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1971 BMW 1600 Project

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    1971 BMW 1600 Project

    I am always looking for something. Most of the time I don't know what that is, but I seem to find it anyways.

    Last week's flavor of the month happened to find me through a friend. I get a text a few nights ago about a BMW 1600 for sale locally. The seller put up the worst photos and knew nothing about the car (it belonged to his father) and posted the ad in California, while living in Phoenix.

    I write the seller an email, and get another friend of mine to write one to, giving us more exposure to the potential purchase. Seller ends up calling my buddy and we set up a meeting.

    This thing has been sitting in a garage for the last 12 years, and hasn't been regularly driven in almost 20. It was buried under 6 feet of boxes, but we were determined to roll it out of the garage to get a better visual on this thing. We were shocked at what we found.

    After we rolled it out:

    Original 1971 Atlantik Blue 1600. This is one of the last 1600s to make it stateside.

    I agreed to pay full asking price and had it towed the next day to Doctor Detail in Costa Mesa, Ca. Doctor Detail provides a unique service where they put the car on a lift and give the undercarriage and engine bay a deep clean using steam cleaning technologies. He did an excellent job. I didn't have any before photos of the engine bay or undercarriage unfortunately.
    This is immediately after Doctor Detail

    I had the car delivered to a secret location and put together a to do list. At the top of my priorities was to get the car running. We put a little oil in the spark plug holes and a little seafoam through the a vacuum hose. We cranked it over but it wasn't starting! We ran a few simple tests and determined that we weren't getting any spark. The next door neighbor then stops by and switches two wires around (putting power to the coil) and the car fired right up! She was a hot mess with how much smoke was coming out but we didn't mind (the engine has to burn the spark plug oil and the seafoam).

    Super stoked at this point, so we switched gears for a minute. We started washing the car inside and out and began putting together a plan of attack on how to bring the paint back.

    She's a mess. I really wish the primer wasn't on the driver's side. I love the patina that this car as accrued over it's lifetime and now I have to do something about that primer section on the rear quarter panel. Still debating if I want to go full paint and bodywork (I'd rather paint over the primer, then try to blend in, create a synthetic patina that matches the rest of the car, if possible).

    This will be my surf car now. Might as well make her look the part.

    We got the windows nice and clean, and began sorting out the interior. The dash is cracked, both front seats are destroyed, and pieces of carpet is missing and worn completely through. Not to worry, surf car.

    Pretty windows, all original glass:

    Almost no rust. (Rust in the spare tire well is only surface. No holes.

    Interior BEFORE shots:

    Continue Cleaning:

    Those surf racks I originally was looking for:

    I left a few parts out. Mainly that this car belonged to a famous mayor's brother in an Orange County city and the bullet hole. Yes, a bullet hole. It entered through the hood, put a nice big hole through the firewall, and even through the front cowl directly below the front windshield. Must have been a big bullet.

    Previous owner said that it happened while in Compton, Ca. Go figure.

    After a little bit of cleaning and playing with rubbing compounds (not really), we go from this:

    to this:

    I'll have more pictures in the coming days. I created this thread to help me keep track of what I've done.

    This car came with an original 1.6l m10 engine. That's like 85hp. STOKED.

    To be continued!

    Sorry about the poor story telling. I surfed all day. If anyone keeps track, there is a huge swell hitting the west coast right now. Waves were 6-8 feet all day today and will be bigger in the next few days. If you've ever been destroyed by an 8 foot wave (heavy heavy), you'd take the next few hours very slowly too.
    Last edited by phreshkid; 01-26-2014, 11:08 AM.
    world renown Harry Potter expert

    Looking good, 02's are becoming classic fixer uppers!
    318iS Track Rat :nice:
    '86 325iX 3.1 Stroker Turbo '86 S38B36 325

    No one makes this car anymore. The government won't allow them, normal people won't buy them. So it's up to us: the freaks, the weirdos, the informed. To buy them, to appreciate them, and most importantly, to drive them.


      I love the cleaned up patina, please do not change it! Clean interior and a strong running m10=perfect daily.
      ~ Puch Cafe. ~ Do business? feedback ~ Check out my leather company ~

      Instagram: @BWeissLeather

      Current cars:
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        Very cool! Subscribed for updates


          I'm very jealous, looks like a great start. Mind me asking how much you paid?
          1987 325i-M60b44 swap


            Dude sweet! You should keep the bullet hole just for the sake of the story and history lol
            "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten."


