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A well travelled e30 - Cali to London. 84 coupe

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    A well travelled e30 - Cali to London. 84 coupe

    So, i have a thread regarding my trip in itself, but this isn't about the trip. This is about the car!

    I do need to go through an update the thread on the trip but i will get to that as i want to go into much more detail on that thread about the places and the roads and i don't want it to get muddled up.

    This thread is about the journey of this car, the build and basically the documentation of its life.

    When i initially told people i planned on flying from London to California, picking up an old BMW and exploring america over 3 months, doing circa 10,000 miles everyone doubted the car i had chosen. Everyone said it wouldn't make it, i should just get a rental or something newer. But that's not me, that's not what this trip is about.

    So this trip had been something I dreamt of for years and years and we figured if we didn't do this soon, then we never would. In-fact, this trip was actually my honeymoon.

    So every road trip plan must come with an overview of the route.

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Now, we originally planned on finishing our trip in Boston, but as our time came towards the end we was seeing it was stupid cold in Boston, the car at this point was getting tired, i wasn't sure if i wanted to risk driving it all the way up there so we decided after Tennessee we would do a U-turn and finish back in Florida where we could enjoy a final couple of weeks in the sunshine before heading back to grey, dark, cold, miserable England.

    The car in question was actually purchased from a member on here.

    1984 325e coupe. White, Black leather interior, odo stopped working but guesstimated at 280k on the clock and it was a manual.

    I was actually looking for an early model "e" car with the diving board bumpers. A LOT of people would have and did think this car will never complete this trip, even the original owner was sceptical. but i figured fuck it! lets just give it a try and see where we go.

    I ended up getting the car for a bargain price of $1,000 which is around 700. I had my friend who lived local to the car in NorCal go collect it for me ready for my arrival. He purchased the car on 01 July 2018 and i was planned to land in NorCal on 05 September 2018 so we had a few months to figure out if anything needed doing to the car.

    The car had a ton of maintenance recently done to it which was good!! new tyres, timing belt and water pump, all new cooling system and so on and so on.

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    This was really the only photo i really could see of the car from the CL add.

    The other side of the car had a Bronzit door and front fender, these had to be addressed so i managed to find a white door and a pair of white fenders which we could fit onto the car so i had them collected, the door was fitted prior to my arrival but the fenders where located down closer to LA so we fitted these around week 3 of my trip (but we will get to that)

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    The car came with a few misc parts chucked into the trunk. one of which was this IS front air dam, i really wish i still had it but we will get into that later on.

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    My friend Chris who collected the fenders for me was able to give them a clean up to see what we was working with. Unfortunately the passenger side fender (which was the main one we needed) was quite badly damaged by years of being in the sun. Regardless, it wasn't Bronzit so i wasn't too bothered.

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    When my friend collected the car he was able to take photos of the interior for me. Bonus, the car had sports seats from a convertible in pretty damn good condition at that too.

    not sure what was going on with the carpet which some of you may see

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    The car was parked up on my friends farm with his Dinnan e36 M3 sedan which is super clean!!

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

    And this is where the car sat until my arrival in September.

    I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

    #2
    Exciting!

    Watching National Lampoon's Vacation is essential pre-trip training.
    E30 320i vert
    But daily drive is Volvo V60 Polestar

    Comment


      #3
      We flew from London to Oakland airport on 05 September 2018 where my good friend Steve who had collected and looked after the car for me picked us up from and took us back to his place just North of Oakland near Sacramento.

      First impressions of the car...

      Looked much cleaner in photos but i had an idea on what i was getting into, the wife not so happy with the purchase. Thankfully she got on board with the car and fell in love with it.

      first full day in California 30+*c (not sure what that is in Fahrenheit) and this English idiot decides to wear all black...

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      after spending the day in the small town of Vacaville sorting out the paperwork to insure and register it. Was actually much easier than anticipated, i went to AAA rather than the DMV. I managed to get Insurance, break down cover and register the car within about 40 minutes!! they didn't really ask too many questions, i figured it was a small town and to be honest they didn't really care much.

      getting used to driving a manual car on the WRONG side of the road and the WRONG side of the car i got used to it quicker than expected. Spent the day with my friend Steve and headed to our hotel for the night. the next day we was to head to San Francisco!!

