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LK60129 - Part 2: Return to Form

2001 BMW M Coupe in Imola Red over Imola Red

As mentioned in Part 1, this project was less about repairs and more about returning a low mileage S54 to its former glory. Previous owners had made some modifications unbecoming of a 34k mile S54. The transformation over the past few months has been substantial. I find myself in the garage to stare more and more often.

We never did figure out why nearly every lower body panel had been repainted. It wasn't great paint though as the hood had far more imperfections than it should have for what had to have been well less than 34k miles. We first brought it in to the body shop to repaint the hood and bumpers. Once complete, the body shop made us aware that with the hood repainted, it was fairly obvious the passenger side was not quite the same color as the driver side. After our initial regret of having started the process, we decided this coupe was worth it. We told the shop to do whatever they needed to do to make it right. In the end it was well worth it.

The silver, powdercoated wheels just did not do it justice. We were lucky to find a near perfect set of original chrome shadow roadstars. The tires they arrived with were a little too large, so we replaced them with brand new Hankook Ventus V12 Evo2s. Chrome shadow wheel shades can cover a wide spectrum. The set we obtained are on the darker end of the range and look amazing against imola red.

Next up was the front lighting. The ProjectZ II style halo lights were replaced with nice, factory originals, and we removed the Hella fog lights completely. While some of the coupe's modifications may not have been to our taste, I was always more than impressed at the quality of the installations. The fog lights were wired with a factory harness into a factory switch like a Z3 Coupe's fog light controls. Removing panels in order to delete the now extraneous wiring revealed that all the plastic tabs were still intact. I think it may have been the first time I've removed a glove box and not had to patch anything up in order to reinstall it (though I did add a glove box fix kit while it was out).

Next on the to-do list was the audio. We typically put most of our projects back to stock as the audio installers tend to make a mess of things. This coupe was very different. We found the invoice for the components and install showing the total to be over $4,000. As far as I'm concerned, it was money well spent. I threw in my Symphony & Metallica CD just to try it out. This led to my 9 year-old son and I hanging out for over an hour playing every cool song we could think of just to see what it would sound like. It is far and away the best sounding system I've heard in a coupe. The stock speakers were replaced with Focals surrounded by Dynamat, the aftermarket amps are hidden where the factory amp and subwoofer go, and a custom, removable JL subwoofer box is mounted with velcro out of the way in the back corner of the hatch. With the sub box removed, the only evidence of aftermarket audio is the head unit. I generally treat the Project Coupes like I would my own coupe, and I'm typically a stickler for originality. This system was just too good, too well thought out, and too well installed to justify removing. I hope the new owner appreciates it too. We're throwing in a factory CD43, but I think it would be silly to reinstall it.

The rest of the project was more in line with what we're accustomed to: repairing a foggy rear view mirror; replacing door handle gaskets, hatch struts and badges; and cleaning up other odds and ends. It now looks and drives every bit as well as a 34k mile S54 should. I'm also excited to announce it will not be coming on the open market. Mark snagged it early, and it will be on its way back to California very soon.

2001 BMW M Coupe in Imola Red over Imola Red


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