ring and to secure the panels in place for the final mock up.
Now for the wiring issue. I am sure like many I have questioned why both the wiring AND the fuel/vent lines have to run thru the cabin. I get the wiring part but the fuel lines is another issue. However, with the addition of a pre-amp and its required wiring, I had two rather large looms running down along both frame rails. I feared left untouched it would present a rather ugly lump once the under pad and carpet were installed.
So I passed some time with the help of a couple of beers and came up with a plan to deal with the problem. I decided to fabricate a moulded fibreglass panels to cover the wiring. Essentially widening the frame rail by 3/4"but it would incapsulate the wiring and fuel line . So with the help from a roll duct tape and a few feet of 1x2, I fashioned the upper leading edge of the piece by rounding off the edge of the 1x2 so I could follow the line of the inside rocker. I then cut two pieces for the front and rear sections of the rail and secured them in place with the duct tape.
Probably not the most glamorous manner to complete a template, but i it worked reasonably well for my needs. I cut to shape a piece of cardboard to fill in the side to complete the mould. Covered the entire mould with tape to ensure I could remove the fibreglass fairly easily, once it had set. I then applied a liberal amount of resin to the fibreglass mat and waited for it to set.
I should point out that when I laid out the rocker moulds, both seat belt retractors were not installed. I found it easier to lay-up the form without them in place...and far the messy. I cut the openings for them once I had them fitting the rockers properly and the second coat of resin. I made sure there was enough room to the under pad and carpet.
After the pieces were allowed to dry and cure they were shaped to ensure the proper fit, a second coat of fibreglass strand and resin was applied to ensure the panels would be strong enough to stand up to any possible impact.
I originally planned to rivet the panels in place but I decided to take a more passive approach and use some Gorilla tape to secure them in place. I thought it would prove to be a better choice if for any reason I had to access and the wiring or heaven forbid, the fuel lines. Besides, I did not want to start to drill additional holes in the floor., than necessary.... We'll see how it stands up to any possible traffic.
Interior Update.....Final Mock-up
Now with all the elements of the interior completed it was time to reinstall them all ....just to make sure they ALL fit properly. They did not. As a result I had to take a few more hours to make a few fine adjustments and trim out the rear seats in order the seatbelt mechanism worked freely, This is something that I did not do do when I started out the initial layout. I should have taken a lil' more care at the time. Oh well.
Now that the new door seals were in, a few fine adjustments to the door cards and rears was required to ensure the clearances were correct. The final wiring was buttoned up with the 3rd LED brake light placed in the custom hat tray. The final touch was to hook up the puddle lights .
Ready for upholstery now.....
Thanks for your time
I wish to start out by saying this part of the build, replacing the headliner, I wanted no part in doing. For those who have done their own, I remain in awe of your ability to do so. In my case, I am somewhat limited with space to do the work but more importantly had no confidence nor trust I could do the job justice. So I decided to have it done by someone with more experience. After seeing his work I was more than happy to hand off another part of the build to him.
The next confession I wish to make is that I wanted something different than the stock option. For the purists who may read this post will likely question my choice for the headliner but the OEM replacement would simply not work in my view.
Given the lengths I am taking for this build I did not want to take a cookie cutter approach to the headliner.
I had looked at countless samples when trying to narrow down my options but kept coming back to one. Alcantara was the one that checked most of the boxes. For those not familiar with the name, it has a suede type feel but synthetic material...but not cheap and in my situation not that practical of a solution given the cost and availability for my upholstery guy. On another recommendation I found a good substitute, a product named Street Suede- Mocha. It had a good look and feel and worked well with the plan.
The material had good stretching ability too, making a nice tight fit when done properly. Reasonably priced and making a smaller dent in an "already" blown budget. Although hard to see in the pics, I went with the perforated style with black backing.
I think it fits well with the colour pallet I have chosen for the car as shown below. The seats will be done in a brown mocha leather similar to that found in the 2014 M series cars(below). This pic was the inspiration of the design. I know brown over black is a not a typical approach to a typical Colorado resto but I think it works well.
The carpets will be a German Square weave. I am not sure what will be done with the door cards at this point but I am leaning towards the upper portion of the cards done in black vinyl to tie everything together with the dash and the parcel shelf.
The console will likely be done in leather...still have a few options to decide on before I am ready for send it off to be finished.
The headliner install itself was not much different than others that have been featured here. Although I have added a wrinkle. I am not sure if others have wondered why slick top cars were blessed with those dinky side lights rather than the larger one used in the sunroof version. My guess it was cheaper and less time consuming to mount it in the bulkhead rather than mount it near the front of the car using a piece of hardboard. So with the help of Patrick O'Neil once again, he fabricated a bracket for a light I rescued from a parts car a while back.
The cool part now is the dome light is on a 30 delay. A small lil modern day feature for my ol' German classic.
Here is the rest of the project.........
All new seals and the glass is all in ..... pinch moulding too.
Just the grab handles and mirror left to do. Visors will be re-upholstered.
Thanks for your time....regards
For me this was probably the most important part of the build. It marked the first time in 38 years the original engine was finally back together. You see, shortly after I had bought the car I blew out the transmission. Being a newly wed at the time, a rookie firefighter and a first time home owner all within the short time I had the car.......something had to give. So to make a long story short as it were, the car got mothballed for a winter due to a lack of funds for the repairs..... and to save my marriage. Unfortunately as a result I managed to seize a ring over the course of a winter, creating further issues.
The transmission was repaired and ready to go back in but shortly after I had started the necessary repairs on the engine, the friend helping me with the rebuild was diagnosed with leukaemia and passed away within a few months of the horrific news. I was devastated. It took me some time to get over the shock. The car sat untouched for another 35 years, not so much because of the lack of motivation but more due to life in general. We started a family, bought another house and work began to take over, so the car sat neglected. I could not bring myself to get back into it nor could not stand to part with it either. After a number of years it faded from the conversation when ever money was an issue or another car was needed in the family.
Jump ahead another 30 years and I now found myself retired and my two kids finally out on their own. The only commitment that remained was coaching baseball, so after 25years it was time for me to step away from the game and finally take charge of my life and commit to getting this car finished before I was to meet a similar fate as my old friend.
Today, and again with many thanks to Patrick O'Neil (Midnight Motorsport, Seattle) for his expertise, I am closer than ever to having the car finished.
Here are a few pics of the build and a list of the bits that went into it for those who may want to take note.
Ross forged pistons 9.5:1 compression,
main bearing set 80mm stroke, 90mm bore
rod bearing set
wrist pin bushings
block machine work includes tank, magnaflux
main cap bolts
block gasket set
IE crank scraper/windage tray
head gasket set
head bolt set
crank woodruff keys
crank nut/wave washer
cam sprocket (2-row)
crank sprocket (2-row) new timing chain & guides provided
timing chain, tensioner, guide, etc.
timing chain tensioner spring new OEM oil pump and hardware provided
oil pump, sprocket, chain, etc.
OEM water pump
E12 core cylinder head
IE 1mm oversize SS valves
IE HD rocker arms
rocker shaft hardware new chromoly valve retainers, keepers, etc.
IE HD single valve springs
chromoly valve spring retainers
valve stem keepers
Shrick 292 camshaft
Lightened Steel Flywheel
Weber 38 DCOE
Here is what it sounded like during the break-in
As always, thanks for your time.
￼ ￼￼ ￼￼ ￼
On the eve of the 44th anniversary of my car's build date, I add this post to my blog chronicling the journey of its resurrection. Now after some 38 years, I am now for the first time able to move the car under its own power. Pretty exciting.........this is how it sounds now!
I should also add, that despite my excitement I did however have to wait a few more months for the remaining mechanical and electrical work to be completed. The wait was frustrating to say the least, but that said I was able to trailer my car home earlier this month. I could not be happier to have a running and drivable car after all that time. I thought this day would never arrive. Although there is still a great deal of work yet to be completed before I am able to hit the streets, it is such a great feeling to see it closer than ever nearing completion. I would be remiss if I did not express my special thanks to Patrick O'Neil for his expertise and passion in contributing to this build. I simply would not be at this stage if not for his help.
Here is a sampling of that work completed since August.
more to follow.......
Thanks for your time
Like most, I am sure your glove box looks like mine and needs some sort of refresh. I decided to take advantage of new found time while I am waiting for the mechanicals to be completed, to take on this project.
I was also somewhat hesitant to start it as I have never attempted such an undertaking. There was a number of tutorials out there that at least gave me a an idea how to tackle the issue., so with that limited knowledge it began.
The main issue was to remove all the old beaten, stained and grundy looking finish from the box. This job I found to be messy. I used a die grinder initially with a course resurfacing disc for the first pass. It did an adequate job but the corners and contoured areas of the glove box proved to be a problem for my.
I had to use a dremmel tool and a fine edge scrapper to take care of those hard to reach areas. A considerable amount of hand sanding followed but after a couple of hours I was ready to start the next step. Oh ya, use a respirator and glasses, this shit goes everywhere.