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      San Fran, WOW, Stressful!!! first day really driving the car getting used to everything. old car, manual, everything was on the opposite side to how i've been driving for the past 10 years. All the images i have seen of the SF hills and streets do not do justice to just how crazy steep they are!!!

      but we did manage to go down Lombard street a couple of times before it got overran with tourists, there was still quite a lot there but not as many as later on in the day.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      We then struggled to find somewhere to park, i refused to pay the extreme amounts that people wanted for parking in SF so we found some street parking. got some food, explored the pier and other parts of San Fran, it had been a stressful day so we headed for the coast!!

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Some of you may have seen in previous posts the wanky old shift boot this car had. Well Matt over at 2m made me up some new ones which i fitted to the car! quality is honestly amazing!!

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      still trying to get used to the size of some of the vehcles in America.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Now, at this point we went a little bit backwards and we drove from the top part of the PCH across to sonora where we would then make our trip to Yosemite and Mammoth lakes

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Sonora and the Sonora Pass was absolutely beautiful.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      If anyone is up in NorCal i really urge you to go drive and experience this road.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      It was at this point i really felt that i had made it, i felt that this trip was really happening. The trip i had dreamt of doing for years.

      We was finally out in America, exploring and hitting the open road. Only a few cars passed us and we pulled over to just take it all in. It was crazy, it almost felt as if i was having an out of body experience whilst parked up on the side of this amazing road looking out over the forest.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      we hopped back in the car and just drove the bends and cruised until the car got hot. We pulled over again and i tried to let the car cool down, we went for a walk in the surrounding area and just didn't let the extra hot car bothered us, i would look at it when we got to civilisation.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      ended up just being a bit low on oil and also topped up the water. (later on we found out the thermostat was put in backwards)

      We then hit up Yosemite what a beautiful part of the world!! only got one photo with the car.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      after spending a couple of days in Yosemite we done the long long drive to Santa Cruz where we would start the decent down towards LA along the PCH!!

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      From there we drove Big Sur, explored the national park and just enjoyed the coast.

      More gas and cleaned up the millions bugs on the windshield.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      We went to Sequoia (i think) and drove through a tree.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      We now got to Lancaster, this was the stop before i got to LA. we had a long weekend staying at my friends house Chris who i believe is on the forum.

      Now Chris really saved my arse with this car. I can truly say the car WOULD NOT have made it much further without his help and assistance. And I can not thank him enough for this.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      Got the car into his garage. There was quite a few things that we knew we had to tackle and quite a few things that surprised us.

      Now, the lights wasnt properly working. just the main beams wouldnt work on there own they would only work if i put full beams on which meant all 4 of the lights would then be on. and i didnt want to be that guy, so for the first few weeks i was driving will my full beams on but i had the inner two lights unplugged which meant only the outer two lights would be on.

      The wiring was a shit storm, it was a bloody mess...

      a small wiring fire later and fixing the issue we had a success, albeit only for a short time and then i had to revert back to my previous driving of having the inner lights unplugged and driving with the full beams on.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      We also had other work to do which involved fitting the new front fenders, also the passenger side inner door handle was broken meaning i had to get Nicholl out the car each time by walking to her door and opening it. Although this made me look like a gent it was getting annoying so we welded up what needed to be done and that was fixed.

      new fenders on, and also removed the front IS dam as i had smashed it to pieces a few hours prior getting to Chris's house pulling into see the elephant seals on the PCH too quickly and there was a nasty big dip which absolutely killed it. sad times.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      also painted the lower kick pannels, put new brakes on the car.

      whilst under the car we noticed the shift linkage was loose so we tightened this up and there was a rattling from the rear which was the rear ARB mounts which was destroyed. it turns out there is a larger rear ARB on the back but couldn't work out what it was. this was dark blue but may have been painted. also there is no ARB up front...

      turned the car on to leave Chris's to head down to LA where i would be staying for a week. car wouldn't fire, heard a bang, Chris got wet...

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      yep, that's the fuel line. someone had fitted the wrong fuel line into the car so we replaced it all, i literally have no idea how the car got so far and also how lucky we was that it decided to go in Chris's garage and not in the arse end of nowhere.

      Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

      out of the garage and off we left much later than expected but thankfully the car was in tip top shape.

      This is where i will leave it for now...

      I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

      Comment


        #4
        Our time in LA wasnt car related, i parked the e30 at my friends house for the week and we just went everywhere in one of his cars, done the touristy things. Hollywood is a shithole, Venice beach isnt what i was expected. Ate too much good food and went to the beach. Lots of smiles was had and tons of memories made with great people. exactly what a trip like this is made for.

        My shift knob had completely town apart by this time and was being a royal pain in the arse, Mooneyes was just down the road from my friends place and it was somewhere i really wanted to go. I know it isnt to everyones style but i needed a new shift knob and i tried to get a more subtle one to go in the car. a memory of our time in LA

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Personally, i love it, it fits super comfy in the palm of your hands. burns you to hell and back when the car is left in the sun and its balls cold when your in somewhere that's been snowing or below freezing (Colorado)

        We stayed in a TeePee around Palm Springs area and then headed out to Las Vegas.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        The road to vegas. No Aircon, we both drove there pretty much just in our underwear, it was over 100*f and it was fucking hot to say the least.

        had a fun drive though.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        one of my favourite photos of the car to date:

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        We then spent 3 full days in vegas. Had a good time, done stuff that wont be documented on the internet. and then we left and headed towards flagstaff where we would spend the night and then on to Utah.

        Cruised along on Route66 for a bit and got some photos in an old gas station.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Utah, we stayed in Zion national park and what a bloody beautiful place to go and visit.

        some places was super busy but we found some secluded spots. went and explored, got some photos of the car.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        I also really really like this photo.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        We went towards Moab and visited "hole in the rock" which was really interesting.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        Car still surviving having really no issues with it, just kept taking on more and more miles like a champ. onboard computer reading average MPG as 29 too!!

        After Utah we headed to Colorado!!! honestly such a beautiful state.

        until a storm hit us.

        Cali car, summer tyres, we found out that the heater doesnt work along with the aircon not working.

        found a place to stop to warm up and get food... this is how the car looked.

        Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

        a wee bit cold and miserable.

        I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

        Comment


          #5
          After our time in Colorado we visited Vail and also Denver, spent about a week in Denver and decided it was time to leave. But there was something i HAD to do!!

          pikes peak, yep lets get this little 325e up pikes peak!!

          it was insane, we took it easy as the snow was still with us, we had such a good time and was an experience to remember.

          kind of pissed off the shut the road just short of the summit. But nonetheless so glad i was able to do it!

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          After pikes peak we drove towards the "million dollar highway" has anyone ever done this road? because you really need to.

          again miles and miles of incredible views. we kept stopping walking and just exploring.

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          We was definitely far away from the California hot weather and beautiful beaches now but we are in a different kind of beauty!

          After we left Colorado we headed to New Mexico, didn't do too much car related stuff here, my car was idiling funny and a few other issues which i met up with my good friend Matthew Jet who also has an early model e30 which is incredible. We changed the ICV, car had a different style airbox in so he had one for the correct period and car so we fitted that and done some other bits and pieces to the car.

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          The shifter road had become loose again so we tightened that back up, gave the car a clean and hit the road. next state - TEXAS!!

          along the way we drove through some Route66 again.

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          We stayed in Amarillo, ate a big arse steak and then headed out to Oklahoma for a bit as i wanted to go to a couple of shops...

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          first shop on the list was the FNA StreetOutlwas Firehouse.

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          and then to Dallas where we went to GasMonkey

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          Went to the GasMonkey Bar & Grill which for the record does some seriously amazing food and really recommend people to go eat there.

          we then went to ArcLight Fab, for those that don't know this is Aaron Kauffmans new shop. We met Aaron and he took about an hour out of his day to talk to us, personally show us around his shop, all the projects and was truly interested in our adventure and gave us some places we should go and check out. What a decent guy!

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          spent some time at the Texas State Fair. Coming home we hit what felt like a crater in the road. i am pretty sure the floor of the car hit the floor. the wheel was fucked and i could feel the air was going down and going down fast. i put my foot down and made it to the hotel. got out the car, looked at the tyre and decided that's tomorrows problem and went to bed.

