Car of the Month - February 2005

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for February belongs to:
Chris Newton

I inherited my first e12 from my grandfather who had owned it since new. It was a '75 528 (4540384), totally original, not a single piece missing or broken. It even had the original blue felt cloth in the tool kit unused. The paint was a bit average though. I fell in love with the way that these cars drive and was saving to fix the paint and keep it original with the rims that it came with it. Unfortunately, I don't have any decent photo's of the car. One night my friend drove it home from the pub and put it headfirst into a tree at 60 kph.

So i found this red '75 528 that was in pretty sad shape, rusted pretty bad in some spots but overall not a basket case. First the body had all the rust cut out and replaced with new metal. The rear passenger door (left side - RHD) and bootlid were replaced. The bbs front spoiler was already on it. And, a Zender boot spoiler which came with the old bootlid because I couldn't bring myself to drill through a perfect panel. It had a 3.3L with a Solex 4A1 carb when i bought which proved to be reasonably healthy. I replaced the idler arms in the front suspension, brake boosters, fuel tank, dash and instruments from the smashed car. The 4-speed was very noisy so I replaced it with an overdrive 5-speed from an e23 733i which required the tailshaft to be shortened by 90mm.

The windscreens went back in with new silver trims from germany that cost a small fortune. The brake master cylinder was re-sleeved and all brake pads replaced. The wheels that were on the car, some Australian made rims, were sandblasted, polished and powdercoated.

Once back to a complete car, the tappets were adjusted and all fluids replaced along with new points and condenser. Since then, over the past two years it has been good. Occasionally if not warmed up properly, the carb will have a bit of a fit and not provide vacuum for the distributor timing advance (i think), but it sorts itself out after a couple of minutes.

Last weekend (Jan 16 '05), I managed to destroy most of the drivetrain past the gearbox, so it now has a 3.45:1 rather than the original 3.64:1. I can't notice much difference anyhow. The drag link/track rod was badly worn which was replaced at the same time.

I bought a parts car this week which was the doner for the diff & driveshafts, in which the brake master cylinder and brake booster have been rebuilt recently so I think I'll switch the boosters over. Other than that the only other thing I plan on doing is getting a set of 15" e34 rims to replace the 14"x7" rims (Pirelli P6000 - 215/65/R14) because the walls on these tyres are way to high and aren't the right size for the car (speedo is slightly out).

I really like these earlier e12's, i think they are much more pure design, without the styling revisions in '76, and represent a different vintage of BMW. Also, the two stage solex 4-a1 is great fun and can be driven with reasonable economy if needed.

Chris' 528

© 2005, ™