              Shame about the primer, otherwise that thick coat of patina is awesome! Keep us updated. Seems like a fun project.
              diamantschwarz 1991 318is


                A few updates!

                Surf was insane again, bare with me.

                So I got back to the hobby shop this morning. We pulled the car out, made another list of what we wanted to get done, and got started. About 15 minutes into the day, we both took a step back and asked ourselves what we really wanted to do. Both our answers were "We want to drive this thing". So there it was, our goal.

                First thing is first: check fluids/replace as needed. We first checked the diff fluid level. We pulled off the rear tire (we needed to change it anyways) and had better access to the differential. Upon further investigation, we noticed that this was a rare short-neck 4.10 differential that 02 guys are always after. I remove the lower diff bolt and stick my finger in nice and deep-like. No fluid. Dry.

                So we fill er up. Here is a shot of the diff marking. Notice the 41. That's mucho importante in 02 world.

                Remember how I mentioned the Doctor Detail place in Costa Mesa? Well this is the result of his steam clean pressure wash of the undercarriage. That there is original 43 year old paint. The price seems steep at $325.00 but it's night and day how much better working on cars is when parts are actually clean. 100% worth it.

                After we got the diff sorted out, we checked for oil and coolant. Both seemed ok for now, so we started her up and pulled outside.

                We topped off the tires and went off for a test drive.

                BLUE SMOKE EVERYWHERE. And lots of it. Is this engine FUBAR? We'll find out in the coming days.

                Spoke to a few 02 gurus who have brought cars back from the dead and told me to change the oil using 20w50 partial synthetic, an oil additive called Restore (V8 edition), add 5 gallons of new gas and throw in a "Guaranteed to Pass" fuel additive. These things will help clean out the system and if the valves aren't seating properly, they will after I drive the car around for a bit. They say it works, but there is always the chance of a bad engine. I'm already preparing a contingency plan.

                Here is a photo of the engine bay coming back together.

                The thing that boggles me is that this car starts right up so easily. It's almost an instantaneous start up once you turn the ignition. That has to be a good indication of some sort. I'm crossing my fingers that this engine sorts out and gives me years of being passed by newer Honda Civics.

                I got side tracked a few times today with other odds and ends. I tried cleaning up the old trunk panels. One is clean, the other is still dirty. Should clean up ok though. They definitely match the patina of the car.

                Also, I tried my hand at cleaning up the super shitty front grilles.

                to this:

                From this:

                to this

                My buuddy had an extra set of early tii seats that will stay in for now. Not technically correct (02 guys are insane when it comes to details and correctness of parts) but don't care, surf car.

                We eventually drove the car down the street a few more times and things seem to be looking up. Still a fair amount of blue fumes, but that can still be the seafoam and Marvel oil we put in yesterday. I'll try to put a few miles on her in the coming week and see what I come up with.

                Here is a closing shot to end the post:

                Overall, a great day. It's good to have resources around every corner and on every shelf. I'll probably end up keeping this car forever, and take my time on the s14 powered 2002 build I have going on.

                Last edited by phreshkid; 02-17-2014, 02:09 PM.
                world renown Harry Potter expert


                  I'd rock it like that. Like F34R said, love the patina.
                  Originally posted by LJ851
                  I programmed my oven to turn off when my pizza was done, should i start a build thread?



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             want! Nice pick up


                        Hey phreshkid ... I hear ya. Me and the buds hit up north county SD today after crew was dope. I could barely even fuck with it.
                        Which beach were you at? I stayed mostly along Torrey Pines.

                        The car looks great.

                        1991 BMW 318i (Old Shell RIP, Now Being Re-shelled & Reborn)
                        1983 Peugeot 505 STI
                        1992 Volvo 240 Wagon
                        2009 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Sport 4WD


                          Originally posted by freeride53 View Post
                          Hey phreshkid ... I hear ya. Me and the buds hit up north county SD today after crew was dope. I could barely even fuck with it.
                          Which beach were you at? I stayed mostly along Torrey Pines.

                          The car looks great.
                          We play all down the coast. I play in Torrey Pines a lot myself. black's beach is always a fun spot.

                          I stay mostly in Orange County, being as I live in Huntington Beach.

                          Life is good. We should do water sports some time. I love water sports.
                          world renown Harry Potter expert


                            Somebody say watersports?


                              Looking good keep it up.