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859 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

This particular detail was a labour of love - It's a car that I bought a few months back after chasing it for over a year.

Around a year ago one of my customers and now good friend (Steve Kings from pcgb) were talking about cars after me completing a detail on his 993RSR. We got onto the subject of concourse and 'barn find' cars. He mentioned that his long time friend had an old E36 M3 stashed away in his Nan's garage somewhere and it was possibly up for sale. I WANTED IT!! The problem was that the owner lived and worked in Switzerland, the car was close by in the UK and Steve was unsure of when he was coming home! After months of snatched international calls and text messages I did still nowhere near own the car. I gave up, bought a Lotus and forgot all about it.

So around 2 months ago I got a call out of the blue from Steve saying that he had just collected his mate from the airport - He was in the UK and had a lot of things to sort out. One of those things was selling the M3

The Car

This car was the E36 2nd generation M3 - the successor to the E30 M3. As I chatted to the owner making arrangements to go and view the M3 it became apparent that his model was a bit tasty. T213 KHE was infact #19/50 of a model called the M3 EVO GT2 (EVO individual) it was produced in the twighlight years of the E36 and was offered in a fixed spec to 50 UK customers only. It is basically a 3.2 litre 321bhp EVO in a unique (at the time) colour called Imola Red. The additions over the 'standard' EVO were as follows:

Anthracite interior trim with seat centre parts, door inserts and grab handles in Red Nappa Leather
Seat side parts and headrests in Anthracite
Sports steering wheel with air bag
Clear Indicators
GTII Spoiler
Front bumper corner extensions
Harmon Kardon Stereo
Electric rear pop-out windows
Side airbags

The best bit was yet to come - the car had covered just 7 thousand miles from new!! The owner had bought the car new - drove it for a few months and clocked up 7230 miles. He returned in 2003 briefly - had a thorough Inspection II service completed at Hartwell BMW in Warrington and added 23 miles before retuning to his job in Switzerland.

I must admit at the time before viewing it I was expecting an absolute mint box - when I went to view it for the first time I was very disappointed indeed.

Upon arrival the car was hastily stashes in a rickety old garage partly covered in a blanket, foam padding over the tailgate and covered in boxes. The passenger side was parked close to the wall leaving enough space along the driver's side to pack it garden furniture and a mountain bike. The front end had been left uncovered and had around 5mm of dust and grime and there was an honest smattering of rat footprints all over the front end. I managed to snatch a view of one side only as to unpack the garage just to view was out of the question really.

After a lot of thought I decided to buy it and hope for the best.

So I made arrangements to collect it. Having been stood so long I just couldn't turn up, reverse it out and drive it away though. All the fluids - engine oil, diff oil, gearbox oil, PAS oil, coolant and fuel would have gone bad. Also all the belts would need to be changed along with the battery and anything else my mechanic could find. I arranged to have it towed away.

I arrived at 0900hrs on a Saturday morning and unpacked the garage and managed to snatch a few pics


Front screen

We had to manually roll the car out and down a very narrow driveway ready to winch it on the trailer

I snatched a shot of the interior too - not the mould forming on the steering wheel

As you can see it was raining at the time. Just great!

In daylight I could get a better look at the car and found nothing major - apart from to N/S front wing had a small dent at the front where a brass lamp on a shelf had fallen and clipped the wing. As we offer Paintless dent removal as a service then I was sure it would come out. Phew I was relieved that the gamble on buying was so far a good idea! The car was dropped off and I hastily gave the car a quick wash (I remembered to take along two buckets etc and the garage hat a jet wash. I was so anxious to get rid of as must dust as possible as it was really eating away at me!

After a few days I got the call from the garage I was waiting for (and hoping nothing more than I had anticipated had been found) the car was ready for collection.

