Step 1 of a proper introduction is exchanging names. This coupe's name is Bugs. It was given that moniker by its previous owner who purchased it at the ripe old age of 2 with only 18k miles way back in 2001. She lovingly cared for it from then on with only herself and BMW service ever having sat behind the wheel. It was also always accompanied by its namesake, Bugs Bunny, who sat at the back of the center console near the oddments box.
With its great history and ownership, we knew it probably would not be much of a project. Even so, we were still blown away when it arrived. When my wife first sat down in the interior, she simply said "wow!". She also says she's decided she wants the gray interior in her future laguna seca blue coupe :-).
Typically when a project coupe arrives, I fill up a page or two of my notebook with all the things I notice that can be improved or fixed. I had to be a little more picky with this one. It exhibited most of the common issues we see on every car including sagging glove box, faded badges, slightly worn seat bolster, center console crack, and degrading door handle gaskets. This time my notes included ticky-tack stuff like: dry seat bottoms and faded seat belt buckle buttons (Mother's Back to Black works great on orange too by the way).
Aesthetically it was great, but what about mechanically? It arrived with a large folder full of paperwork. I went through and made notes of services and dates and quickly came to realize that it had been better taken care of than my own coupe. Almost all the work was done at the same BMW dealership these past 15 years too. It was also evident that the last owner was an enthusiast. When the dealer did the seat bushings, the owner brought their own Whalen Bushings. When the dealer did the cooling system, it was a Stewart water pump that went in. I couldn't have done it better myself.
What made this coupe unique, and why my 6 year-old daughter loved it more than any other project coupe, were the hand-painted ///M stripes running around the car. I've never been a stripe fan in any way, and I almost always lean towards originality. When we first saw photos, we looked into what it would take to remove them. Because they were added later, they were on top of the clear coat; my local body shop said they should be able to take them off with no evidence of their existence. That was the plan. The only problem was that they ran under the nice 3M clear bra on the hood which would need to be removed first. Luckily that delayed our decision a little while. Once I had the car in hand, the stripes slowly began to grow on me. About a week later, I told my wife if I was going to keep the car, I would actually leave the stripes as is. While they are not typically my personal style, they just looked so period correct and made the artic silver coupe a little more special.
I'm sorry if I've piqued anyone's interest, but as you may have guessed from the title of the article, this coupe has already found a new home. Just 3 days after it arrived at my house, my 8 year-old son talked me into entering our own coupe into a local Porsche/Audi/VW concours show in the "other" category. While we didn't win any prizes, we did get to meet many coupe fans and converted some others. We even ran into the owner of Project Coupe #1 who had a beautifully restored Beetle at the show. One of the fans was a local name Ramin. He introduced himself, complimented our coupe and told me he had bought a 1999 coupe new and had always regretted selling it. I told him I had actually just taken delivery of a 99 a couple days before. He asked what color it was: artic silver. Interior? gray. Sunroof? yes. CD player? yes. He replied: "that's the exact configuration or my old coupe." While it's not the Cinderella story of a VIN matching his actual coupe, it was a very serendipitous encounter. His next question was, "are you going to sell it?" Yes!
While it would take me another month or so to collect the parts and make the necessary fixes and updates, this coupe was spoken for very fast. We were happy it found such a great new home, and even more happy that it stayed local and will certainly be a future M Coupe Buyers Guide BBQ attendee. If you're interested in a future project coupe, get your name in early :-).