Project 535i update: The many gifts of previous owners

When I went to pick up the 535i from Indianapolis, I knew it was going to need a significant amount of work. Any car that has sat outside for 2+ years will, especially when they are old and German, and with something like 340,000 miles (seriously!) I knew that I was going to find some interesting handiwork. I immediately began tearing into the car in late September with the hope of completing a solid chunk of maintenance before winter gets here; and indeed, it didn’t take long for the issues to come out of the woodwork.

img_1170

 

Continue reading

My Automotive New Year’s Resolution

As 2015 draws to a close, I realize it was not a terribly great year for automotive projects. Attempting the “project daily driver” thing with a high-mileage BMW E39 ended up being a massive failure, and my Renault project didn’t stick around long, although I did successfully rescue it and accomplish everything I set out to do with it. Now that I have a reliable-as-gravity Honda Fit as a daily driver, I’ve thought about what my automotive goals for 2016 should be. And I’ve decided that goal should be to get back out to some track days after my two-plus year absence!

296287_10200174260791637_519719538_n

Continue reading

Project BMW update: I fought the car…

…and the car won. Some time ago, actually. It was mid-September when I finally said “enough is enough” with this rare BMW touring. In my case, realizing I’d be lucky to get $3500 out of a car I had nearly $10k dumped into incentivized me to walk away the next time something went wrong. I continues losing the faith when it was discovered that the behemoth was loo long to fit in the garage of our rented urban cottage…and then stuff happened.

  Continue reading

Project Renault update: It runs!

A few days after dragging the Renault home, I ordered all of the parts for a timing belt refresh from a Renault guru who rebuilds the tensioners himself, and went nuts on spares from RockAuto. Since RockAuto was having a closeout on Renault parts, I stocked up on everything I could; I snagged a $5 water pump and some $25 struts among other dirt-cheap parts. eBay provided a Haynes service manual for 75 cents, while I also ordered a period factory service manual for $30. When the weekend hit and I had everything in hand, I started tearing into the car.

IMG_2429-0

Continue reading

CCG Project: 1987 Renault GTA convertible

For those of you who haven’t read my earlier post on the Renault Encore I had many years ago, I’ve always had a soft spot for the products conceived by the unholy alliance (pun not intended) of AMC and Renault. The one I always wanted, though, was the one-year-only GTA; Renault’s brief attempt at a competitor to the VW GTI, exclusive to the U.S. Since they were only sold for one year before Renault washed their hands of the American market, they’re pretty uncommon, and I never thought I’d actually find one…until I did.

11098637_352711678258410_1235858535_n

Continue reading