Car of the Month - July 2008

Cars of the Month

The Car of the Month for July belongs to:
Ron Perry

  • Model: E12 530i

  • Date: 1977

  • Exterior Color: Sierra Beige

  • The Overview
    In January, 2008 I made it a point to go the Irvine Car Show (Southern California) where BMWs were the Featured Marque. My intention was to recruit future cars of the Month. Ron Perry and Joe Cain were there with arguably the world's most incredible E12s (in their own way).

    This month's car has been around and owned by at least a few FirstFives Registars, and a couple appearances in other publications. Ron was the owner at the time of submission, but at this posting, title has been transferred once again.

    Brief History

  • Initial owner was an automotive accessory manufacturer who specialized in off-road lighting somewhere near the Flagstaff Arizona area; he was also an avid car collector. Since he had several other vehicles to drive, this gem spent many years garaged, well cared for and accumulated less than 50K miles.

  • Sold to a buyer in Redondo Beach, California.

  • Sold to Eric Quon, Anaheim, California. Eric took took it to some local gatherings. Car made it's first Bimmer Magazine appearance with the E39 530i.

  • Sold to Jeff Fleischer, Northridge, California. Being a professional fabricator (and Bona-fide gearhead), Jeff did many upgrades and modifications, some of which will be detailed later.

  • Sold to Ron Perry, Newport Beach, California. Ron did his own upgrades and being a professional marketer got the car more exposure by entering a number of car shows. Second Bimmer Magazine appearance.

  • Sold to a buyer in Atlanta, Georgia.

  • Ron Writes:

    I first fell in love with the car in 2002 where I saw it for the first time at the BMWCCA's clean car contest where I met Jeff and begged him to sell me the car should he ever decide to sell it. Jeff and I became fast friends and since my e28 euro M5 was in the limelight at that moment, I was always first to have Jeff and his beautiful e12 invited too! We shared some great times with our cars at Oktoberfest, the Monterey Festorics, 5er Fest, and some local events. Jeff finally decided to relinquish the car in 2005 and I was the first to be called. Unfortunately at that time I was full of cars and didn't have the room. Moving forward to 2006, I had sold a chunk of my fleet and decided to pursue the car again as Jeff had said he would just hold onto it so we finally made it happen and Jeff delivered the car to me the next morning on his car hauler. What an exciting day!!!

    I then went on my quest to "personalize" the car to my taste, quickly aquiring a set of beat up Scheel seats. I took the seats to my upholstery shop and spent 45 minutes matching the original leather. I then installed euro headlights, rear headrests, and a set of proper sized tires.

    Then came the quest to make the car as clean and if not cleaner than the M5. Believe it or not I spent over 100 hours taking the car to the next level and did finally accomplish my original win the coveted "Concours" division at the Concorso Italiano at the Festorics weekend, beating out a nut and bolt restoration 2002 Turbo. Six months later, I did the same at the concours at San Diego, this time beating out another 2002 Turbo that was also a nut and bolt resto!

    Last October, I was approached by a free lance writer that was interested in doing an aritcle on the car for Bimmer Magazine and I jumped at the chance.

    Moving forward, as my sickness for BMWs grows worse, I have now moved into the E9 world, aquiring the much sought after CSL (yeah another barn find). That story will continue as the project evolves, but I was forced to sell the e12. It is now in the hands of a collector from Atlanta, whom will love the car as I did. It was hard to say goodbye, but knowing the new owner I was confident the old girl wouldn't end up tattered behind a barn with weed growing up through her chassis.

    Ron Perry
    Newport Beach, Ca.

    The first alteration was the Dealership's addition of the BBS front spoiler. Ron added the Euro headlamps and changed the vehicle license plates.

    The front turn signals are Jeff's interpretation of "Euro lenses". He made them out of textured plastic from overhead flourescent light covers and painted them with model airplane translucent enamel.

    Jeff added the passenger side electric mirror that he got from a Bavaria. He wired the mirror to work through an original Bavaria toggle switch, then it could operated by the E12 joystick.

    Thermal reactors were replaced with 1973 Bavaria exhaust manifolds, the cooling system was replaced with an E28 radiator, thermostadt housing and hoses. The original cylinder head was found to have a minor crack, so a 1985 M30B34 version sits atop today. (Look closely, are those E24 exhaust heat shields?). Motor dressing includes the M30B35 AFM cover and stainless steel acorn nuts over the shock towers.

    Ron replaced the original seats with refreshened Scheels, he moved the head rests to the back seats. Jeff added the Motorsport horn button, and performed a 5-speed conversion from the stock 4-speed manual transmission.

    The rear seats are original. Note the relocated head rests.

    Original milage on the vehicle as it sat at Earl Warren Fairgrounds, BimmerFest 2008.

    Scheel seats over original carpet.

    Headliner is clean and original.

    Ashray chrome offers excellent visual highlights against the beige interior.

    Arm rests and side panels are like new.

    Nobody wants to claim credit for upgrading the rear deck. Presumably, this was done by the original owner.

    Jeff found some used Euro bumpers, had them stripped and re-chromed.

    Jeff and Ron had many hours of elbow-grease activity. Every under carrage component was hand cleaned.

    They put their share of effort into the exterior too.

    Jeff added the rear BBS spoiler (with custom non-intrusive clips), Ron had it painted black. Jeff bought and refinished the Alpina wheels, Ron refitted them with stock diameter tires.

    For those of us who know E12s, we can see how this once original car has become a hybrid of "The Best Of Old School" offerings, but just enough of the modern perfomances and comforts. She is the Fantastic result of two E12 Fanatics who just can't help themselves.

    John Savage
    © 2008, ™