The next step was to seal the box, The product I used recommended a latex paint to seal the surface. So after a few passes with a degreasing agent, a coat of latex sealer was used. I applied two coats sanded between coats to complete this step. I waited a couple more hours to allow that to fully dry before applying the bonding agent.
I placed the glove box the in a large plastic container once I had painted the glove box with that bonding agent. This was to catch the excess nylon texture material. The product instructions suggested that more is better when applying the product. This is to ensure proper coverage but also should be done within 10-15 minutes before the bonding agents starts to set up.
I decided to change the colour of the flocking as well. So silver replaced the charcoal grey, a colour I felt compliment the stainless steel accents I incorporated in the interiors redesign. Not a traditional colour I know but there is not a lot of traditional elements in the new interior.
So, with the mini flocker in hand I began flocking, pumping that little tube , shooting this stuff everywhere until I had smothered the entire glove box with the new finish. It looked pretty good, but then again anything would have been an improvement from the old one.
Word of caution, you have to wait a considerable time for the product to dry. They say a minimum of 15 hours, I waited a full 24 before I started to collect the excess. It can be used again by the way. It is fully cured within 48-72 hours depending on climate and temp.
....all the hardware mounted
After I had completed flocking the glove box I turned my attention to the console I have built. I wanted to get this done before the upholsterer was going to wrap it. The process was similar, however I used a white shellac to seal the small storage box as it was made from birch plywood. A couple of holes were cut for the two new electrical connections before I started ......
Once it was dry, I fitted the new 12V and USB connections ......ready for some leather now. All in all about 5 hours to do both.
Again thanks for your time,
With the all the mechanical and electrical elements of my build expected to be completed in a couple of weeks, all that remains is adding all the shinny bits and dressing up the interior. I thought this would be an opportune time to add this information to the list of posts. I was always curious to what extent other 'o2 enthusists had gone with respect to their projects, but was always somewhat reluctant to ask. So I hope some find this helpful or at the very least some what interesting.
I have tried for the most part to list the various stages of my project as they were started. I realize that some who have gone before me, have taken a different approach with their builds but through researching their work, I found this is the plan that worked for me. I also should point out that after joining the site in Aug, 2013 it took me another six months gain the knowledge and confidence to dive into this project. You see the car sat idle in my garage since Oct. 1979 collecting dust, without engine or transmission. Both had been removed prior to that because of mechanical issues, blown snycoros and a seized rings to be truthful. They were repaired the following year but there were a number of life issues seemed to come at me in waves. I was difficult to find the time and resources nor the energy to deal with it.
Now thirty five years later with retirement now providing an opportunity to catch up on a few things and the information this site provides, the once neglected classic became a priority once again.
Here is a brief history of the car.
Produced: Decemeber 21, 1971 Munich, Germany
Arrived: Jan. 5, 1972 Montreal Que.
Delivered : Vancouver Auto, Vancouver BC Jan. 30, 1972
Sold Feb, 1972
Acquired (3rd owner) Aug. 10, 1978 (30240 mi)
Purchase Price: 4500.00 (CND)
Last driven October, 1979 (51156 mi)
Front brakes,rotors turned and bearings, Vancouver Auto, June 18, 1975
Right Vent window replaced Georgia Pacific Auto, Victoria BC, Dec 11, 1975
Clutch, presure plate and throw out bearing, German Motor Corp, San Fransisco, Ca., June 28, 1976
Minor accident resulting in damage to rear roll pan, repaired No. 1 Autobody, Vancouver, BC, April 1979
Syncros & main shaft replaced, Nixon Automotive, Burnaby, BC, Dec. 6, 1979,
Engine seized, Feb. 1980
New rings and bearing, repaired April 1980, stored as short block until Feb. 2017
Project started Aug, 28, 2015
Condition when started
All original metal no rust repair required
Original doors, fenders, hood and trunk
Original glass and interior
Soundproofing removed (dry Ice)
Rockers soda blasted- (Specialty Blasting Ltd., Langely, BC)
Floor pan soda blasted
Wheel houses garnet blasted
Support struts and columns garnet blasted
Body repair ( Panelcraft Restorations, Langley, BC)
Rear roll pan repaired
Left Fender wheel well repaired
Exhaust exit moved to centre of roll pan
Paint ( Panelcraft Restorations, Langley, BC)
Single Stage (002)
Color sanded between coats
Final coat colour sanded and buffed
Under carriage inner fenders and wheel wheels undercoated
One of the tips gleamed from my research was the importance of bagging and tagging. I did try to catalogue as much of the mounting hardware as possible during the disassembling process. Sheepishly, I admit I was not as diligent as I should have been. As a result of my efforts I managed to misplace a number of these pieces, mainly due to carelessness with moving them around... a lot . I admit I should taken greater care to bag and tag these pieces properly and store them all together. For those anticipating a similar type of build I can not tress enough how important it is to manage this part of the build more effectively. It will save you time and money when it comes time to open them up ready for refinishing or to re-install.
One of the things that always impressed me when I looked at restoration projects whether they be true restorations or mod/custom builds was the extent the owners went to to detail their projects. To be honest I wanted to feel that same sense of pride. I know it's a slippery slope you enter upon when you start with such an approach but at the end of the day I saw no sense in just cleaning up hardware just to have look cleaner rather than something that completes the build in looking new. I realize there is a opinion that All critical mounting hardware should be replaced because of strength issues but seeing I has a complete history of the car I found no reason to go to that extent. That said few pieces I was unsure about were replaced with OEM hardware..
In a few cases where I had misplaced some of the mounting hardware I was fortunate to have some back-up. I had parted a few cars during this build and kept just about every bolt, washer and nut from them. In any case, I decided to have the lot re-plated. Not a cheap process by any stretch but one that I am glad I did. I chose to have them cad plated, a process that is more durable than yellow zinc. The majority was barrel plated but the larger pieces were hand dipped adding slightly to the overall cost.
The only pieces I did not re-plate was the hardware for the window/door mechanism. They were simply washed as they still retained their original patina. no corrosion was visible.
On Jan. 20, 2016, the car returned from paint and with the all the plating completed I started on that long road to put it back together. Here is the work that has been completed since that day.
Original front sub frame, reinforced engine mount and lower cross support, garnet blasted, and powder coated
Original struts, torsion bars and pitman arms, garnet blasted and powder coated
Original Steering box, serviced,polished and re-painted
Deleted stock backing plates
Stock 74 lower control arm stitch welded garnet blasted and powder coated
New OEM drag link and ball joints
After market Cross drilled slotted rotors
Rebuilt Gerling 4 piston callipers
OEM bearings and seal
Belstien HD struts
ST Sway bar garnet blasted and powder coated
IE poly bushings
IE Stainless Strut brace
Original Rear Frame garnet blasted and powder coated
Reinforced Sub frame poly bushings
Tie bars, garnet blasted and powder coated
Original stock trailing arms garnet blasted and powder coated
IE Poly bushings
Original Diff hanger garnet blasted and powder coatedI, IE poly bushings
Bielstein HD shocks
IE poly DOT 1 spring pads
H & R springs
ST rear sway bar garnet blasted and powder coated, ST poly bushings
E21 rear backing plates, garnet blasted and powder coated
New E21 Drums and brake pads
OEM Wheel Cylinders
Original hubs , new OEM wheel bearings & seals
E21 shafts with stock E10 ends, serviced new boots and painted.
E21 LSD Differential (3.91) serviced new seals and fluid, painted and polished
Late model cover plate bead blasted and powder coated
Original firewall insulation
All original decals and labels
Original wire looms
Original Wiper motor and cover
Hold down bracket polished and plated
Hood insulation replaced
Custom Vapour can added
Windshield washer deleted, SS container to be installed
All mounting hardware cad plated
Booster bracket and pedal box bead blasted , powder coated
Original gas tank, cleaned bead blasted and power coated
Electric fuel pump added
Original gas filler cad plated
New fuel lines re-plumbed
Original tank and spare tire well covers
Original pinch mouldings
Vapor tank deleted
SS Shock tower brace and battery tray
All original lines polished
T block, bead blasted and cad plated
New lines for rear frame to replace original and to fit new MC
Tii Booster (added)
OEM Tii master cylinder
Braided steel brake lines
Cad plated hangers and clips
New E brakes cables
Original Dashboard and gauges
Original Petri Steering wheel**
Original seat belts
Original door and window controls
Original chrome threshold trim**
Original Frt, seat mounting brackets and controls
Original door and window mounting hardware and fasteners, re-plated where found necessary
Massive Billet seat adaptors
Recaro fronts (rebuilt)frames bead blasted and powder coated
E24 rears and console
Custom console New VDO gauges & clock
Custom door cards
Custom rear seat cards (ash tray deleted)
Custom Hat Tray, LED brake light bar added
Custom stainless steel gauge bezels
Shortened E Brake
USB & 12V plug added
Stainless Steel Cup Holders
Dome light relocate ( sun roof style)
Custom sun visors
DynaMat sound barrier
German Square weave carpet
Chestnut brown NapaLeather and black Vinyl upholstery.
