B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Discuss all aspects of Car Care / Detailling etc.
James_G
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B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:31 pm

Intro and Collection

Some of you may recall that I recently bought an E36 based B2.5 in Lagoon Green. Firstly my thanks to "hap" for posting about it in the Alpinas for Sale section here: viewtopic.php?f=57&t=25198

Shortly after that post I had made enquiries via email and left a voicemail but I had heard nothing. It then turned up on eBay some weeks later which "CaesarBob" had kindly pointed out, and that meant that I had another way to get in touch. A viewing was arranged on one Wednesday back in July and I then headed 2 hours down to Somerset to take a look and ultimately ended up buying it.

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A few days later I got the train back there (which turned out to be a really easy journey with just a change at Reading) and drove it home on what was, at the time, the hottest day of the year. Which would have been fine, except that it doesn't have aircon... Here's a few photos I took when I pulled over to give myself a break from the heat:

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In the last eight years this car has done just about 500 miles and, having picked it up, I did 120 miles in 2.5 hrs which I suspect was something of a rude awakening for it. Thankfully the car behaved itself impeccably and once home I parked it up in the garage for a well earned rest.

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Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:45 pm

Initial Assessment

It's been 8 years since I was last in an Alpina and my previous experience with an E46 B3 3.3 hadn't been universally positive. It's detailed in this thread (viewtopic.php?f=50&t=15268) but in short, I couldn't get on with the gearbox. In retrospect the gearbox probably wasn't working optimally at the time, but I promised myself that if I was to get an Alpina again, it would be a manual.

Thankfully this B2.5 is a manual and I've always wanted, but never had, a green car. As a result of these things I was prepared to overlook some issues which, as you are about to see, might have ordinarily given me a reason to walk away. I can say hand on heart that had this car been black I wouldn't have bought it, such is my preference for a nice colour.

So once the sunburn had settled from the drive home I got the car out of the garage and went round it to better understand the overall condition and what I was facing.

Starting at the rear there's a bit of rust showing and the 90s carphone aerial, which I'd referenced in the original sale post previously.

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At the front there's a crack in the front spoiler and one of the fog lights doesn't work

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As per all B2.5s there's the stainless steel exhaust, which sounds superb.

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The car was originally sold new by Dick Lovett BMW of Bristol and then again in January 1995. These are the original plates from 1995 including the previous dialling code for Bristol. Plus a very faded Dick Lovett sticker in the rear window

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There's a bit of rust showing through in some areas, not helped by this car never having been garaged for most of its life. The previous owner was the same person who bought the car in January 1995, he sold it to his business partner in the early 00s and then bought it back from her a few years later and then sold it to me. So for the last 26 years he's either owned it or known about it.

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With having been parked outside and used so infrequently in the last 8 years it is/was full of spiders and cobwebs. These photos are taken before a decent wash, hence this sort of thing:

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As you can see from that last shot, the interior is a light colour, called Parchment I believe. Given the miles it hasn't got any nasty marks to speak of:

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Sadly though the driver's seat has worn through where the seat belt comes over the top.

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And the headlining has shrunk/comes loose too:

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Mileage and some of the face in the economy meter is peeling so the needle gets stuck:

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Other than the Tracker, this Alpine headunit is the only thing that isn't standard on the car. This shot also shows the lack of any aircon.

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And finally, the plaque.

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As we all know, factory built Alpinas usually have just three numbers, my previous E46 B3 was #170 for example and for a while I couldn't work out why there were seven on this. Thankfully the answer seems to be simple, in that the first four digits are the date of conversion (0892 = August 1992) and the last three is the car's sequence number, this being the 26th car converted. Unless anybody knows better.
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

James_G
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:56 pm

The Fixing Starts

One of the first jobs I got on with was sorting the paperwork, which is the usual thing of organising it all in to a file. All very satisfying.

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The other job I wanted to do was to remove the 90s carphone aerial. The carphone has long since gone so it doesn't do anything and I don't like how it looks. And sadly, that is lacquer peel that you can see on the roof, although that was mentioned by the previous owner in the advert.

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That involved pulling some of the interior apart as there was still some cable running up the inside part of the antenna.

