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1983 Henna Red 323i

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    1983 Henna Red 323i

    Greetings - haven't posted here before. Found the site when looking at web stats for my own site - saw a few hits coming in, so thought I'd sign up.

    Anyway - I picked up this January 1983 323i at the turn of the year. Its automatic (for the moment) and has an unbelieveable 49k on the clock.

    Am doing as much of the work as is possible myself - including the spraying, which I've never done before. If I do make a mess of it, I'll just pay a pro to re-do it! Heres a bit of my progress so far - hope you enjoy!!

    Heres the car as I got it basically (I'd already colour coded the mirrors at this stage) -

    As I mentioned, first thing I did was colour code the mirrors -

    I used some warm water, with a bit of washing up liquid in it for the wetsanding. I then used 600 grit followed by 1200 grit paper, making sure to keep the paper and mirror very wet!

    So here is the progress of the wetsanding about halfway through - the paint is fairly obviously matt. After this I used the porter cable, and went through Poorboys SSR3, followed by Megs 83 and 80.

    Given the age of the car, the paint was never likely to be in great nick. Its obviously had a paint job on the bottom half - a bad job at that. The side mouldings are covered in overspray, and there were several runs through out it. The bonnet, boot and roof seem to be original though.

    So next task was to see if I could do anything with the bonnet. I'm sure you've all seen similar threads - so you'll know whats to follow!

    Here is the bonnet before anything is done. The photo doesn't look too bad - but it was extremely dull, and slightly on the pinker side of red.

    I'd found that the Megs 83 previously didn't make enough of an impact on the BMW paint, so on advice I'd purchased Poorboys SSR3. The first pass was done with this, on a spotlessly clean white sonus pad.

    Needless to say, it seemed to be having an effect as you can see from the pad in the photo above.

    I followed this up with the Megs 83, and then the Megs 80. A coat of Poorboys sealant was applied, and this was then finished off with the nattys paste wax. The finished result was fantastic in the flesh anyway)

    50/50 with the tape on

    The car came with pinstripes from new. I sort of like them, although I could live without them. Given the fact that I need a new wing, which has been ordered long with a few other little bits, it meant I was going to be left without pinstripes on the wing. So I decided to remove them all.

    The tool I used is called an eraser wheel. You'll pick them up on eBay easily enough.

    So here is the erasser wheel attached to the drill:

    This will cut through your paint if you're not careful! Car needs to be spotless, and only use the flat edge of the disc. Max revs on the drill is 4000rpm. Take your time and the stripes start to clear:

    Make sure to wear a face mask when you're doing this - the wheel sheds a lot of rubber, as you can see from the following pics:

    Wheel after:

    Car After:

    Gave the car a rinse down afterwards - theres a very distinguishable set of lines on both flanks, which was fully expected. What wasn't expected was the see the pin stripes had been masked up for a previous spray job! Not a huge worry though - gives me a bit more of a challenge :D

    Will get up a few more updates when I get the chance!
    Last edited by kdevitt; 10-11-2012, 10:38 PM.
    1990 Diamond Black E30 320i Touring
    1994 Jet Black E36 320i

    Nice looking Henna....definitely a color I'd like to own some day.


      I can tell from the work you've put into it already, this will turn out to be a very nice car. Keep it coming!!

      Originally posted by Janderson
      Properly placed zip ties will hold bridges together.


        My all time favorite color. Great work!!


          Might as well put up a few more updates before I go to bed :D

          The bootlid looks ok in the photo here - but as with most of the other panels, it was very dull.

          I removed the spoiler - leaving a fairly dirty mark underneath! This isn't really an issue, the new spoiler covers more of the lid than the old one.

          The model badge obviously needed to come off to allow me to get the lid done properly. I heated it with a hair dryer, and then used a credit card to remove it. Then I covered the drill holes for the spoiler with tape, and put down a liberal coating of diluted Poorboys general cleaner, leaving it for ten minutes or so to work in.

          The adhesive left behind by the badge was never going to wash off - so out came the eraser wheel again!