Custom kick panels
Rebuilt Heater w/late model core
Late model controls (Illuminated) added
Illuminated stainless heater control bezels
IE billet door and window cranks
Brushed Chrome trim pieces
Engine (Built by Midnight Motorsport, Seattle Wa.)
Original block magna fluxed and honed
Forged Ross 9.5:1 Pistons (80mm stroke 90mm bore)
New rods and bearings
IE windage tray and scraper
2 row crank sprocket
2 row cam sprocket
New OEM oil pump
New OEM water pump
E12 Head, polished
IE 1mm oversize SS valves
New Rocker shafts
IE Heavy Duty Single Valve Springs
Chrome moly retainers
292 Shick Cam
OEM timing chain and guide
Twin Weber DCOE 40
12" Mr Gasket electric fan w/thermal switch
New S14 starter
New 318i 90 amp alternator
IE Silicone radiator and heater hose set.
Cutom Stainless Steel Radiator
Transmission & Drive Shaft
Getrag 245 Transmission (parted from 1979 E21)
OEM seals & linkage knuckle
IE Speedometer cable
M3 E36 shift lever
OEM Reverse light switch
Shortened E10 shift platform (powder coated)
Shift platform sound insulator "donut" gasket
New Sachs E21/E30 Clutch slave cylinder
New Sachs E 10 Clutch master
IE SS clutch hose
Shortened drive shaft
Exhaust Sytem (Built by Midnight Motorsport, Seattle Wa.)
Stahl Headers ceramic coated
Custom SS exhaust center exit
Summit SS Glass pack muffler
Magnaflow 6x14 Muffler
Summit Racing 2.5" tubing
Quicktime electrical exhaust cutout
Carello H4 Headlights**
Cadmium Plated Buckets
LED taillight conversion
Tail light trim re chromed
Original LP lights, polished
European Signal lights added
Bosch Driving lights (TBA)
Kenwood X998 receiver
Alpine SPR 69
Alpine SPR 60
Pre wired for future amplifier
Electrical (Built by Midnight Motorsport, Seattle Wa.)
Original harness rewrapped cloth electrical tape
Original side markers deleted
Relocated 12V battery
318i 90 amp alternator
12V plug added
USB ports(2) added
Viper Alarm System added
Door lock actuators aded
Glass & Trim
All original Glass*
All Original Trim* chrome plated
All Original knee trim, polished
New OEM trim fasteners
All original bumpers, chrome plated
Orinal bumper brackets, bead blasted powder coated
Original Mud flaps** (re-plated hardware)
New OEM mounting hardware and fasteners
Stock F & R OEM over riders deleted
Horn Style fronts added & chrome plated
Euro style rear brackets added
Original Antenna- polished
All Original Exterior Handles and locks-polished
Original SS Rocker Trim - polished and gaskets
Original B pillar finisher, chrome plated
Original Quarter Window finisher, chrome plated
Vent Window frames chrome plated*
Original Door Finishers, chrome plated
New OEM rubber and felt trim
New OEM sill gaskets
New OEM Door Seals
New OEM Quarter Glass Seals
New OEM B Pillar Gaskets
New OEM Windshield Gasket & Moulding
New OEM Rear Window Gasket & Trim Moulding
New Gutter Trim
New OEM Trunk and Hood Gaskets
Original D/S "Trap" mirror, chrome plated
Added P/S "trap" mirror, chrome plated
Wheels & Tires
15 x 7 Rotas ET25
195R50 x15 Bridgestone RE71
* P/S Vent frame and glass replaced because of damage caused by theft
** Original to car upon purchase however I believe to be a dealer option or after market purchase
Thanks for your time.
As the title suggests, I thought the door and rear cards would need some sort of attention to fit with essentially, a custom interior. Although my door panels and rear cards were in excellent condition I was reluctant to use them in this build for a couple of reasons. One, they would simply not work with the colour scheme I planned on using. Secondly and more importantly, I just did not have the heart to start ripping them apart or altering them, so I decided to send them off along with the seats to a new home in SoCal.
I decided to start dealing with the rear cards first as they needed to modified somewhat in order to work with the new seats. For those not familiar with this type of build using E24 seats, the seats do fit beautifully but only with some alterations to the back of the seats. A portion has to be removed to allow them to fit around the inner when wells. Once that is accomplished it will leave you with a couple of gaps along the top where the seats meet the rear parcel shelf. The other, between the edge of the seat and the rear card. The limited research I had done before I started did not provide a lot of help to deal with the issue. Some simply stuffed the gap with foam and vinyl. I thought that since I was doing all this work I would go the extra mile here and redesign the cards to help address this issue.
So after a few measurements, a few beers and a couple of hours of banging around some ideas in my head, I came up with a plan that would work better with some similar stock or original type card. By doing so, It would provide the shape or profile that I wanted to maintain. I saw no advantage to change that. I first thought it would be better to make a fibreglass mould and reconstruct the card from there, but I remembered I had a couple of rear cards from a previously parted car. They were pretty thrashed but the moulded hardboard was in pretty decent condition, they did have some water damage bit nothing that could not be fixed.
I started out by laying out both cards on a large piece of cardboard and traced the outline of both. I wanted to make a template for what would be a plywood frame for the project. I saw this as an upgrade from the factory cards. It felt it would provide more strength and longer life. The plan was to cut out the moulded section of each card and laminate them to the new frame. So I cut the cards among the long a line where the moulded section transitions to the flat section of the card.
Before I started fiberglassing in the moulded sections, I took each of the frames and mounted the metal moulding strips first. This I thought would help firming up the frame as well as providing the proper form for the moulded pieces.This was probably the most time consuming exercise of the entire project. I wanted to make sure I had the exact spacing and correct whole size otherwise the cards would not fit properly. I was fortunate the metal brackets were in good condition and the all the metal tabs were all in tact. (I had previously bead blasted them) .
So once that was done it was time to see if the frames fit as they should. After a few adjustments were made I was able to fibreglass the two pieces. I used just 6oz. cloth and a fairly hot batch of resin to bond the hardboard to the 1/4 plywood frame. Once that set, I trimmed off the excess and test fit the cards to each quarter just to see if I had to make any further adjustments. Because I had added some depth/thickness to the card compared the originals I wanted to see what considerations I would need to think about as I moved forward.
That said, I took a couple of measurements to address one of the gap issues. First the lower one. I wanted to keep the map pocket with the new cards. In doing so, it would provide a suitable solution to the problem, I simply had to deepen the pocket to fill the void. So I traced the lower section of the frame for another template. This would be the filler for the map pocket, I used a piece of 1/2 plywood to provide that increased depth, I also replaced the old vinyl covered hardboard with a similar shaped piece of 1/4 plywood.
I then addressed the upper portion of the card where it sits around the upper portion of the wheel well. I wanted to fill a visible gap created by the seats profile. So in a similar fashion I traced out that profile on another piece of 1/2 plywood, cut out that and laminated it to the card frame. This gave me the line that mirrored that of the seats. It did however create a issue for the arm rest as a result.
Because I narrowed the moulded area, the stock arm rest would have to be shortened to fit it is original position, not much however, a little more than an 1" to be exact. With that I had a new card with a deeper map pocket that worked with the seats. Another test fit was necessary to make another adjustment to the seat bulkhead. This was because of the depth of the map pocket. So I took another inch out of the upper portion of the bulkhead down to the top of the door sill. This allowed the card to seat properly.
The last step was to make some cosmetic improvements to the moulded section of the card. I wanted to delete the ashtray. No sense keeping something that was never going to see any use. In its place I considered adding a USB port or a 12V plug or even adding another speaker but decided not to do either. I started out by fibreglassing the entire inner section of the piece. I wanted to make sure to cover the void left by the ash tray delete. I then applied a couple of coats of light weight body filler, glazing putty to the desire contour and finish. It was now ready for a nice piece of Napa.
.....both sets of cards mocked up for fit
Now for the door cards.
This pair were a little more challenging in as much as I did not have a clear plan for the makeover. I new I wanted to keep the same feel as the originals but wanted to add a few different elements to the design. So while I tried to settle on exactly what I was going to do, I started out by getting the door cards cut out by tracing around the old ones on a 1/8" sheet of marine grade mahogany. Special attention was needed making sure I got all the important holes transferred accurately.
Once that step was completed, the two cards were cut out shaped, and dry fitted to the doors for fit. The metal mounting brackets were then fitted in a similar manner as the rears.
At this point I was really struggling to find an answer to my problems. I had looked at countless examples of door cards, customs and original designs alike. I was conflicted to say the least. After talking to the guy that is going to do the interior, it gave me a clearer direction in working out a few ideas that I was thinking about.
I really wanted to keep the overall look similar to what one would call a original /stock look but updated somewhat, if that makes any sense. Back to work I went. As I mentioned I did not want to stray too far way from the original design. I did come up with a few ideas from a few E30 interior upgrades I came across during my on-line searching. I really idea of adding a small door pocket similar to the early E9 and E21 I came across. So with that in mind I started to layout a few ideas for a similar type pocket. I can confess that I had tried to fabricate something on my own but each attempt failed measurably, mainly because of an issue with the scale. It seemed anything I tried was was just too big, after all, there was not going to be a great deal of room with the addition of the Recaros.
