Car of the Month - December 2009

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for December belongs to:
Pierre Chamaa

  • Model: E12 530i

  • Date: 1976

  • Exterior Color: Alpine White with freckles

  • Interior Color: Black leather

  • Engine: 3.2 liter high compression

  • Transmission: Manual 4 speed (for now)

  • Pierre Writes:

    I found this car at Cars for Causes in Santa Paula in December 2005. It looked a lot like a 75 530i I used to own in the late 80s. Huge sway bars and the absence of thermal reactors sealed the deal. It could not understand why someone would donate the car because it ran so well. But it had an electrical drain which explained the marine-style monster main switch under the hood. After a few months of popping the hood to connect and disconnect the battery every time I started or stopped the car I finally traced the drain to a faulty fog lamp relay. The car did not have fog lamps, so go figure. I named it "Phil" because of the license plate. Phil was an ocean car. An unfortunate affect of the salt air is external corrosion. So Phil needs a paint job, which may or may not happen since the cost would likely be more than the car's worth. But I do have a set on Euro bumper that will be put in if I decide to redo the body.

    BUT -- Phil runs great with significantly more power than a typical E12. It feels almost as strong as my E36 M3! It came with a high compression 3.2 liter engine from a 733i. Not sure if it was a Euro car or not, but compression test shows about 208-210 psi across all cylinders. Suspension is upgraded to larger ST bars and urethane bushings.

    The use of a sun shade has prevented dash cracks.

    A transmission up grade from the stock 4-speed to a 5-speed is planned in the near future. I've cannibalized a couple other cars for the parts. I also have a set of ST springs and Bilstein sport shocks waiting to be installed along with the vented disk setup from the later E12. A set of 16 inch open lug BBS wheels will complete the package.

    John Savage
    © 2009, ™