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While doing this I noticed the very non OEM wire crimp connector on the earth post and a power wire spliced in to the loom. Originally I thought this might have been something to do with the phone, so I followed the wires back to this metal box that was in the cavity between the metal parcel shelf and the fabric that sits over the top:

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A bit more gentle pulling and out comes the Tracker, which the paperwork tells me was fitted in March 1995. This was a real bonus as I know from previous experience that Tracker (the company) won't allow you to put a subscription through if your Tracker (the object) is over 10 years old. Since that effectively renders it useless I removed it all.

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Since I had the interior apart I pulled the seat base up to give it a quick vacuum. There was surprisingly little dirt there, this is the before:

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And then, once done, put everything back together. That rear headrest proved to be very reluctant to go back in, but I got there after his photo.

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With the internal wiring done, I then got on with removing the aerial, which was effectively glued to the glass. I used a thin snap off hobby knife and it was a lot easier than I expected, so in just a few minutes I had this:

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Followed by the same treatment on the box stuck to the inside, to give this:

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The previous owner had asked me what job I was going to do first and when I told him it would be this aerial he asked if I could send it back to him as a memento. I doubt he expected me to actually do it, so he got a nice surprise when it arrived in the post later that week. He then messaged me via Instagram (@James76G) with his thanks which was good of him.

Finally, I then put all the parts I'd removed from the car together, including the carphone kit speaker that I found under the dash, and popped them on the scales.

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This hasn't turned in to an Alpina Clubsport project (yet!) but it's good to remove some weight even so.
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

James_G
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 1:03 pm

Checking the Brakes

When I test drove the car before buying it I noticed it pulled to the left under braking. It wasn't terrible but it wasn't right either and a quick look at the paperwork told me the car had had a new caliper on the NSF relatively recently, so I decided to get the wheels off and have a look.

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Turns out things aren't as bad as I had thought and I'm pleased to see that the new caliper is a genuine BMW unit. Under the arch is dusty, but there isn't the usual layer of caked on mud that one usually finds. There's lots of surface rust on all the suspension items though, which even got a mention on the last MOT.

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I also wanted to see if there was anything that was causing this mis-alignment:

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My thanks to "richb10touring" who had suggested I removed the wheel arch liners to investigate the state of the lower wings which was good advice as what you are looking at here is about 1kg worth of sand.

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I hoovered that out and then got to work with APC under the arch, followed by some tar remover and a wire brush on the suspension components to leave things looking like this

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With the wheel off I also took to opportunity to clean the barrels and remove plenty of wheel weight residue. Normally the barrels on any car I buy are terrible but this one turned out to still be in reasonable shape behind the dirt.

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The front faces will get a proper go when I give it its first wash.

Round the other side it's a similar story, only with less sand in the lower wing. Both arch liners aren't in the best shape and larger (and very silver) fixings have been used where the original mounting holes have become enlarged.

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While in there I removed the caliper slider pins, this being the side with the original brake caliper. As you can see there was some muck on the ends, but that was quickly dealt with using some wet and dry.

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Once back in I then hit the arch with the same cleaning combo as the other side. Interestingly on both inner wheel arches there is evidence of tyre rub, although I haven't experienced any with the current (recently fitted) tyres.

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I also cleaned up the alloy on this side and then dropped it down from the jacks.

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I then took the chance to take it for a quick spin to check what difference, if any, I'd made to the brakes. After a few high speed stops things are much improved and it pulls up in a straight line, which feels a lot more reassuring. I have new brake pads to go in as part of an upgrade to larger discs, but for now it's good to have them working properly.

Finally, there's a similar age and still original 320i that lives locally so I pulled over to get a photo of them together.

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Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

James_G
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 1:22 pm

Fan fix and more cleaning

On the day I'd picked up the car I'd noticed that the fan wasn't working and indeed the previous owner had handed over this, a typical BMW blower fan resistor aka, a hedgehog.

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Every resource I looked at suggested that this would be fitted under the glovebox, so out that came:

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However, it quickly became obvious that it wasn't there. I'd also read that even when the resistor fails the fan should work on the maximum speed, i.e. with no resistance. I was suspicious since the fan wasn't working at any speed so I removed the scuttle panel by the wipers to investigate.