As it turned out I stumbled upon a solution yet once again. You see I have a ol' Ford Ranger,. It is nothing fancy, nor the most comfortable to drive. It doesn't offers up a lot of room either but it's primarily a parts mule/work truck, but it has a set of door pockets that I thought just might work
I took some measurements and was encouraged that they may just work. So once again, I made a trip to a local wrecker to find another Ranger willing to give up a set of door cards. Within an hour of hunting I came up with a couple of donors, one in near new condition , the other not so much but good enough for me as they were gonna get hacked up anyway. The big bonus was the parts guy only charged me for one as the other card had ben cut up pretty good by a previous parts hunter. Once I got home, I got out my trusty cutoff tool and started the critical surgery to yield a couple of pockets. The next step was to create another frame to incorporate into the design, for the door pocket.
I used a similar approach with the rears so I decided to use a sheet 1/4" plywood for this job too. It would have to provide support for the inside panel since the two would be upholstered separaely. A couple of other challenges would need to be addressed, the vent window crank being the priority. I ended up removing material around the opening for the mechanism just to make sure it will not bind when upholstered. The other, I knew this process was going to be add some weight to the card, so I felt I needed a material that could handle that. I also wanted at the end of the day a door card with a deeper profile from that of a stock panel. Not so much in the centre portion of the panel, mainly due to the window and door mechanism, but more on the leading edges. So you will see a much deeper look along the bottom and the front. I am trying to keep the rear of the card consistent with padded B pillar. The top sill will be slightly raised because of the secondary panel. With a deeper front I will be able to play with the kick panels a bit to get a more consistent look rather than have them carpeted. They will be upholstered as well after they are fitted with 6" Alpines. I will wait until the car returns from Seattle to finish these off.
For the lower section of the card I wanted to make sure the height did not rise above the top of the seat. The new pocket was just the right height to accomplish this. There was a considerable amount of shaping to incorporate the pocket in this design. So a fair amount of foam was added to accomplish the desired contours.I added puddle lights to that outer frame as well. A piece of 6 oz fiber lass and epoxy resin was applied to the entire panel to tie everything together and provide some added strength. Light weight filler was then applied and sanded. A couple more rounds of glazing putty to get that smooth finish and a few hours of sanding to finish the job
The last step will be to hang the cards and test fit the them with the seats mocked up and in position and the new door seal installed.. There maybe an issue with the cards fit relative to those door seals. I did make some allowance for that when the template was drawn up, but I increased the overall thickness of the door card somewhat from the original plan which may give cause to do a bit of trimming before they get covered. I want to make sure I avoid any stress on the cards as they open and close on that seal.
I will update with new pics once the finished panels are installed.
Thanks as always for your time,
When I started this portion of the project I thought the parcel shelf or hat tray would be one of the easier and less time consuming jobs of the build. It was going to be pretty straight forward, or so I thought. After all, it was only going to require me to make the tray to fit around the new seats, cut a couple of holes for the new speakers, and possibly add in a third brake light. You see, I still was not sure what I was going to use or where the best location for it would be. I had seen a few examples of the light hung above the tray, but I was not sure if that would work or if I could find something that would look decent. I have seen a number of different type lights used, but the majority "looked" like a retro fit. In any case, I did not see too many issues that would cause any concerns as I started in on the job. Boy was I wrong …..again. I think I had made at least three different trays before I got to the one that worked for me, not to mention a couple sheets of foam that I murdered.
As mentioned, there was however a couple of considerations I had to deal with right from the get go. The first hurdle was the fitment issues the E24 seats and centre console presented once they had been finally set in place.
Just a heads up for those considering a similar build, you will have to deal with a couple of sizeable gaps with these seats. One between the back of the seat and the rear bulkhead, couple with the fact the housing for the arm rest sat quite a bit higher than the rear deck. The other gap you will have to deal with is the one created between the lower seat and the rear card. I will detail what I did to address that issue in the future. But back to the task at hand. As it turned out, my concerns about both these gap issues proved to be an advantage for me.
In an earlier blog post, I explained that much of the seat backs had to be removed in order to get them to fit properly between the inner wheel wheels. I could have possibly tried to remove more to get them the fit closer but I choose not to push my luck. As it turned out the gap was about 1 1/2” so I thought I could live with that. The bigger problem for me was how was I going to trim the arm rest housing to fit with deck.
As I mentioned, the other problem I was faced with was finding a suitable brake light that would work in the build design I had been envisioning in my head. After a couple of beers while staring at this problem, I felt I could take advantage of existing console just the way it sat without too much cutting. It would mean however fabricating some sort of a housing that I could blend into the console. I was hoping to achieve that "factory type look" as well as provide the proper visibility and functionality for the brake light. The more I played around with the idea, I realized this may just be the best option.
So before I went much further, I had to find a suitable brake light. Oddly enough, I did much of my research while I was just driving around, paying particular attention to the cars I was stopped behind. It gave me a great opportunity to see first hand how visible or effective they were. I came up with some good ideas that helped greatly in the process. With that knowledge in hand I made yet another trip to the wreckers to dig up something that would work. After rummaging thru countless imports, I came up with a brake light out of a VW Jetta. It was perfect. An LED light bar just slightly longer than the width of the arm rest console and a nice low profile complete in its own case and wiring. I was on my way.
Now ready to start making a template for the shelf, the first step was to use the original piece as a guide. I traced the profile of the rear seats and transferred them to cardboard cut outs then taped them to the tray card. I wanted to make sure the new card would wrap around the seats for a tight clean fit because of the gap I spoke about. Another consideration, I had to deal with was the height of the finished deck. I had to make sure the brake light was going to sit above window seal. I found there was a considerable distance that had to be made up as the stock tray piece ran under the seal so adjustment had to be made to ensure a proper fit. Once I had something that fit those elements I transferred the pattern to a piece of 1/2 foam. i felt this would give me easy blank to shape.
Next, I began to fabricate a housing that would work for the brake light bar. I took a couple of pieces of 3/4 foam( I should have used 1”) , traced out the light on both pieces and started to hollow out enough foam to allow the two pieces to incase the light bar housing. Once I got the fit right, the top and bottom pieces were laminated together. I waited a day or two to allow them dry, then the piece was shaped and sanded. I then laminated it to the larger section, approximately the same width of the centre section of the arm rest.
The next step was to get this centre portion of the tray to fit around the seat backs and arm rest before I could go much further. I should point out I used 6” grills when I started this process, but a result of some research into audio setups , a larger 6x9’s speaker would take its place. As it turned out that change made a big difference to improving the overall design. Looking back, the previous layout for the grills proved to be a bit of a design challenge. I struggled with trying to find one that worked with the brake light. Originally, I thought an elevation change would work with the overall look, but after playing around with it for a few nights(more beers), I came to the conclusion it was not going to work, it just did not feel right, besides I thought it would be too much of an issue to finish it.
With the new speakers added to the design I was happy to have stumbled upon a much cleaner look.
Moving on, I then took a piece of 1” foam and cut out a new template for the tray. This would give me the much need height without the need for any transitions and more room for the bigger grill. The centre section and brake light housing were then laminated in place. After some fine tuning and a few rounds of a light weight filler to get the right shape and contour, finally I had a workable model. To finish it off, I decided to recess the grills. I think it provided a cleaner look, I really wanted to make them a little less obvious as the tray will be wrapped in black vinyl.
Lastly, the entire piece was lamented to a piece 1/4” marine mahogany. This gave me a solid substrate to fix to the rear deck. One last test fit with the glass in place to ensure I had the proper clearances before the new tray got wrapped in 6 oz fibreglass and epoxy resin. Once that was allowed to dry, I spent about a week filling, sanding, filling, sanding and more sanding. Needless to say a messy job but I wanted to make sure I had a paint grade finish.
The final last step was to under mount a pair of Alpine SPR-69 speakers and with that, it was finished. All that remained now was to wire up the brake light.
All in all, this little job took much longer to complete than I anticipated but I was happy with the results.
As always, thanks for your time........
I first would like to preface my entry with a brief comment. I was going to describe in some detail the steps I took to complete this project. However, I thought it would be rather self indulgent and frankly too time consuming for the reader. I know pictures would have worked better to illustrate the work, unfortunately they are floating around in cyber space, lost forever. So for anyone wishing more detail, I will happy to share and info or answer any questions should you have any.
NOW FOR THE OTHER HALF
With the main console section completed, the next section proved somewhat easier. Although I still had yet determined if the e-brake could be shortened enough to make everything work.
I realized the plastic tray I scored from the wrecker would need some further trimming if it was going to work with the new plan. So I moved on with the layout, making a few adjustments to the cardboard model before I was ready to cut out the sections. As it turned out that initial model I started out with, did not resemble anything close to the new one. I am not sure if this process was a natural progression but I realized that things change as you start to work thru a project like this. A lot of trial and error seemed to be a constant.