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          The tyre was fine but the rim itself was fucked!!

          thankfully had a spare wheel in the trunk. fitted it and the tyre was perishing and was destroyed. it made me get round the corner to a local tyre shop, went to a small independent place as i would rather help them out and give them my money and was more of an experience and they got it done quicker when i said i would give them an extra $10 to do it asap!

          used the spare rim and fitted the tyre off the busted wheel, good as new and off we went! this time down towards Austin and San Antonio.

          At this point all the travelling had caught up with me. We had a week down in Austin/San Antonio and flu had hit me or something. i was truly fucked and felt so rough.

          We managed to get out for 2 days and do Austin and then San Antonio, wish i could have explored more but in reality i needed a rest!!

          we then headed across to Houston where we met up with some friends and then Mississippi to Alabama and then Florida!!

          whats that i see?

          is it, no it cant be, but it really is, thats the SUN!!

          Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

          I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

          Comment


            #6
            This is cool.
            Paynemw
            1986 Toyota 4Runner SR5 - Sold!
            the ebb and flow of 325is ownership - In RVA
            1988 BMW 535is - RIP but my dream BMW

            Comment


              #7
              So, first stop in Florida was Tallahassee, was a really cool town and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Whilst driving around we tried to head to the coast as there was recently a hurricane we wanted to go through take a look and potentially see if there was anything that we could do to help.

              came across all these old rusted out trucks in some field, was super cool!!

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              It was then Halloween where we spent the evening at our friends house in Tampa, they had young kids so we went trick or treating with them and then after that we had a few drinks. As it was our Honeymoon we went as dead husband and bride, Ft. e30

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              and before we left our friends place he wanted to get a photo of me with the e30, i dont like photos of me at all but i quite like this photo.

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              and yes, that belly developed by all the American food. my god i miss the food!

              had breakfast with a bunch of friends after a Cars and Coffee, perks of having a "compact" car

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              After Tampa we headed South!! as South as we could get and we hit up the Keys, so beautiful down there.

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              After the keys we then headed up. First stop was Miami, explorer the grafitti but didnt head to far into Miami as at this point we had spent a while in Florida and wanted to head towards Georgia and the Carolinas.

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              First Stop outside of Florida was Savannah.
              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              got "papped" driving along the "old" historic streets.

              We then headed across to Helen, my lord i love Helen. this was my second time exploring this area and i could never get bored there. Southern hospitality is a true thing in this neck of the woods.

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              After helen we was heading towards Nashville, Tennessee.

              But you can not go from georgia to tennessee without driving a certain road.

              that road is the Dragon!!

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              It was wet, greasy, slippery and so much fun!! i had also been here before but in the summertime, it was much busier and you could drive a lot quicker on the roads.

              I went back up to the middle to pull over get out the car, stretch our legs and have a look.

              as i pulled into the vista point. bang. the car broke and then a strom started to roll in. No cell signal either.

              fucked.

              Untitled by Ben Walsh, on Flickr

              Something had snapped. Was this the end?

              I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

              Comment


                #8
                This is fantastic!

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great thread! I was following along with the trip on Instagram, looks like it was a great trip! I had messaged you on IG when you were looking for a Colorado license plate, let me know if you still want it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    this is amazing


                    -
                    Project
                    Parts for Sale
                    Feedback
                    YouTube Channel

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Subscribed. This is awesome.
                      How to remove, install or convert to pop out windows
                      http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=297611


                      Could be better, could be worse.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Trip of a lifetime! Fantastic read. You're a lucky man. If I proposed to my already soon to be wife we drive cross country in a mystery e30, I'd be a dead man!
                        1991 sterling silver 318is
                        1987 alpine white 325i convertible

                        Comment


                          #13
                          This is almost exactly what I want to do except in a 325ix or a mullemobile 3rd gen Camaro.
                          sigpic

                          (clicky on piccy to get to thread)

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Wow what an awesome adventure!
                            '91 "318is" slick top M50 turbo
                            '97 Dodge 3500 12v Cummins
                            '12 Mini Cooper S
                            '89 318i Chump Car Project

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Absolutely stunning trip! Impressive and fantastic updates.

                              Comment

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