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1987 325is Zinno Restoration - Mark II

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    1987 325is Zinno Restoration - Mark II

    I've been working on the restoration of my 1987 325is (Mk II, as I coded her) for the past 5 years now.

    She's my second e30 and I love her to death. The restoration has been a slow process since I've been doing all the work in my garage on jack stands and trying to get to it when I can. My plan is to have her on the road by the summer.

    Here's a little back story

    I'm pretty passionate about BMW and a proud owner of a 2004 325xi and a 1987 325is (currently restoring)

    My addiction all started about 10 years ago when I got my first bmw, a 2003 e46 330ci, it was beautiful, Topaz blue, manual transmission, fully loaded, I feel in love with it, became my garage queen.

    As I dived hard into the bmw realm, I was introduced to the e30s by a friend, talked about how small, adgile they were and farly easy to work on. It just so happend there was a '88 325is sitting in a driveway in my neighborhood, it was there for a while, passed it everyday not realizing how special it was. As I got more into the e30s i knew I had to have it. Turned out it belonged to a friend of my sister, it was his first car in high school but lost interest in it. I called him up, and made a deal to purchase it, without even looking at it or what kind of work needed to be done. Picked it up, drove it home 5 miles away, holding the door closed since it the lock catch didn't even work, wheel bearing whining, who cares! haha I was so excited didn't even want to go to work that day... Finally ready to start assessing it, the first thing I did was pull the hood release to check out the motor and the release cable snapped... off to a great start haha, but I was determined to rebuild and make it awesome...

    here's some photos of what she looked like a day or two after I pick here up, in 2005

    and after 3-4 years of cleaning here up, she was mighty fine. 2008

    Then when all is right in the world the most unimaginable diasters decent upon us...

    driving on the highway, Labor day 2009, cruising in the left lane, minding my own business, a Mercedes from Maryland (wish i got the plate number), changed lanes without warning cut into the left lane, I swerved to the shoulder to avoid him hitting me (probably would have been better to let him hit me) as my wheels hit the rumble strips the rear wheels locked up, sending my car into a fish tail, I remember being sidways sliding down the shoulder, I cut the wheel back to stay out of the lanes of traffic to avoid being hit and the car spun into the concrete divider, and then rear spun hitting the concrete divider again... and the damn Mercedes who cut me off just drove off.. never to be seen. There I was, on the side of the highway, my car totally destroyed....but on the positive note I was able to walk away without a scratch or any injuries. Definitely a wake up call...

    here's some shots of the damage...RIP my 88 325is, you were one sweet ride...

    Unfortunately at the time I was an idiot and only had liablity insurance on the car so it ended up being a total loss. stupid me

    I was devistated to lose her, but the next day I started searching for my Mark II. While I searched everywhere for my next e30, I took apart the 88 piece by piece, screw by screw and saved everything in hopes to transfer it to the next build.

    Then Finally, After two months of searching I found her, in west Nyack, New York, an 1987 325is posted on Craigslist, a one owner car, all service records and manuals, the whole 9

    On first site I knew she needed a ton of work, but I got lots of signs that day that this car was beckoning me, I knew that this car wouldn't last so I made the deal, $1500. Needed to tow it home for the clutch master cylinder was leaking and the clutch petal was to the floor and unfortunately it was a daily driver up in the mountains so the salt rotted every typical rust area on the car but i knew with a lot of work, it would be great again one day...

    Back in 2009 I was so focused on getting my e30 back on the road that didn't take alot of photos of it as I was gutting her to see what need to be repaired. and some how lost all the photos I did take in the beginning, so here's the photos I got right before I picked her up.

    In the beginning I was determined to make her like my original 88 so I swapped the front valance out and added plastic front bumper. Initally not realizing that the 87 were quite different from the later 88. The 87 has the smaller M3 style tail lights, higher rear wheel fendar arches, full chrome trim around the windows, no lower valance. I was hesitant on the rear because so much modification had to be done.

    As time went on i started to appreciate the look of vintage cars and especially thanks to, love that site! and felt that the early model 87 325is has a really unique look compared to the late models, so decided to switch gears and getting her back to her original stock look. Time to dig out the diving boards and strap on the beautiful cow catcher

    I've done a lot of work over the years so far:

    new front control arms with new bushings
    new tie-rods
    new front sway links

    New Clutch Slave
    Clutch Master Cylindar

    rear overhaul
    found I had leak in the brake line T distributor connection above there subframe.

    Decided to get her up on jackstands and just clean everything, take care of the rust and replace almost everything

    Jack stands on the factory jack point worked well, got the jack pads from harbor freight and the stands from sears. Used a bike tire inner tube to soften the wedge. Made it easier to remove the rear subframe

    Used damaged brake hard line to mirror a new line

    New T-Distributor Brake Line Installed

    Rebuilt Subframe ready to be installed

    New Shifter Linkage and bushings

    New brake hard lines from front to rear
    new brake distributor
    new painted subframe from Guten parts
    new OEM rear subframe bushings
    Painted Trailing Arms
    New OEM bushings
    SS brake lines
    New Fluid in 3.73 Differential
    Painted and cleaned Differential
    new rear sway bar bushing and sway linkage
    new spring pads
    Swapped in my H&R and bilstens shocks
    new gas line hose with clamps
    New Driveshaft center bearing
    New Flex Guibo
    Replaced shifter linkage
    Replaced shifter rubber boot
    Replaced parking brake assembly
    new studs for exhaust sheild
    new exhuast shield

    Fixed the holes in floor pan and behind clutch stop with a harbor frieght welder and Por15

    not the best weld job for my first attempt but serves the purpose and will be covered by the carpet

    Got ride of the dirty beige interior and carpet and swapped to black (from my 88)

    Got the Ansa exhaust painted and installed, hooked up the battery and got to her fire right up. Finally got her on the all 4 wheels, and out of the garage to breathe some fresh air

    getting close to getting her back on the road.