So with that, I started again. I chose Baltic Birch plywood for the box but deviated somewhat and used a couple of 3/8 pieces of MDF in the design. Mainly to increase the width of the console to match that of the front section. It also allowed me to shape the design elements I wanted to use in the rear section of the console.
The plan was to maintain the same elevation from the tail end of the shift tray and cup holder sections back to the front edge of the rear seats. In doing so, I would be able to keep the top of the console slightly under the lip of the center console that separated the rear seats. I thought that it was an important consideration if I wanted to maintain that custom look. It would also require a bit of tinkering with that center section of the seat as well as because of the way it was shaped at the leading edge of the seats. My upholstery guy assured me he could make that adjustment with not to much bother. I was happy with that.
Once I had the box put together I determined how much room I had to play with with respect to the small bin in the rear section. Once again the e-brake posed a few problems. It would not offer me a lot of storage but the scale worked and it offered a place to hid some stuff. I thought this was a good place to hid a 12V outlet and a couple of USB ports. I will be finishing this bin with a flocked material similar to that found in the glove box.
So I cut a small piece of plywood to form the front bulkhead of the storage bin .I left enough room (about an inch) behind the flange that held pivot pin. I tacked the piece in place just in case I had to make an adjustment.
Next, I laid out the MDF sides. They would aid in forming the sides of the lid for the bin. I must confess this design I stole thru the efforts of my research. I seen it done in a number of customs interiors, a pretty cool idea, so I gave it a whirl.
Lastly I wanted to dress up the console somewhat although I knew at the end of the day no matter what I did would not be that visible unless you are gonna crawl into the rear seats. But I nice detail I think none the less. Another idea robbed for the Internet.
As mentioned earlier I wanted to find away to hide the e-brake. This has been a bit of a pet peeve for me. I am sorry but I would prefer not to see it. I know this will undoubtedly spark some reaction and I mean no disrespect for those have stayed true to the spirit of a true restoration and have maintained the classic interior elements, but this was one of the things that didn’t work for me. This was a must have when i started with this part of the project. I just feel it provides a cleaner look without the long handle visible. I have not tried to see if the boot still fits. Maybe I will to see what it looks like? Failing that I, perhaps I will have my upholstery guy fashion one to match the shifter boot.
Part of that decision was predicated on the e-brake issue and whether it could be shortened. I thought it necessary to put that matter to rest before I continued. As it turned out it was doable but would require a couple of hours of fabrication. Not a big deal after all if you have the skills. So thanks for that Patrick.
That left me to find a suitable solution for the top of the console. So once again I robbed a couple of ideas through my research. I played around with them but they just did not look right so I settled for something pretty basic. Whatever steps I was to take in order to conceal the hand brake I needed a design element that would allow easy access to use it. Here again a couple of designs just did not work because they were too either elaborate or look hideous, in my view. As it turned out the simple approach was the better one.
One of the design elements I drew upon was the steering wheel. A Petri wheel with stainless steel looking spokes. So I thought it was a good idea to add in a few more elements that would work with the wheel. I guess this means my wooden shift knob is gonna loose out in this design.
I also have yet to fabricate the bezel for the gauge cluster but that is in the works as this is being written. I decided to use a perforated piece of stainless in the cover for the e-brake just to give it a different look. I may keep it or try something different....still undecided.
Finally, the front section is ready to send of to upholstery after a couple more rounds of finishing glaze and a couple more hours to block it. Just the gauges and the head unit needed and oh ya... the leather to finish it.
Just the door cards and self tray remain.....
As always, thanks for your time.
ps My apologies for any formatting errors contained in this post. I have experienced great difficulty editing this piece. The text editor refuses to respond.
Now with the all the Dyna-Mat in place it was time to tackle the console. Here again I struggled with a plan that would work with the rear seats. My thinking was since I was adding essentially rear bucket seats, I saw no reason not to design the center console so it would run through to the rear seats. After all, who was going to be crawling over the tunnel to get in the other seat. Certainly not me, my flexibility and physical dexterity have long since left me and child seats will be banned from this car.
Over the past many months while searching my options, I did not come across many projects that have taken this jump to a full console. There was a few examples of simply adding a console that housed the e-brake but I felt that approach was simply going to present additional concerns when it came to the design, so I scrapped that idea, but it did provide me some ideas that would possibly work for me. So with that dilemma laid to rest, I set my sights on the main console.
So back to the internet I went spending more than a few hours looking at countless consoles for any new ideas. Full customs, vintage, hot rods, classic restoration and resto-mods, you name it. Not much worked for me, so I turned back to a thread on the FAQ search that offered up a number of examples of what would be considered a custom design by a purist. I settled on one that was rather unique and straight forward and more importantly, not too difficult to duplicate. So after playing with the layout a bit, I laid it all the pieces of my original console to use a template and started cutting out the cardboard model.
As you can see it is a little different but it looked pretty good.....to me. Once that was taped together I then added a piece that I scored from the wreckers. I think it came from a late 80’s Honda or Accura. It looked like it might work with the E-brake and I liked the lower profile it offered. So with a lil more trimming with my handy cutoff tool I began to trim down the piece to a basic model I could work with, although I now had an issue with the E-brake. In particular its length. This was one of the BMW design issues I could not quite understand. It’s length was going to present a problem for me in redesigning this console. Again, I had not been able to find any examples to go by or any information that would give my any comfort I was able to make this work. So I decided to plod along hoping that it could be shortened to suit my needs.
The next step after a few more adjustments was to layout the model on a sheet of plywood, my material of choice for the final product. I used 1/2 Baltic Birch. It was light weight and pretty stable. I felt that MDF would add just a little more weight than I thought necessary and although easier to finish the birch provided a better option to bend and hold a screw or brad.
The next step was to fill in the front and rear sections once I determined the max length of the hand brake. It would have to be shortened about 3 1/2 inches to work with this layout. (I found out much later in the process that it could in fact be done.) I used some polystyrene foam that I had lying around to aid in the model. Easy to shape and suited my needs at the time. I now had to come up with a plan to put this together so it could come apart if heaven forbid I had to. I would have loved to have this as one complete unit but I felt there was no way to accomplish that. I decided to terminate the main console in front of the brake and the remainder run back to the front of the seats.
I decided I would fill the rear section with useable storage rather than just a fill piece. I was now ready to make the template and transfer the the pieces to cut out a working model. Before I did I thought it necessary to place the seats in to make sure everything fits. I am glad I did.
Now that I had a workable model laid out I thought it was time for me to mock up the rest of the interior, just to make sure if all fit and the look was right. So in went the seats. There was a little guess work involved however as I did not have the correct adapters so I did the best under the circumstances. Because I could not sit in them I had to sit in the back if I was to get a feel for the work completed to date. I was not real happy. It just did not feel right. I felt the design looked out of place to be honest. It is hard to describe but I felt this new look was not in keeping with the original one . The position the gauges were placed made it uncomfortable and somewhat difficult to read, even from the back seat. In addition, the over all scale just appeared too large for my liking.
Have I mentioned I dd not like it!
I decided that I would have to fix this before going any further. In hind sight I should have listened to a friends earlier warning. He pointed out the vary thing that I discovered. Oh well what’s a “few” hours wasted in the grand scheme of things. Out came the trusty cut off tool and started to carefully remove the angled section of the gable to get it back to the original line of the console sides. By doing so, it created that long swooping affect I was looking for. It did however create a little more work as a new pod had to be cut for the gauges as well as a transition piece for the tray. I decided I was going to recess the gauges slightly just to break things up a little. It would also allow me to use it as an access point for the head unit and any other connections that would have to me made.
The transition piece was a lil tricky so I decided to use the lines of the gable to complete alteration. I used another piece of foam that I glued up so I had enough to shape to the sides. In keeping with those lines, it gave me an opportunity to use the area for a couple of switches and another gauge. I thought a clock would be a better choice here.
To address yet another of my screw-ups, I decided to fill on the shifter tray. I originally planned to keep that old school look but soon realized that since I had to alter the front portion of the tray it made more sense to carry it thru to the tail end of the console. So with some light weight filler, the tray was altered to match the contour of the deck. I decided to recess the boot collar too. I took apiece of MDF and using the metal collar as a the pattern, cutout a matching profile that would be wrapped in leather for the new boot.
Note: I may have an issue with the shifter as I have increased the height of the tray by about 3/4 of an inch from that of the stock tray. We shall see if this will see if there is a issue as I get closer to the trans install.
Next on the list was to deal with the tail section of the console. There was not much room in the initial model but i realized that I could move the terminated point up to provide some additional room between the rear of the shift tray and the e-brake. So off it came. I had now had enough room to add a couple of cup holders, at least in terms of depth. Width, not so much.
While surfing the net for ideas once again, I came a across a Mercedes Benz ad that displayed a C series coupe’s interior. Its console was rather narrow but it featured among other bells and whistles , 2 cup holders moulded into the side of console. They sat side by side and fit between the seats comfortably, so I though I would give it a try. I laminated a couple of 3/4 pieces of foam together and glued those to the side of the console. After a day for the resin to set I began shaping the section to fit. I did not have a lot of room to play with as I recall there only being about 7” between the bolsters, so it would be close. I managed to find a couple of SS cup holders at a marine outlet that measured not quite 3” so again, not a lot of room but it worked for me.