          A quick rinse down and a Portercabling and the lid looked alot better.

          That said - it seems the more I do, the more I need to do. I thought the lid had escaped paint in the past, but its not the case. The lid had obviously been painted before - with the 323i badge just being masked up. Theres a quite noticeable lip of paint around where it was.

          Heres the finished result with the spoiler. Have to say I really love this spoiler - had put one on my dads 1986 320i a long time ago, so it was something I definitely wanted.

          Anyhoo - heres the bottom half of the bootlid, the part where the 323i badge used to be specifically....

          So the spoiler had to come back off again - amazing the plastic nuts holding it on were still a bitch to remove, despite them not being fully tightened.

          Above is the results of sanding the whole bootlid at the same pressure - the area under the badge obviously had a lot less paint covering it!

          I stripped all the plastics, locks off etc and sanded down any rough areas, and surface rust. Quite of bit of the paint had bubbled, so I took it down to bare metal.

          I did have a slightly frightening moment when I shut the bootlid, with the lock removed - I thought for a moment I'd never open it again, but a quick prod around opened it back up.

          With a bit more sanding done, and the back of the car masked up I was left with this fine sight.

          I laid down two coats of primer - left overnight and tackled again the following morning!

          Anyhow - after laying down a coat of primer, it was fairly obvious the back of the car was as smooth as a typical Irish out came the filler. Most of the marks in the car were down to my sanding to be honest - I probably went down further than I needed to, but felt I was better off taking out any rust and bubbling paint completely rather than 'smoothing' it off and painting over it.

          I put a skim of filler anywhere where there was an imperfection - which was a substantial enough area.

          I let this try for a few hours and set to work with the sandpaper.

          So its fair to say that this was my first major fuck up. I knew the grade of sandpaper I was using was too fine - it took me hours to get the result above, and it was still, well, a smooth sort of lumpy. I re-primered, and it looked decent - so on I continued.

          I sprayed the inside of the boot - got about three coats put down. Am quite happy with how it turned out - not that anyone will really be seeing it!

          So - I put down several coats on the main part of the panels, I was reasonably happy with how it went.

          Once it dried though, my earlier mistake shone through! There were several high points, so I decided to start sanding it back again.

          I tackled a small section first -

          And then did a bit more - four and a half hours to be precise (excuse the crappy photos - didn't have my own camera with me!)

          Am very happy with the results of the re-sanding - its ultra smooth. Car is covered up now waiting for a bit more primer and paint.

          Finally - managed to test fit one of my new parts! Only a small piece, but looks well imo.

          So, thankfully some progress at last!

          Managed to get the boot lid and rear of the car finished off. It wasn't without trouble though. I re-primed the nearside rear of the car, and the primer reacted with the paint - meaning it was out with the sander again. I took the whole of the area down to clean metal again, and when the etch primer went back on again it was fine.

          So onto something slightly less paint oriented! The car has some trouble starting when its cold, so decided to swap the plugs. I actually have the full service kit for the car, but have just been focused on other stuff. Plugs came out without any hassle - although there were two of these in there:

          Completely different plugs to the other four - not sure if it was causing any problems, but the cold start issue is still there unfortunately!

          So with that done, the other car needed some attention!

          Quick wash

          Last edited by kdevitt; 10-11-2012, 10:41 PM.
          1990 Diamond Black E30 320i Touring
          1994 Jet Black E36 320i


            i like it!


              Beautiful car! Welcome to the site, and keep up the good work :)


                the henna is nice to see as is the restoration process, looking forward to seeing more pictures.

                what are your long term plans for the car?
                Last edited by r75; 02-03-2009, 06:31 PM.


                  I liked the pin stripes. WHats up with the queer corners on your other car?

                  Well, posterity, you will never know what it cost us to preserve your freedom. I only hope that you will make a good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.
                  ~ John Adams ~


                    Amazing job bro.