I was really frustrated though - my diary stacked and me with a burning desire to rip into the M3 and get it done. I had to grab a day here and a Saturday there to get it done over a few months. As this wash the case the usual order of the detail was a little muddled, but for the purpose of the write up I have set it out in a regular procedure format.

Once back at Off Your Marks I set about washing it properly

Here is the equipment used

I am currently using Autoglym acid free wheel cleaner and must admit to being mightily impressed with it - great action and very safe, especially important on the polished face EVO rims.

I decided to remove the wheels after doing the first due to awkward tar spotting - plus I wanted the arches clean too. Heres a wheel clean sequence

Misted with the AG and agitated with ***** Brush

Next the wheels were treated with another AG product - Tar and Adhesive remover.

At this point with the wheels rinsed and taken inside, the arches were assessed - not too bad really. I used the trusty Meguiars SDG and a good brush. It has to be noted that Daveb from DW played a major role here which allowed me to get on with a few other bits.


After - note the arch area around the spring looks discoloured due to the fade out of the red paint from manufacture and the base is visible

And the front before

And After

And a shot of arch - head inside looking at upper inner lip

Meanwhile back indoors I cracked on with the alloys, firstly claying with my old favourite sonus mild

And then HD cleanse

I then coated the rims inside and out with Royale

Back outside I then tackled the engine bay - already clean but suffering a little with transport wax and a little grime.

All shuts, trim, badges, seals, sills were agitated by brush and a shot of APC to begin breaking down the grime and tickle away any product residue from the owners waxing sessions years ago!

The next stage was to complete the pre wash - Hyper wash foaming and soaking

After the pre wash soak then it was rinsed again with hyper wash and 45deg water.

I then washed using natural sea sponge and the familiar two buckets.

After washing I checked for any tar spots and removed with AG. After that the car was again pre washed and then I went on to clay - Meguiars Pro - soft.

Nice clean piece

Starting with the roof - just a small section

Then after the small section - years of bonding removed

After the claying was completed then I washed again and then rinsed with pure filtered water

And brought the car inside to dry with the leaf blower

Due to the time available in the rest of the day and me feeling tired - I decided to round off with the interior - generally it was in very clean condition.

I removed the mats and vacuumed out the interior and cleansed all surfaces with APC and disinfectant (not seat though) to remove any bacteria that may have been present from the storage. I also use an air con cleaner that was let off from a canister inside the car and recalculated throughout - no pics of this though.

I then went onto the mats, spraying with APC and scrubbing well

And then wet extracting

I also removed and wet extracted the engine compartment sound insulation!

I also removed and cleaned the pedal rubbers

And the driver's seat mounted fire extinguisher

The seats are a combination of red Nappa leather and suede - yep real suede not alcantara. After vacuuming the seats were lightly brushed

As you will know - suede goes shiny with even moderate use. I was pleased to find that they are absolutely unworn

With the interior done the next step was to rectify and cosmetic trim etc before correction detailing. A common problem with the E36 is the grommet ends of the rear window seals and side window grommets perish. In this case the N/S grommets on the aforementioned had done just that. I put this down to the N/S being parked close to the wall of the garage and also covered with the blanket thus providing poor airflow over the years.

Heres a before to show what I mean

Then removed

And then replaced with new seal

The side pop out window was removed and then the offending trims taken away

I replaced all seals for good measure and then built back up

It was at this point I decided I really wanted to go well above and beyond the regular pre correction prep.

Spoiler remove and split in two to allow thorough polishing on both sides

Lights, indicators, plates and door trims removed

This was also a good time to get our dent guy to remove the wing ding

I removed the Kidney grilles and used Zymöl Metall to remove the light tarnishing

I also removed the front bumper to inspect behind for cleanliness - it was very good as expected

I cleaned it later with APC

So finally I was ready to tackle the paintwork - swirling was very light and I did struggle to pick it up on the camera. That said there were a few scuffs from the storage factors - like the drivers door

Paint thickness all over was healthy and original

Machine polishing was initially dealt with using the Megs yellow polishing pad and 3M EFC leaving a good clarity under the scrutiny of the 3M sun gun and just a little polish hazing evident that would be picked up with the finishing polish later.