Once the sides were shaped, I had to remove part of the plywood gable and foam in order to gain the room I need for the holders to seat properly. A few cuts with that trusty cutoff saw and a few passes with a foam rasp , the job was done. The top was cut for the cups and moulded to the fit the sides. Job done, looked pretty good I thought.....just hoped it would fit with the seats, based on my sketchy measurements.
Now that I had a completed, all be it a rough copy of the console, I realized that I would have to deal with the foam that was now laminated to the plywood. You see, although it provided me a material easy to shape to my liking, it offered absolutely no protection in terms of taking any impact. It would show every bump or knock once covered with vinyl or leather unless protected. It had to be fiberglassed to provide that level of protection. Unfortunately, the material I was using was not compatible to fiberglass resin so I had to resort to an epoxy based resin to do the job. Relatively easy to work with but seemed to take its own sweet time to set up and harden before it could be sanded.
Once the entire area was covered with 6 oz cloth, a few application of light weight body filler was applied and blocked to take out any imperfections. A few more coats of glazing compound and a lot more sanding, I finally got the surface to the finish I was looking for.
Finally, and with a little help from a friend I borrowed an old head unit to cut in the DIN for the my new Kenwood KDC-X998
So after more than 3 months of taking "1 step forward and 3 back" I was finally getting closer to the light at the end of the of what seemed to be a never ending tunnel. Apart from fabricating a bezel for the gauges and a stainless steel bracket for the shifter boot, this is just about ready to be shipped off to upholstery.
In closing, I must confess at this stage of the project I was feeling like I was continuously making changes on the fly. It seemed that every move I was making gave way to yet another change that was out of necessity rather than choice. I guess at the end of the day that as long as you are happy with the result, the process is just part of the game to have to expect regardless of how long or how you got there.
Next on the agenda....the back half.
Thank you for your time.
First some background...
From the day I committed to this project and up until just a few months ago, close to some 4 years now, I struggled with a clear plan or direction when it came to the interior and what I wanted it to be.
I remember receiving a message from a member of the FAQ shortly after introducing my car the the site saying “what ever you do to it, do not paint it...leave it as a survivor. Your car is more valuable without any fancy upgrades.” At the time I was somewhat confused by the suggestion, after all it had been some 30+ years since I had experienced the joy of driving it. I just wanted to have that feeling again.
With that said knew I wanted more than something a stock O2 was going to offer me. Fortunately, I was now in a better position that would allow me to sink a few dollars in it to make it go a lil faster and handle just a bit better. All the rest was not at the forefront of my thinking. So once I decided what I wanted performance wise I knew it was no longer going to be a survivor. To be honest, the car was more important as a source of enjoyment rather as a potential investment.
So with all that in mind, I struggled with what I wanted to do with the interior. I was however committed to keeping the car as close to its roots as possible and more importantly, what works for me. So, I started searching for ideas and collecting examples of what I consider to be something I would like to have sitting in my car. That part of the process took me about a year. After all I had I had a bit of time before I was even close to starting the work.
My predicament now was how far do I push the envelope in terms of trying to stay true to my pledge. What do I keep and what to I change to suit my tastes. This decision was somewhat easier to make once I started to see progress in the other areas of my build. Seeing what others had done with their builds also was a huge help. It provided me with both comfort and inspiration with what I wanted to do. Finally, I now had a plan that I could follow but I was to quickly learn it would not be without a lot of trail and error. A lot of the former and more of the latter.
But first some prep work was required was going to be required before I could start. This work was all completed before the car went to the restoration shop. I have covered this step in an earlier post but thought it worthwhile to provide some continuity.
Some befores of the first job....taking out.the sound proofing. Fortunately no worries of rust to deal with.
After a few pounds of dry ice and a quick bead blast.....
....it was ready for a quick blast of epoxy.
Next plugged the holes
.....It would soon be ready for the next step.....mocking up the rear seats and console.
First some DYNA-MAT
But first the complete install of Dyna-Mat. It did take a few nights to complete with the help of a heat gun and roller to help in dealing with all the the contour and ridges of the floor pan and bulk heads. A little more than 100 sq. ft were used to cover everything, including the roof and door skins. This was a logical place to start for me seeing as this was the first experience with the product.
Once the sound deadening was complete I was ready to deal with more of the stuff you could actually appreciate and SEE. As mentioned earlier I struggled with what I was going to do with the seats. I was torn with using the stock seats. They were in near perfect condition but after researching some different ideas I slowly started to think of a complete redesign when it came to the interior. After seeing a lot of projects with Recaros, I thought about taking the upgrade a lil farther with changing the rears as well. It certainly has its drawbacks with this upgrade but I was prepared to make it work. So after sending a few more weeks looking at different interiors I decided that I would try to source a set of E24 rear seats to match up with a period set of Recaros. Fortunately I found a pair rears first from another FAQ member who was relatively close to me. The fronts would take a lil longer to land.
Once I had them in my possession I was anxious to get them in so after doing some more research I was set. I made a few strategic cuts and some fine tuning with a trusty cut off tool the seats were in and positioned within a couple of hours. I thought they looked great.
For those contemplating a similar install beware there is a consideracble amount of retro fitting. I was faced with a sizeable gap between the top of the rear bulkhead and the back of the seat. In addition there was another area between the respective rear cards and the edge of the seats that I would have to be address to help achieve that custom look. I will endeavour to illustrate that in the next post. But for now they fit pretty snug. I just had to figure out how I was going to secure and finish them off.
To secure the base I decided to use the stock lower brackets on the E24 seat. They lined up perfectly with the top of the cars rear seat bulkhead. I just had to drill an appropriate size hole for a machine bolt and clip nut. Securing the top portion of the seat was a little more of a challenge. Here I had to fabricate a L shape bracket and riveted to the rear of the seat. A similar bracket was then fixed to the rear bulkhead to accept a 10m bolt. The downside to all this ....it would have to be accessed from the trunk to remove these brackets.
I should also point out I decided to use the centre console design and try to incorporate a 3rd brake light to take advantage of the higher profile of the top portion of the console. This would be cut into a redesigned self tray. It would also help filling that gap created by the new seats. I will try to detail those issues in the next post.
Thanks for taking the time to have a look.
Almost two years after the car was stripped down it was a pretty rewarding to be finally putting some of the major components back on the car. The extra storage space I was gonna recoup was a bonus too. It has been a challenge constantly moving stuff around while the subframes were put back together, not mention trying to keep them from any damage.
So the rear frame once put together was the first piece set in place and ready to go back in. With a little help from a platform lift, the job took about 15 minutes to bolt to the car. My back was pretty happy too.
I should take a minute to mention i bought of toys to help with the rebuild. First a lift system that suited my needs. Being in a low ceiling double garage I found a lift that allowed me to get the car a couple of feet off the ground. Very portable and stores away easily as well.
I left many of the suspension un-torqued. That job would be completed once the car was fully loaded.
Front end ready to go. I thought it would be easier to hang the assembled struts, control arms and linkage once the frame was installed.
All buttoned up.....torgued and new brake lines plumbed.
Stock struts with E21 hubs, vented rotors and Gerling callipers .......for now
Rear end too.....
I appreciate your time....
After what seems to have been years it was nice to set my ratchets to the "ON" position for a change. With that I started to add the new and refurbished bits to the car after spending a serious amount of time, degreasing, cleaning, media blasting, power coating and and yes, some painting. After trying a number of products I found that a citrus based cleaner worked great to cut thru the grease quickly and without much mesh. A good power wash to get rid of the stubborn bits followed.
Here are a few before and afters of the sub frames that were removed for my car. As you can see these did not require much attention. In fact would have been escaped any major work before they were placed back in the car, if it were not the fact that I was going to upgrade the stock suspension and driveline. In fact both units were sent to new homes and continue to provide service. The steering box was the only piece I retained.
The pic below is the complete frame removed from my first parts car.... after a degrease and power wash
Paint or Powder Coat
When it came to having the parts media blasted I was fully prepared to paint everything, but I was talked out of it, primarily because of the cost and time it would take to finish them. I know there is a school of thought concerning powder coating. Chipping and refinishing being just a couple but in my case I decided to have them powder coated. Thinking it would be somewhat quicker and cheaper than paint. Maybe it would have been cheaper for paint ....but I thought it would be easier to keep clean. I tried to get a color that was close to the factory finish rather than using black, so I settled on this off grey, it looked the closest.
I should add the cost to have these media blasted was not cheap. It took almost 4 hours to get them ready for powder coating. I guess they did a decent job from the factory. The powder coating was 100.00 for both the frames and trailing arms , I thought was a pretty decent deal..
Oh ya.... Got Patrick (Midnight Motorsport) to weld (I have no welding skills) in the motor mount and frame reinforcing prior to have them coated.