                    Quick suggestion on the cold startup issue. Check out the fuel pump. The fuel pump COULD be a HUGE problem on that and I'm sure with how old the current fuel pump is (guessing it's never been replaced) that it would also impact your performance on the car greatly. You can't go wrong. Like I said, if it's never been changed before either, you will inevitably have to get it done.
                    '91 318iS

                    Koko's Garage - BMW and Mercedes Specialists
                    651 Mount Auburn St, Cambridge, MA, 02138

                    Selling This Car:


                      Nice car and fun to read up on the progress! Good luck painting the rest :)


                        Wow! For a first timer (painting) you sure are taking your time (crucial step) and doing a kick ass job with it all. Really amazing work!
                        Claus Luthe is my hero.


                          Are you just painting this in your garage or outside? Are you having issues with debris in the finish afterwards? I love how it looks by the way!


                            Welcome! holly crap I like where this is going. Keep the updates coming.
                            New website releasing soon Guten Parts + Service | Facebook | Twitter


                            1998 E36 m3/4/5 1988 325i 1989 325iT


                              Part of the problem with buying a chromie is the chrome... it wasn't really in good condition, so it had to go! Had it been in good condition I would have reconsidered what I was about to do, but it wasn't - pitting, dents and scratches were never going to polish out, and the Tec 1 kit I have looks better with colour coded bumpers imo!

                              Here was the rear bumper as I got it:

                              A sanding disc with 80 grit paper on it had the desired effect

                              I laid down two coats of acid etch primer, lightly sanding between coats

                              Finished photos of the bumper are to come - turned out really well - four coats of colour wet sanded in between. The fly doing its kamikaze dive into the final coat was a bit of a pain, but such is life!

                              The tec 1 apron was originally dolphin grey - condition was quite good, with a few gashes out of it. Sanded it down to get as much of the paint off as possible, which was probably slight overkill.

                              Its since been primered - but there are LOADS of sanding marks. Spent quite a while re-sanding, and its alot better - but still have a good bit of sanding left. Am quickly realising that the painting part is the easy bit...

                              So as you can see - when I got the car, the previous owner had started some work.

                              The primer wasn't covering up a multitude of sins thankfully, although I did do quite a bit of sanding on the offside rear arch to remove bubbled paint and a small bit of surface rust.

                              I removed sections of the arch, just leaving solid metal - so you can see the inner arch in the picture above is missing a bit! I intended welding a new section of arch in myself, but I may just get a pro to do this bit.

                              Anyway - I digress. You may have noticed that all the work I've been doing is on the rear of the car. My idea is to work from the back of the car forwards, and there was really very little left to do at the back.

                              There was a small hole in the bottom of the valance. I filled it with isopon a few weeks back - leaving it to dry until I was ready to paint this section. After sanding down the valance I was delighted with the way it held up! The area filled is just left of centre in the photo below. I also sanded down the area as much as possible.

                              I did the same with the offside rear arch...

                              Once the sanding was done, I masked up above the valance. The idea was to paint the bottom area with stone guard paint - mask off the very bottom area to replicate the factory finish, and then respray the middle area.

                              Here is the rear after the first bit of stone guard went down.

                              And a bit more...

                              The bottom section masked off...

                              More primer down!

                              Before putting down more paint, I took the masking back a few millimetres. The reason for this is that I need the paint I lay down to overlap the primer, otherwise I'd get the telltale line in the finished result. Once the primer was dry I started putting down more Henna Red - I wasn't overly concerned with the finish, especially since the panel is going to be almost completely hidden behind the bumper. That said, I didn't want major runs in the paint, and its nicer to know that it'll be presentable if I ever decide to do away with the Tec 1 kit.

                              With the light fading, the photos aren't great - but you get the idea!!

                              The highlight of the day was getting the rear bumper mounted on the car. It still needs to be compounded, but the finish is quite good regardless. The car has been bumper-less for 10 years - it was actually in storage for 12 years befoe I got my hands on it!

                              Last edited by kdevitt; 10-11-2012, 10:42 PM.
                              1990 Diamond Black E30 320i Touring
                              1994 Jet Black E36 320i