    Next up, Welding the holes in around the license plate lights and the trunk battery tray. Have replacement pieces from a rust free e30, thanks member ncsubowen

    ***STAY TUNED***
    Last edited by Richter; 07-08-2019, 07:31 AM.


    1987 e30 325is Zinno - Restoring
    2004 e46 325xi Alpine - Daily
    2003 e46 330ci Topaz - Sold
    1988 e30 325is Zinno - RIP
    2007 Honda Ody - Family Truckster

    '87 325is Restoration Build

    nice work. don't lose courage, it will be so worth it.
    Much wow
    I hate 4 doors


      Unfortunate story but the end result will be worth the effort. looks good so far good luck
      Ig: el_mandatarioe30


        Beautiful work! What part of NJ are you in?


          Wow Great work.
          Bmw CCA # 490080

          1995 525iA RIP
          1987 325e Cirrusblau-Metallic/Pacific Blue (Daily)

          DSC_1725 by Matthew Johnson, on Flickr


            Looking like too much fun already, keep it going.

            '88 325is-daily
            '89 325is-project
            '84 633csi-its there
            '00 528i-daily (wrecked)
            '01 525i- sold


              Thanks for all the positive feedback so far! The journey is definitely fun

              Pretty excited, Found all the original manuals in my storage boxes! Even have the radio code, too bad I don't have original stock radio...previous owner had a cheap JVC head unit installed. I have a Alpine CDA-9847 unit that illuminates orange which matches up pretty nicely at night plus has a AUX connection

              RICHTER MOTOREN

              1987 e30 325is Zinno - Restoring
              2004 e46 325xi Alpine - Daily
              2003 e46 330ci Topaz - Sold
              1988 e30 325is Zinno - RIP
              2007 Honda Ody - Family Truckster

              '87 325is Restoration Build


                Looking good!
                Originally posted by kronus
                would be in depending on tip slant and tube size


                  Cleaned up the original set of keys and got the light bulb working, the silver key is a valet key I think, pretty cool

                  Also ordered a new extra set of Keys cut by BMW, only took two days

                  RICHTER MOTOREN

                  1987 e30 325is Zinno - Restoring
                  2004 e46 325xi Alpine - Daily
                  2003 e46 330ci Topaz - Sold
                  1988 e30 325is Zinno - RIP
                  2007 Honda Ody - Family Truckster

                  '87 325is Restoration Build


                    great work so far man

                    1989 325is l 1984 euro 320i l 1970 2002 Racecar
                    1991 318i 4dr slick top

                    Euro spec 320i/Alpina B6 3.5 project(the never ending saga)
                    Vintage race car revival (2002 content)
                    Mtech 2 turbo restoration
                    Brilliantrot slick top "build"


                      Sad story OP but I'm happy to see you found a really similar car to keep the memory alive. I see you liking this car better then the last.

                      1992 M tech 2 Convertible - S50 Swap
                      1992 e34 Touring- S50 Swap
                      1992 325i-S50 Swap (SOLD)

                      1995 e36 M3 Mugello Red - S50 (SOLD)
                      1991 325i Convertible Laguna Green (SOLD)
                      1987 325i (SOLD);1992 M tech 2 Convertible (SOLD)
                      1988 325i Convertible Alpine White (SOLD)
                      Brilliantrot Convertible 80k Miles (SOLD)
                      1992 325i Convertible Schwarz (SOLD)
                      1992 318i Convertible Project-Finished (SOLD)


                        Love it - glad that some bits of my grey car can live on by restoring yours!

                        4 doors.. so much room for activities!

                        IG @bluebombr

                        Transaction Feedback:



                          Very nice work! Motivates me to get to work on my es!
                          For all inquiries PM me or email:


                            Great work so far! Any updates?
                            '89 325i RoyalBlau Metallic - Kylie
                            Follow me on IG! @its.christiannn


                              So I've been working on a plan of attack, now that summer is finally here. Decided to first tackle the fun end. Pulled the front valance to clean out the aux fan and get rid of most of the dirt and grease hiding back there.

                              Resprayed the valance with Rustoleum Regal Red and Clear Coat. Seems to be a decent match, not too worried of its a little off since only a small section will be seen under the grills. The Air Dam still needs a second coat, got lots of orange peel since it was too hot the first time I sprayed so had to wetsand it down, waiting for this heat and humidity to pass so I can hit it again.

                              I picked up some Elephant Leather Wax which I saw on an episode of Fast N Loud to soften up the leather seats. Since the heat is here, I'd figured I "massage" the stuff in, let it soak. Probably won't do much visually but hopefully will keep the leather from cracking. I tried Griots Leather Rejuvenator which works pretty good, as well as Griots new 3 in 1 leather care (like the smell of this stuff) Both are good for cleaning but really looking to get the original softness back.

                              In the next few weeks I'll be painting the bumper surround trim pieces. I'll try to do some before and after photos, also my timing belt is way over due, hoping to order those parts soon. There's a lot of "While You Are In There" parts that I need to order so working on the list now.

                              RICHTER MOTOREN

                              1987 e30 325is Zinno - Restoring
                              2004 e46 325xi Alpine - Daily
                              2003 e46 330ci Topaz - Sold
                              1988 e30 325is Zinno - RIP
                              2007 Honda Ody - Family Truckster

                              '87 325is Restoration Build