Here is a batch of the work that was completed for the build
And a few painted pieces too.......
And a few pieces that I decided to have plated...........
Thanks for your time.....
During the time and leading up to the day the car returned from paint, much of my free time was dealing with and assembling the front and rear suspension. Along with that was the tedious job of tracking down the parts needed for the build. Many of which came from a few cars that were parted along the way, but as fate would have it many needed to be purchased. Living north of the border has proved to be a bit of a drawback with respect to finding quality used parts. Our climate plays a major part in trying to find quality cars worthy of restoration or simply maintaining a serviceable car. In BC, particularly the south coast the weather can provides such a challenge to find cars that are simply roadworthy, much less restorable. Thus most fall into that parts only category. A shame but that's the reality for many.
That said, I like many others up here have turned to this site for help and direction. I would say that about 80% of the dollars I have spent on the required parts have been with the members of this site. I have mentioned this in the past, on a number of occasions, I just do not know where I would be if it were not for FAQ and all it offers. THANK YOU!
Back to the build....
After making a long laundry list of the bits that I would need I started the journey. As it turned out I got lucky right out of the shoot. I managed to find many of the big pieces for my project down the I-5, just 90 minutes from my door. I was pretty excited so I responded to the post and found myself a deal that I could not pass up, I was off to a great start. So, I called the seller, really friendly and very knowledgable. He was very helpful and quick to make some recommendations for what I was trying to accomplish. We came to an agreement and after a few days to satisfy the CPB, I was the proud owner of another BMW 2002, and allowed to cross the border with my new car. Needless to say my wife was so happy to see another one of "these cars" sitting in our driveway. After all the, other one had been there for only 40 years.
For my troubles I got a lot crossed off my list.
Shortened Drive Shaft
E21 Rear Brakes
H & R Sway Bars
A great start, but unfortunately the car would never see the road again, other than for the brief period after it came off the trailer. I could not resist the opportunity to take it on a rip around the neighborhood, before the good stuff would have to came off. You see the car did have some rust issues, surprise, surprise just enough to make it a better candidate for parts rather than a fix. So I resigned myself to the fact that I would be solely responsible for the death of VIN1666365
I managed to find a new home for much of the car with a local guy needed most of the body to help restore a Ti project he was well into. Oddly enough the engine returned to Seattle just a few blocks from where the car was originally. All in all the car was only in my driveway for just over a month, most of the parts new homes, but not all,. It took a “few months “ longer to sell off the rest. None the less it was an experience that I rather enjoyed after so many years removed from wrenching away on a meaningful car. I say that because of the history of the car. Something that may not be a really big deal for most but for me the cars’ past is something that I find interesting and worth preserving, in some form or fashion at least.
Before I continue, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the previous owner who saw his way to part (no pun intended) with the car after so many years and express my thanks for helping me start this build on the right foot. As later discovered, he continues to be a major contributor to the site, quick to provide comment or share his experiences and knowledge. So I thank you for all of that, Toby. (AKA "T")
As mentioned earlier, my wife was not pleased to have this car in the driveway at the outset of this project. Walking by the car each day on her way to work only added fuel to her anger as the car slowly came apart, exposing the less than glamorous side of this once beautiful classic. Needless to say she was ecstatic to see that POS on the way to the scrap yard once it was stripped of its dignity. That warm and fuzzy feeling she was now enjoying did not last long.........
This one showed up about a week later....
.........It was a deal that I just could not pass up! Or so I thought at the time of purchase. Turns out there was not much quality left in this ol Tii. The old adage rust never sleeps" was pretty much describes this relic. Although it had no engine, I did manage to salvage some serviceable pieces, but the 73" was not going to see any more service. It would die a good soldier. In a earlier post you can see for yourself. It was a wonder how it ever made its way on and off the trailer without a total collapse. Fred and Barney would have loved it. (from the Flintstones if you were not born in the 60's). Matter of fact the rear frame came off after only one bolt being removed. Gravity took care of the rest.
So after parting a couple of cars in relatively short period of time I managed to salvage all the parts I needed to take care of my rear suspension and driveline. The trailing arms, booster and master were an added bonus too. I recall feeling pretty good about what I had accomplished despite the friction that it had created in the household. The neighbours were not impressed either, but WGAF.....The next step was to get these cleaned up and off to media blasting. I was happy that I was well on my way but I knew a lot of work still lay ahead.
Some personal remarks....
On looking back at the time spent on salvaging the parts for my project I would say that I am not sure if I would do it again. I say this only because my personal situation has changed somewhat since I embarked on the marathon. I no longer have the room or the ability to work on a car in the same manner as I did with these two. If anyone who has parted a car knows, it takes time to not only remove them, but you require a reasonable amount of space to store them unless you have a serious network to help divest your self of the inventory. It is not for everyone, I glad I did it. I will think long and hard if I am prepared to do it again if for any reason I want to take on another project once THIS one is completed.
At this stage of the build I consider myself very fortunate after seeing just how much these cars can just rust away. I am lucky to have a car that required no rust repair. I can hear the moans of "bullshit" and "NFW" echoing.....but I speak the truth. My car has sat in a garage on blocks for more that 40 years basically untouched for all that time. Although the engine was out of the car in the early days and has remained so as I write this post. SO I consider myself extremely fortunate to have only media blasted the areas of the car that has some surface corrosion. This are was isolated to the two inner wings along the A pillars on both sides of the car. I had the rockers done as well just to be sure.
For those who are starting or contemplating a full restoration. There is a lot to consider, obviously. If you are skilled enough to do your own metal work, my hat goes off to you. I wish I learned the craft at an early age but I chose not to. A decision I regret to this day, But for those who are not prepared to tackle that end of the job, it will be expensive to deal with any sort of rust. I know that this is not earth shattering news or something that has not talked about when discussions take place about is the car worthy of purchase/restoration . I am just saying, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Hopefully you can land somewhere in the middle.
Finally, one other bit of info I wish to share. If you plan to have a car media blasted or any of its parts for that matter , you need to find a a shop that knows what they are doing and more importantly make sure the guy on the end of the nozzle knows what he is doing it as well. Otherwise, you will likely find yourself adding a "few" more dollars to the body prep costs, trying to straighten out the metal they have "oil canned". Some panels can warp easily and distort with the heat generated. Just another thing to keep in mind if you are just starting out.
Fortunately in my case the restoration shop doing my car directed me to the right person for the job right away. AND, I was lucky in that I knew the complete history of the car dating back to its original owner. The car had never been in an accident leading up to my purchase so I knew there was not a need to take it down to bare metal to find out if there was anything lurking in the weeds as it were.
At the risk of repeating myself, I have been extremely fortunate to have such a car, living here in Canada's rainforest .
Thanks for your time!
That is the question I have had to ask myself as I look at my blog and its last entry. Some 18 months, Wow, was it really that long ago? A lot has transpired since then, some good, some not so much. None the less I am closer to finishing the car than I was when the last entry appeared but again, there were a number of reasons why I had lost the desire and probably more importantly, the dedication to maintain the entries. I have learned that life sometimes gets in the ways of our plans and dreams. But I digress.
The plan is now to update this blog as best I can while I put my recollection to the test. So here I go!
In the early part of the New Year 2016, my car finally came home after some 16 months at the restoration shop tasked job of injecting new life into this classic.. Just happy to have it home, I found myself on more than one occasion just sitting there, gazing at it, Finally it's painted and I can actually start to pit it back together. l soon began visualizing myself driving ...actually shredding up some BC back roads, or down the Oregon Coast and even down the PCH, I was stoked that it could possibly happen that summer, maybe......ya right!
I quickly learned all the dreaming, simply would not be in the cards. All the time spent on acquiring the parts I needed, all the plating, powder coating, painting and the many hours on the prep work put in on the interior and suspension, were not going to help speed things up. I would soon find out the many things that were out of my control were about to materialize and dash my hopes of having a running and driving classic, restored to it former glory anytime soon.
So, with a freshly painted car just sitting there I started yet another journey in putting this back together. That began with the floorpan plates. With a little help from a set of callipers, seam filler and ol coffee can, it began. Once the pans were set, I then sealed the under side with a rubberized material along with the rest of the under carriage. I chose not to have it resprayed as it was in good condition, solid and NO Rust, and I preferred the contrast it offered.
Once the plates were set, DYNAMAT was then installed to the as much of the areas that I thought necessary. Not the most desirable job to do but it did produce the first tangible change to the car. It felt good to see that knowing I was on the way to putting the car back together. It took a few days and about 100 sq. ft. of material to complete.... my back was happy to see the last piece go in.
When it was finished I decided to move on to install the front and rear suspension and some of the shiny bits. The parts were taking up some valuable space in my garage and I was anxious to get the car on the ground after almost 2 years on a dolly. So my attention turned to that, however I would soon realize the interior was going to need much more attention down the road.
It has been 44 years to the day since my car rolled off the line in Munich. Yesterday, it got the final coat of paint to mark the special occasion. So happy birthday to my lil German beauty.