Once exposed I was able to check the fan and an attempt at a quick spin showed that it was seized. So out that came:

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At this point I could go no further, so got on with a few other jobs. I went in and tidied the boot area, putting all the tools back in their right places. So I went from this:

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To this:

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I had a roadtrip coming up so I checked the spare wheel and found the tyre was at just 10 PSI. So out with the portable inflator and back to something more sensible. This is the original spare tyre so it's no doubt next to useless and I'll look to swap it out sooner rather than later.

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And then put everything back.

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A few days later, a new fan arrived thanks to Amazon Germany for just £51, compared to £171 that BMW want:

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Then, after a little bit of to and fro, it's installed.

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My car doesn't seem to have come with pollen filters from new, but there is a retrofit kit available which I had picked up so it was time to get them fitted:

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Given their size and the lack of space, they have to be inserted before the motor goes in (which I had to remove and re-install) so I suspect these will now be in there for 10 years!

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And then all back together, although the plastic scuttle panel isn't in the best shape and ideally I will replace it.

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All that then gave me a working fan, but only at the maximum speed which means I still have a fan resistor to replace. I did discover it, not under the glovebox but under the steering wheel which meant this:

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The hedgehog that the previous owner supplied is wrong (it's for later cars) so I've got the right one on order, but since I needed the car to be driveable I put everything back as per factory.

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Then, in final preparation I gave everything a good vacuum and spotted the tell tale sign of broken glass in the passenger seat.

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A quick check shows that the passenger side door glass is not original so that's clearly the one that has been broken. I've no idea when it happened, but from the paperwork I see it's on its third alarm system (Original BMW > Scorpion > Current System) so I suspect it's had a troubled life in that respect!
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

Bob
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by Bob » Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:25 pm

James_G wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 12:45 pm
As we all know, factory built Alpinas usually have just three numbers, my previous E46 B3 was #170 for example and for a while I couldn't work out why there were seven on this. Thankfully the answer seems to be simple, in that the first four digits are the date of conversion (0892 = August 1992) and the last three is the car's sequence number, this being the 26th car converted. Unless anybody knows better.
That is the logic I've worked by too, although there are B2.5's with plaque numbers which no longer follow that pattern, such as JB00982 or L0003 (examples below).

I suspect the JB prefixed number is actually the last 7-digits of the BMW VIN but I don't have a build sheet for that car to confirm. I haven't come up with an explanation for the L00** type ones, but had considered that it was for later cars since most are registered 1994 & 95, until I found L0008 is supposed to a 1991(H): I haven't seen a build sheet for that to verify this. The very first B2.5 is supposed to be #0492001 which is rumoured to've been Frank's car initially and is a 1992(J), so was it possible that L0008 was a conversion later in life rather than from new ... who knows?!
There is also a tantalising snippet of a note on the bottom of L0003's build sheet about sorting out dash plaque. So many questions! :doh
Attachments
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#JB00982_06a.jpg
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#JB00982_06a.jpg (101.62 KiB) Viewed 815 times
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#L0003_16a.jpg
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#L0003_16a.jpg (259.08 KiB) Viewed 815 times
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#L0003_16c.jpg
UK-3-003-2_B2-5_COUPE_[E36]_#L0003_16c.jpg (256.51 KiB) Viewed 815 times
B3 3.2 TOURING #062

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Thu Sep 30, 2021 3:54 pm

Thanks Bob, it's very interesting to note the inconsistencies in the numbering.

I had assumed that the car with L prefixes were cars that were converted after the original point of sale. I based this on the recent article in BMW Car magazine where there was an L prefixed car that had been converted after 6 months of life as a regular 325i. That was red though and it might have been the same car you've shown the paperwork for, which seems to suggest it was converted from new.

Re the JB prefix, my car is JB00591 so I think you are right about that being the VIN. Do you know who made up the plaques though because presumably whoever it was should have spotted that rogue going through?
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

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v8 ego
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by v8 ego » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:40 pm

CaesarBob wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:25 pm
I suspect the JB prefixed number is actually the last 7-digits of the BMW VIN
If it's a Lagoon Green coupe then quite possibly - comes back as K** NTU
Regards,

