28 August 2016

Rarity Sunday: The M coupe Banner

In the late 90s, BMW issued banners to dealers to help advertise the cars.  The M coupe was one of them.  They provided a banner that is 29 x 72 inches, with a wood dowel rod and a string integrated into it.  My dealer gave me one or two for free at one point.  We bought as many as we could from the local dealer in Cincinnati, Jake Sweeney BMW.  They were ordered through Centernet, which dealers use to buy promotional materials through BMW.  We paid $50 each and we sold or gave them away to our best customers (you know who you are).  I kept one of them when all was said and done.  The same dealer sold us M coupe posters for $5.  At the time, we honestly bought all we could afford, but it surely would be nice to pay $50 / $5 nowadays!

21 August 2016

Rarity Sunday: BMW coupe Art Collection "As Seen By"

When the M coupe was first released, BMW commissioned 4 famous photographers to help commemorate and capture the car.  The series was called "As Seen By", where the idea was to get "enlightened" artists to try to explain what they thought the M coupe was all about.  

Certain countries had the photos in a brochure for the car (which means there was a seam down the center of some/all of the prints, but BMW also released (gave away?) special commemorative boxes of high res prints as a kit.  I bought this one from a Bimmerfest member during a charity auction years ago.  I might have paid $50 or $100 for it, but I think this set is worth much more than that.  I don’t care for the eyeball picture, so I never framed it.   I do keep the other 3 prints framed in my office.

There are some Youtube videos about these photos:

The set came in this box that unfolds from all sides.  The box is about 11 x 16 inches.
These are the 4 photographers' names
Set opened

Cool details

There were 4 mylar protective sheets, one for each photograph
I took these outdoor with natural light and did my best to capture them.
Each photo is about 11 x 16

Estoril is a nice color, but I don't care for this one. 

19 August 2016

More on Z3 Body Gaps

The specifications for the Z3 and Z3/M coupe body gaps are generally 5 mm all around.  The front bumper is not supposed to be flush with the hood.  That is incorrect.  In fact, the body lines of the Z3 are supposed to be exactly 5 mm in a straight line... the body gap is part of the styling.

In the rear of the car, on top of the bumper, there should be a buffer stop part on each side to set the gap to the rear quarter panel.  It is part number 51311925433.

Car should look like this:
Actual specifications from BMW are below:

Refinishing the headliner (Part 2)

I finally finished the headliner project.  In a previous post, I removed the headliner and sourced the materials to refinish it myself.  Since I have built 2500+ LeatherZ armrests by hand and done tons of other custom leather projects, I thought I was pretty good at stretching materials and working with upholstery contact adhesive.  No so, porkchop.  I even bought an air-powered spray gun to get an even coat of adhesive.  Still no dice.  I was unable to get the new Ultrasuede material installed without wrinkles.  I gave up and went to a pro. 

With the headliner already out of the car, it wasn’t expensive.  I used Pop’s Top Shop in Summerville, SC.  Jesse Rivera is the owner.  Jesse charged me $135 and did a great job.  He used the Ultrasuede I provided and he used the same adhesive I had bought (Weldwood HHR High Heat Resistance).  According to him, some tricks: use an air-powered rotary sander to prep the headliner surface and remove all the old glue babies and traces of previous material.  I didn’t do that.  I picked each glue baby off by hand (see pics) and used latex gloves, brushes, etc.  Use 3 guys (read: 6 hands) to install the new material.  You need to keep the material away from the headliner until you are absolutely sure you want it to go down.  You only get one shot with headliner fabric, you cannot apply it then pull it back up and re-position it… the foam back will come off.  I did do the A- and C-pillars myself in the same material.  I also replaced the factory jute insulation with Dynamat Dynaliner.

Installation was reverse of removal.  Does help to remove both seats and then carefully wiggle it in from the passenger side door opening.  You will have to bend one corner a little but it will not damage or deform the headliner permanently.  

 I wasn’t totally thrilled with the Ultrasuede at first.  Too boy racer looking.  Like Alcantara, it shows a “nap” like real suede.  This makes the headliner look non-uniform.  But, Ultrasuede is dead-nuts, jet black, unlike the factory anthracite headliner and unlike Alcantara headliners.  That part is nice, for sure.  Anyway, once installed in the car, it looks fantastic.  I am really pleased with the transformation.  This car is one of (if not THE) most mundane color combination, so it’s nice to add a little flair to the car.

One of the 2 bulbs in the rear dome light was burned out, so I replaced both with new Sylvania units.  The correct bulb type is 6411 LLBP 10 watt.  You need 2.

The "done" pictures at the end of this post were taken in the garage with the camera flash on.  This isn't really fair to the material as it highlights the nap.  Once I get the car back together, I will take pictures with natural sunlight and update this post.

DO MAKE SURE you read this additional post with more tips on how to remove the headliner.

Headliner labor, Pop’s Top Shop, $135.00
Dynamat Dynaliner ½” thickness, $49.99r
6411 bulbs, need 2, $5.99r/pair

Total cost of this mod = $190.98 (plus materials accounted for in Part 1)
Total investment in vehicle to date = $12893.82r

You need to bend the tabs on these to unhook them from the headliner.
Most of the fabric will pull right off.  The hard work is getting the "glue baby" balls of adhesive off.
Glue Babies.
Getting close to clean, but it's a nasty job to remove them all and the whole thing is pretty sticky.
A-pillar stripped.
C-pillars stripped.

New fabric
Ready for adhesive and new material
In process shot.  Turned out to be a huge failure but my material choices were right.  Good learning experience.
I did add some sheet metal plates on either side of the sunroof switch.  The sunroof switch always fits a little loose on these cars, because it mates to the headliner core. The metal plates give the switch the proper Bavarian feel once installed.
Dynaliner instead of the factory jute.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.
Installed, but picture taken with a flash exaggerates the nap look of the liner.