Unlike the assembly line, it will take me more than a day to put it all back together but, I can't wait to get started.
Here is just a few pics of what was a 16 month process.
Well a few weeks have now past since my last entry and not a lot to report progress-wise, none the less I am happy to say some headway has been made.
I was getting pretty pumped to see all the metal work has been completed and now since the car is now completely sanded, I'm starting to get a lil' giddy.
Currently, most of the garnett has been blown and vacummed from the car and they have started to lay down the sealer, we will soon be ready for the epoxy primer. This should be happening soon. In the meantime I would like to share a few shots of the work to date.
A couple rounds of the plastic sealer for the interior and trunk bays. The wheel wells too will get a fresh coat and get blended into the existing coating to seal the deal.
Next week the car should be ready to flip and the under side gets sprayed to complete the prep work....then primed and then get blocked yet once again.
Hopefully the first coat of Glasurit will not be too far off......
Well my project has been in the shop for about a month now just after a short sleepover with the media blaster.
Things are starting to progress and it is exciting to see the car getting some much needed professional attention. On the flip side, I realize now the 35 years of neglect did not come without a price. My guy tells me the many years this car sat idle, forced to sub as a coatrack/storeage shelf, has cost me more than a few days of metal work....bashing out a "few" imperfections in the hood, trunk and roof. Oh well it is only a few extra dollors in the scheme of things right?
After spending many nights in front of my screen, searching for ideas, seeing some great looking cars, I decided to make a few changes to mine and delete the markers. I was tempted to loose the knee trim as well but thought it would look better if it stayed using the stock 72 bumpers. It maybe a decesion that I may come to regret later but truth be told, I prefer the cleaner look and better line to the eye it provides.
Also stepped out a little further and moved the exhaust outlet on the rear pan. It may piss off the purist but I could never quite understand why it wrapped around the gas tank as it did. Anyway, a new stainless pipe will have a chance to exit straight out the back now.
After my visit today, my guy tells me that they have a few more small things to clean up and the tub will get epoxied primered next week. Sound pretty exciting, really looking forward to see it primered. Unfortuneatley I will have to wait till the end of the month to see the progress....it's off to Europe later this week and oh ya.... and a visit to Munich for a few beers.
Next....getting the proper colour match and oh ya, more research!
Some 334 days have now elapsed since I committed to document my journey as I attempted to resurrect my 02 from 35 years of neglect. I must admit, I have been less than diligent in documenting my progress over the past 7 months. Truth be told, tearing apart cars got pretty tired very quickly. The upside of the exercise is the knowledge I managed to gain in the process which I should add, has translated into a new found confidence when it comes to mechanical end of things. In addition and now this stage of the build is over, the next one will be hopefully more enjoyable and easier to share.
Looking back, I entered into this forum knowing very little about what was in store for me. I knew it would take a considerable amount of time AND resources to complete the project given the lack of experience I had under my belt. Soon after I started to deconstruct my car I quickly realized this was going to take even more time before I could start putting the car back together. The many questions that I had from the outset quickly multiplied as I started to plan the build, but as luck would have it, a sense of clarity began to show its face as I started to use the many resources found here. Simply put the forum has provided me more than I could ever expect, it has been a god send. After coaching baseball for more than 25 years I thought I would never again experience that sense of community that I got from the game and the many coaches who were always quick to share their thoughts and ideas. This forum I can honestly say, has exceeded that and I would like to take the time to thank the many who have provided that help so freely. I honestly would not be at the stage I am without it. So my many thanks go out to all.
As mentioned earlier its has been some Eleven months since the first entry to my blog. Today, I am happy to report I am ready to start in on that long road of re-construction. After spending much of the last 9 months parting a few cars in an attempt to gather parts, I have now arrived at a point where I can really start to see some progress, oh ya and start spending some serious bucks too.
So after the final removal of the glass and headliner the car will be ready for some media blasting in the next few days. Next it will be off to a lil ol’ restoration that I managed to find not more than 10 minutes from my door. It is a small 2 man shop chuck full of European classics run by a couple of panel bashers from London who had been trained by Mercedes Benz. feel pretty confident they will live up to their billing.
Finally, and by no means least on the schedule will be a short trip down the I5 to Seattle and Midnight Autosport for a performance makeover with Patrick O’Neil. Another highly recommended find. So after a long eventful and at times, frustrating year, this is a nice change to see some light at the end of what seemed like a never ending tunnel. Can not wait to post some "afters"
Well..... its not what you think. It is certainly not what I hoped for being my "first". But now, it is just another "parts" car that hopefully gets me closer to completeing my parts journey. Never the less it is a shame to see a classic in this condition. It is amazing what a few years sitting idle and neglected will do to a car here in the PNW.
To coin a phrase from Neil Young "rust never sleeps". In this case that is a bit of an understatement ..... I think it partied pretty hard on this car for a very, very long time. Still can't figure out why the floor pans did not give way.
In any case I was lucky to got this thing off the trailer and probably even more fortunate to get it off the ground long enough to allow me finish the deconstruct.
On the positive side, it took me less than 5 minutes to drop the rear frame..... the two bolts from the differential bracket...that was it....... the rust took care of the other 4....oh well it will make the bushing install quicker. Took more of an effort to get the jack stands out the rails.
Just a few more examples of what rust can do if left to do its thing......
Anyway thought I would share with you the last days of VIN 278645
Added a few more after the interior was gutted
Well it has been over a month since my last entry. Needless to say this process is a long tedious one but enjoyable none the less. I have learned a lot and spent far too much time researching the many questions that I needed answered, but it has been well worth the time. I have little doubt I am repeating myself here but again, I would like to express my many thanks to FAQ for the endless resources that are provided here. This site is truly a god send. I would be lost without it!
I have now accumaulated most of the suspension and driveline parts that I was looking for, thanks to the donor. So Toby take heart in knowing that your lil' racer "lives" on in at least four other projects besides mine.
Waiting for the wrecker......VIN 1666365 RIP
..... off to the media blaster for some of the New Old Stuff.
Most of these came out without a hitch......thank god I had a load leveler. Next time the engine goes in thru the bottom. I am a believer now, after struggling with the engine for awhile. The rest of the frames were very easy even by myself, all came out in a day. Had the whole car stripped in a couple more... a real good experience and a important refresher for putting my car back together....soon I hope.
Finally it is time to dismantle the front and rear frames from the project car, get her on a dolley and get the parts sold. I am quickly running out of room to store them all and the weather in the PNW is turning nasty. The next few months will no doubt be challenging... but I am looking forward to long road ahead and start to see this car come together.........Be back soon with some more of the "afters"
Thanks for taking the time....later
Well the journey has began in earnest with my first "parts"purchase of what appears to be many. In doing so it would appear that I have stirred up a hornets nest with a few family members, including my wife in the process.
After some 35 years she has heard as many of my excuses why I haven't done anything to my baby as my many promises to start working on what she affectionally refers to as "THAT piece of sh^t sitting in our garage". Now after finally taking that first step to get it back on the road, it would appear that she is not happy with it.
What's the big deal here dear??? I ask affectionately......its just another car.
My kids on the other hand figure I am nuts to buy another piece of junk.....(their words, not mine). I do however have one daughter that is in support, but only to the extent that if it speeds up the process so SHE gets to drive the car when its finished......ya right! Her odds of winning a lottery are better. But I digress.........
A special thanks to a fellow FAQ member, as we have completed a deal that will see his former tracker come north to provide some much needed life, and parts to my project. Unfortunately most of the new car will be parted unless I can find a vintage racer in the PNW looking for a new car/project.
Most recently I have removed as many parts as I feel comfortable with at this stage.The front & rear frames remain intact because I am a lil cramped for space so I have to leave it mobile until I figure out how to "dolly" two cars while I work on the suspension. Needless to say I am anxious to get started.
Gotta get this car to a shop and get some of this restoration started....found a little more work that needs to be corrected....
On a positive tip, the front and rear suspension look not bad after a power wash, lil' do they know they will be coming out so they can find a new home....any takers?
All in all, the car is cleaned up and ready for some new parts but will have to wait a few more days until the paper work clears US Customs. Oh ya and for me to return from NorCal ....a wine and parts run. If I am lucky a ball game too.
Thanks for stoppin' bye
Finally, I have taken some meaningful steps on this long journey. I have found a donor car with some of the right stuff. (I think) to help with the transformation but will not be able to close that deal for a few more days yet. Also have found some other parts on the FAQ board. ( I can not believe how much helpful info this site and its members can provide, so many thanks.)
Got a plan now on where to start but still searchin for a good mechanic and body guy. In the meantime I have continued with the dismantle the interior to fill some time.
Not sure exactly how far I should go with this but have asked for some help. The interior is very sound and rust free. The original carpets are in very good condition and are in need of a good cleaning. Have not decided to put them up for adoption or buy new. Will wait and see I guess.
Would like to add Dynamat to help control some of the road noise but after seeing the factory "stuff" on the floor and tunnel I think it is better left alone.
Started to remove the dash but have run into a couple of snags.....oh well, more research I guess.