Please reload

Hands of God

October 8, 2017

Although the car was authenticated by Alpina, I assumed the worst – that the engine was not an actual Alpina lump.  Yeah, the shell was touched by the Hands of God, but the previous owner who piped-up on BaT said an unethical mechanic pilfered many of the precious parts.  I feared the motor suffered that fate.


When the car was finally in my hands, I looked for the four-digit hand-stamped numbers in the block and head.  I found nothing, not knowing where to look.  My fear of the worst grew, but I knew I’d be able to really inspect it once I pulled it out of the body, and I’d figure it out from the serial number on the block.


Every project – at least every project I’ve done – has a pace, a rhythm; it’s own timing.  But taking the engine out stalled.  Removing a 2002 motor is easy, especially on a carbureted car.  A 323i is a bit more complicated and, frankly, I was intimidated as I couldn’t find an English-language manual.  The physically bigger motor, the unfamiliar Bosch K-Jet fuel injection, the lack of instruction on how to go about removing it, and my old-man status making me reluctant to lie on the garage floor under a car – it all added up to a lot of inertia.  Motivation was also lacking because I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with the motor: rebuild it stock or take advantage of advances made since Alpina built it in 1982. 





After months of hoping the motor will remove itself, I decided I had to actually get going.  Late nights in the garage, disconnecting this or that, finally gave way to actually hooking up the cherry-picker and pulling the motor out.  My 16-year-old son helped, much as he did with the Inka 2002 touring, almost ten years earlier.




Once the lump was out of the car, I looked all over the block for a serial number – Alpina or otherwise.  But I couldn’t find one.  Then I asked my friend google where to look, and came upon some stamping below the distributor housing area: “+ C1 +” with a barely legible hand stamped four-digit serial number under it (3568).  No one had to tell me this was not a BMW number; I knew who stamped + C1 + on a block and who used those four-digit numbers.  The dance around the car, screaming “yes” and “it’s a real Alpina motor, touched by the Hands of God” was so much fun I forgot to check the head.  When I finally did, I couldn’t find any numbers, but admittedly had no idea where to look (google wasn’t much help for that).





After a week of wondering if I had a genuine Alpina block but not head, a very helpful fellow C1 owner sent me a picture of the stamping on both head and block (thanks Don!) and I found the Alpina serial number on the head.  Confirmed, both head and block are original from Alpina.




So, I have a motor, touched by the Hands of God, sitting in my garage, probably with a blown head gasket.  What to do with that?  I don’t want to modify the Alpina block or head, so do I undertake a “stock” Alpina rebuild it and put it back?  Store it and build a new block into something bigger, better, and more powerful?  Decisions, decisions.




Please reload

Recent Posts

August 25, 2018

February 8, 2018

December 4, 2017

November 13, 2017

October 18, 2017

October 8, 2017

October 4, 2017

September 24, 2017

Please reload