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We interrupt your regularly scheduled program

October 19, 2017

The motor is out. The rebuild decisions have been made, the path mapped out (mostly, more on that later). It’s time to focus on the body and interior.

While the car languished, waiting for my motivation to remove the motor, I tinkered with the body, interior, engine compartment and truck. For a while, I went back-and-forth on whether to paint the car. The clear coat was peeling off on much of the horizontal surfaces, way beyond patina. It was kinda cool. My wife encouraged me to leave it alone and I was tempted. My prior projects have only been mechanical restorations and I really like a driver-quality car with new mechanics. But the condition is way-worse than driver-quality and I do have a friend with a body shop.

And there were a lot of things I wanted to do to the car; one was take the battery out of the trunk and put it back in the engine compartment where it belongs. Sometime ago, by some owner a while back, the battery was moved to the trunk and the battery tray removed from the engine compartment. If the car wasn’t an Alpina, and just a nicely modded vintage BMW, I’d probably want the battery back in the truck. But, given my philosophy with this project, I wanted to keep it's appearance stock. And the engine compartment needed some other work: wiring was messed up, the compartment was dirty and had a bunch of things added (like a now inoperable cruise-control), and there were several little holes drilled for various little things. And the car had air conditioning, which I don’t want (ironically, I removed much of it while reading Rob Siegel’s articles about installing a/c in his 635csi). These little things were too much for me and I needed a professional to weld up the little holes, replace the battery tray, etc. So, while it’s at the body shop getting that done…..

Once the paint decision was made (some might say preordained), the slippery-slope kicked in. The windshield needs to come out for the paint job, and the dash is cracked…. The car was drilled for USA side markers…. I could go on….

So, my friend Stu, his dog Pickles, his pick-up truck, and a friends trailer made the two-plus hour trek and we pushed the motorless Alpina on the trailer in-between our arguments about politics.

Suddenly I had an empty parking spot in my garage and Stu and his crew had a rough 1982 shell in the shop. Windshield out revealed a bunch of rust in the bottom corner, under the gasket.

Dashboard removal revealed a banged-up heater control panel and JB Weld holding parts of the dash together. Stu already sent the dash off to, where it will be returned to prior glory (I tried to find a good used, crack-free dash – but no such luck).

The gauge cluster, which looked fine installed in the car, once removed, looked like it bobbed across the ocean on the way over from Germany.

Each day, it seems, brings a new revelation.

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