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BMW Z3 Published: 25th Mar 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Can a £1000 BMW become a winner? Jeremy Walton thinks so as he sorts through the multiple of ‘to do’ jobs on his cheap as chips Z3…

Some 900 miles covered in the “Cheap as Chips” Z3 [October 2018 issue] has been so far a very rewarding experience, especially on some areas of low cost DIY progress. Since the last time that we’d just picked up this year 2000, six-cylinder Z3, we’ve, fitted decent rear Kumho tyres and as a result have been using the ‘Zed’ more than I expected. A lumpy sports ride aside, the Z3 with its 150 horses is a much more desirable companion than I had ever imagined a £1000 vehicle with 139,835 miles under its belt could be.

I had never bought a car with such a long ‘to do’ job list though, but what to tackle first? Just weeks after I bought the Z3, a friendly owner of classic pre-war and post-war MGs delivered a practical priority list when I attended an informal Somerset pub meeting.

A snob-free gathering, it ranged from tractors through to hot rods, embracing a 1952 Motor Show Aston Martin DB2, plus a brace of upright 1930’s Rollers, never mind all the familiar British classics.

Under the June evening sun I found a fund of practical advice, particularly from the owner of an attractive Jensen-Healey with a difference: glass fibre-bodied, Mazda powertrained coupled with supercharged power and more.

Making that body beautiful once again

My Z3’s obvious downsides were the scarred front spoiler, orange peel bonnet paint and wounded BMW ‘Individual’ leather interior. The seating was the area in which Jensen-Healey man spotted that two sectors of the driver’s seat needed help beyond the average DIYer. The first thing I learned – subsequently reinforced by advice from Gliptone, plus a professional restoration company – was that colouring leather which has lost a top gloss is not a permanent fix. It may work short term, but often results in the colouring agent fading away in weeks rather than months. The secondary and equally salient seat setback was that the right-hand lower squab also needed a replacement foam insert.

I took multiple advice on the hazy sectors to the Cosmos Schwarz Metallic painted bonnet and tried various polishes, treatments such as ubiquitous T-cut and more, including a power tool brush and polish. The only visual improvement came from Autoglym Super Resin Polish and that is a trick of the eye: Autoglym delivers such a shine, for you to admire, that – rather than the ‘blooming’ haze the Jensen-Healey man spotted that this was paint problem that demanded professional rectification… And having scanned the eBay ads for numerous Z3 bonnets priced from £150 to £350, I decided to do our first winter and then reconsider re-spraying or a replacement this spring.

Similarly, the front Style 32 7.5 x 17 inch alloys are set for some attention, too. A few of the spokes are flaking, but have passed a safety inspection. There are plenty of original BMW alloy wheels around, but like the bonnet I’d prefer to examine the goods at an accessible breakers, rather than trust digital pictures from sites over 250 miles away.

Fed up with my slow progress, I attacked the leather with cleaners and restorative treats. Three times I returned to the fray and returned a visible progress, but for such standout craftsmanship I wanted more. I lived with it for three months and finally did take it to a recommended local leather specialist – but that’s a later story.

Similarly, I expended a lot of wasted energy on the stubbornly grimy headlamps, utilised household window cleaners and a purchased rotary hand- powered cleaning kit. A professional subsequently restored the lamps to showroom readiness. It’s all part of a service and fault rectification operation which was agreed prior to purchase.

Meantime, I bodged the lower front spoiler and half a dozen paint bubbles, smoothed out some of the parking grazes before applying a cheap touch-up 352 paint coded as BMW Cosmos black. Results varied from acceptable at a passing glance to mediocre, so that is another Z3 zone that’s going to be attended to once spring arrives.

Thus far I was happy with my budget Beemer, mainly because the BMW delivered plenty of top-down miles and attended a lot of shows during our memorable summer. Yet I needed a win for the home team on the DIY front, as the point of buying it was to be more hands-on with my classics. I received two startling results: those sound but occasionally flaky front alloys and the rears responded fabulously to a thorough clean plus a very old dose of Wonder Wheels that came from my dustiest garage corner. Then Pete Jenkins, at my local Auto Services company casually handed over an unused 1-litre container of Renovo soft-top canvas cleaner with the comment; “try this, it was recommended for my Z3’s hood.”

My results were amazing, even at the retail price (£33.25 for 1-litre). It took three coats and two dedicated brushes to accomplish, but you have to be careful to mop up any dribbles on to the glass promptly. Be pretty generous with each application, especially in my case, for the faded black hood exhibited under tree storage stains and had suffered assaults with household cleaners, applied via a stiff brush, with predictably poor results.

Next time, I’ll tell you about some of the oily bits packing an air leaking surprise!

What I found…

Gliptone Leathercare

Previously used for my BMW 635 and now Z3’s interior leather. Still a work in progress, booked into specialist, but pleased to reorder Gliptone products. or Tel: 01244 888658

Leather forever

Show buy of satisfactory cleaner, not convinced of untried and expensive £60 plus custom-order colour restorer yet.

Alloy wheel fixes

Wonder Wheels is brilliant on previous three cars. Preliminary, thorough water wash and Meguiars quick wheel detailer finished it off.


Meguiars spray, fine results.

Bonnet in Cosmos Schwarz metallic paint

Bloom damage from old accident repair, most effective so far is Autoglym Super Resin Polish, along with vigorous wiping! Shiny photographically, but still noticeably blemished though.

Roadster top tips

Fabric rejuvenated by three coats of Renovo (http://www.renovointernational. com—Tel:01444 443277) Gorilla Tape patch to nonfactory replacement Perspex rear window surround. Ok, but replaced after Renovo application by Evo Stick glue.

Chrome/bright metalwork

German-sourced Autosol is efficient at http://www.autosol. com. Hermetite: Good results, Hermetite Metal Brite is effective on engine bay brightwork surface rust.

Fiona_Mcgowan123 @ Ebay

Scratch repair Cosmos Metallic black touch paint. Masked the worst ,but not a glossy match. Ok for a cheap car, not for a pro finish.

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