James

2019 BMW M760Li (Wanted in a few years :twisted: )
2017 BMW 530i M-Sport Touring
2012 BMW 520d ED (Gave it back)
2011 BMW 535d GT SE
2008 BMW 730d SE (SOLD)
2007 BMW X5 3.0d SE (SOLD)
2007 D3 Touring 166 (SOLD)
2005 BMW 750i Sport (SOLD)
2005 BMW 730d Sport (SOLD)
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1997 BMW 750iL (SOLD)

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by Bob » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:46 pm

James_G wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 3:54 pm
I had assumed that the car with L prefixes were cars that were converted after the original point of sale. I based this on the recent article in BMW Car magazine where there was an L prefixed car that had been converted after 6 months of life as a regular 325i. That was red though and it might have been the same car you've shown the paperwork for, which seems to suggest it was converted from new.
L0003 is the Red Coupe with c20k miles from BMW Car last month.

There's a couple of others I've heard of with JB*****'s and I've seen half a dozen L00** (ranging from L0001 to L0020).
v8 ego wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:40 pm
CaesarBob wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 2:25 pm
I suspect the JB prefixed number is actually the last 7-digits of the BMW VIN
If it's a Lagoon Green coupe then quite possibly - comes back as K** NTU
That's the one. It's currently festering in Northern Ireland I believe.
B3 3.2 TOURING #062

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by ScooBeeFive » Thu Sep 30, 2021 10:03 pm

This is great James - loved reading that. Look forward to more installments, it's a lovely car.....
Paul

2013 F11 B5 BiTurbo Touring #135 - Alpina Blue
2017 F33 B4S BiTurbo Cabrio #235 - Tanzanite Blue

James_G
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:43 pm

ScooBeeFive wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 10:03 pm
This is great James - loved reading that. Look forward to more installments, it's a lovely car.....
Thanks Paul, I'm glad you like it. A few more updates still to come too.
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:49 pm

I'd mentioned a roadtrip in the previous post and it was this that I was preparing for.

In short my good friend and fellow Alpina owner "Robsouth" is a member of the Goodwood GRRC and there was a driving day in Wales that he was due to attend. He'd got me a space too so that was the target.

So we booked a hotel near the start which is how we ended up at the Holiday Inn (Chester South) on a wet Saturday morning, some 220 miles from home.

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We then met our fellow GRRC event participants at Bangor on Dee racecourse:

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We had a good chat with a few people and then were soon on our way. Part of the defined route took us to the Evo Triangle so I got a few snaps while there. Note average speed camera in the background:

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Despite those cameras the roads are still excellent to drive. A few hours later there's another chance to stop and with it another photo opportunity:

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At about 6pm we arrived at the final stop (no photos) and then it was time to head home. But home is a five hour drive away, so we opted to spend the night at the Holiday Inn Birmingham Airport, which was only 2.5 hours away. Next morning it looks like this, and yes I did leave the sunroof on tilt all night...!

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And then one final fuel stop before arriving back in Surrey:

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When I pull on to the drive at home I notice that, since collecting it five weeks prior, I've done 800 miles.

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By contrast the previous owner had done just 500 miles in 8 years. Despite this the car itself coped with it all brilliantly and proved to be a fantastic companion on all the Welsh B roads, as well as the motorway network to and from Wales. It must have been a bit of a shock for it after such little use, but it's very pleasing to have it perform so well.
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by Jules Sunleu » Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:17 pm

This is a great thread and nice to see an under used car get some love and a new lease of life. Congrats.
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by Toasey » Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:47 pm

Great story. Thanks for posting.
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Re: B2.5 Coupe - A little TLC

Post by James_G » Mon Oct 04, 2021 3:35 pm

Jules Sunleu wrote:
Fri Oct 01, 2021 4:17 pm
This is a great thread and nice to see an under used car get some love and a new lease of life. Congrats.
Toasey wrote:
Sat Oct 02, 2021 1:47 pm
Great story. Thanks for posting.
Thank you both and glad you are enjoying reading about it all.
Currently:
1992 Alpina B2.5 #026, Lagoon Green with Parchment Cloth

Previously:
2013 BMW M135i 3dr, Mineral Grey with Red Leather
2001 Alpina B3 3.3 Coupe #170, Orient Blue with Grey Leather
2006 Z4MC, Silver Grey with Red Leather
2001 E46 330i Sport, Silver with Red Leather
1997 E36 323i SE Touring, Calypso Red with Grey Cloth

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