I unleashed Dave and his kung-fu grip gorilla hands on the spoiler's undersides

And I carried on with the rest of the car

I managed to get a decent shot of the typical paint condition. The owner had informed me I washed it regularly when he first got it - as he wash detailing unaware then the once common wash practice of bucket and sponge was no doubt responsible!

But it all came good

Whilst on the ramp I removed an engine inspection cover to see if the 'as new' theme continued - I was delighted to find it did!

Anyway, back onto the detail. On the bonnet I popped out the washer jets to allow me to get in there and provide the best correction possible. Here I am using a 3m mini waffle pad

Generally the car was coming out perfect and I was a very happy bunny after the gamble I took on the purchase

So once the car was corrected and finished I began the presentation. I re washed the car and then set about a thorough drying, firstly by leaf blower and then via compressed air and soft brush.

Following this the car was carefully wiped with IPA and then HD cleansed

When the car was LSP ready then I had to decide on what product to use. The choice was a simple one for me - Zymöl Royale Estate Glaze (this has recently gone up in price and now retails at £8118!!)

I then conditioned the rubbers with Zymöl seal

And extraneous plastics with Zymöl vinyl and exhaust with Metall

Glass was cleaned with bohle glass cleaner and under the bonnet was left untouched. This is mainly due to the fact that the car will be entered in some concourse events and I need to due further work replacing any slightly tarnished bolts etc. Will probably do a write up of the engine bay detail when I do it. Looks pretty good for now though.

After a while allowing for the wax sweat I buffed again using field glaze

So that's about it for now - future plans include the callipers and discs and then all the underside. But maybe that's to be done over winter if the diary allows. Or I may sell it to a collector to enjoy further.

Skipping back to the start of the purchase, I spoke to a few people including magazines to find more information on the car. One mag in particular expressed an interest in the work and the car and attended a couple of days ago for the feature shoot

Looking forward to the issue of that!

So heres a few final shots of the car

This one is a nice one - the original tax disc holder with the original 12 month tax disc from new purchase

This is the untouched spare wheel - last inspected in 2003 when the owner briefly returned home to the UK

The unopened first aid pack and cd magazine cover

And heres a selection of random shots

Thanks for reading

Best Wishes


19,654 Posts
Simply stunning post - really enjoyed reading that and the work you've done on it is superb!! I shall return to drool over the pics again at a later stage! :lol:

7,505 Posts
Excellent post Matt... wonderful read and fantastic detail. I used to help a BMW dealer when these were brand new and still quite a car, even today. Out of interest... there was an Automatic Transmission Fluid sticker on the gearbox... Car's a manual, of course. Thought it was an SMG for a moment...

Thats is a sensational job. Always admired those cars and that is a real find:thumb:.

Stunning commitment to get that on the straight and narrow.

Better than new:argie:

918 Posts
What can you say. Every time you see an "OYM" post you know it's going to be an example of one of the best detailers in the world - if not the best ;)
Dito that.

The car looks really good. Friend of mine had a dark green one just like it.

5 stars from me! :thumb:

3,652 Posts
You jammy git. I looked for one of these for ages and then you go and find one like this. Fair play to you mate. Looks stunning.

Dito that.

The car looks really good. Friend of mine had a dark green one just like it.

5 stars from me! :thumb:
Your mate would have had the m3 gt. This one is an m3 evo gtII (Imola Individual), not gt2 as some call it. They only came in this colour. A mate of mine used to have one and i used to love driving it.

520 Posts
Looks great,
I had an E36 M3 Evo a few years ago and I loved it. I kept it clean, but no where near to that standard. Enjoy it, will you be driving it or keeping it tucked away to preserve it's fantastic condition and low mileage?
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