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Panici's '87 325is E30 - Classic, comfortably sporty. Restomod in progress.

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    sweet tail lights


      LED Bulb Conversion
      July 2019

      Looking for more visibility to other drivers, I've changed the following bulbs to LEDs:
      • Front running lamps / turn signals.
      • Rear turn signals
      • Rear running lamps
      • Rear brake lights

      I used some random Amazon LED lamps. If these fail prematurely I will upgrade to name-brand units.

      Note that I painted the visible rear LED bulbs using glass paint (see earlier DIY Startec post in this thread) so that they show up coloured in my rear lenses.

      I've added resistors to my turn signal circuit to prevent fast flashing due to reduced LED load.
      I opted to add these under the dash by tapping into the wiring to the flasher stalk. (Blu/Red through 2x 6ohm resistors to ground, and Blu/Blk through 2x 6ohm resistors to ground).
      This keeps the resistors out of the elements and in a centralized location. I can also replace the flasher stalk unit & wiring to convert back to stock in the future.

      I attempted to mount these resistors by zip tying them to the ABS module, but found that they got quite hot (+100c) after a short amount of time with the hazard flashers running.
      This makes sense as they are 6ohm resistors dumping about 30w of energy each!

      I ended up mounting them flat to the bottom of the ABS module, which acts as a giant heatsink.

      A better solution would be to use an LED rated flasher without resistors. However I wanted to keep my original flasher, as I like the old-school sound and feel.

      The LED conversion makes a dramatic difference both during the day and at night. I can actually pull into my garage at night with only my running lights (headlights off) and see clearly.

      Here are some pictures attempting to show the brightness, and a video showing a comparison between incandescent and LED bulbs. Note that I had not yet added the resistors when I recorded the video.">" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">

      '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
      '90 Mazda Miata NA
      '04 Jeep TJ
      '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)


        Hidden Headunit, Power & Ground Upgrade, New Project Car
        August 2019

        The custom hidden amplifier setup I had as a "temporary" measure finally stopped working, so I replaced it with a used Alpine CDE-141, mounted in my glovebox.
        I'd like to clean up and finalize the glovebox mounting, this was done quickly to have music for our trip up north!
        Unfortunately the shared/common speaker ground setup didn't work with the headunit. My first attempted fix was to run four grounds to the OEM amplifier wiring splice in the trunk.
        Technically this worked, however it picked up a LOT of alternator/engine noise.
        My second fix (which is working so far, still need to wire the front speakers) was to run aftermarket speaker wiring from the headunit to the rear amp connector in the trunk for the rear speakers. This sounds great (eliminated noise), but I have to look at aftermarket speaker wiring in the interior until I make the cabin waterproof and install the original carpet.

        Speaking of water, my central locking stopped working. Upon investigation, I found my central locking module *full* of water. Obviously I'm still having water ingress issues in that front fender area.

        In a further attempt to reduce stereo noise, I installed a Bavarian Restoration Performance Power and Ground Cable Kit, as I previously had no ground straps on the hood & valve cover.

        Also took the car up north again to visit my Uncle's cottage. Car ran great, and had just enough ground clearance to get into the cottage (only scraped the exhaust a few times on high rocks). We had a tough time over the washboard gravel roads, I'd like to go over the suspension and make sure everything is still tight.

        As a final point, I bought a new car! Picked up a 1990 Mazda Miata as a fun/casual project. This is a bucket list car for me, and I bought it for only $1800.
        Here is a before/after comparison of my progress so far, more details in the build thread in my signature. (

        '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
        '90 Mazda Miata NA
        '04 Jeep TJ
        '05 Yamaha R6 (trackbike)