A few weeks ago, I introduced you to Project Improvvisatore, the E39 Touring I bought a couple of months ago. It’s a project car that needs various things doing to it, and I promised regular updates here. Today, I begin to keep that promise.
As I said last time, the first few things on my to-do list were going to be focused on the car’s appearance. I decided that, if this car was going to be sitting on my driveway for a long time while I chipped away at it, I wanted to enjoy looking at it. So here is what I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks.
Tow bar removal
I have little use for a tow bar. I can’t tow anything of value on my license, tow bars add unnecessary weight to a vehicle, and on top of it all, they look terrible. Agenda item number one was to get it off the E39.
The process sounds complicated, as you need to remove the rear bumper to get it off. But it is actually pretty simple. You remove a few bits of trim, undo a couple of bolts, and the bumper more or less slides right off. With that done, it’s a matter of minutes to undo the fasteners that hold the tow bar in place. I was curious how much the bar actually weighed; using my very scientific bathroom scale, it came in at about 25kg. That’s a good amount of weight to dispose of.
The tow bar mounts to the points where the original bumper shocks were mounted, so you need to get a set of those. I found some on ebay for £15 from someone who had kept them after installing a tow bar on their own E39.
With the bumper off, I used the opportunity to clean everything. Those inaccessible areas are the ones most prone to rust, so when you get the chance, it’s good to wash them. Once that’s done, you slide the bumper back into place and bolt everything back down.
One of the first things Pollitt said to me when I showed him the project car was, ‘Please tell me you’ve removed those gopping GB badges!’ He can sleep easier now, because indeed I have. I can’t understand why anyone uses these things when there are magnets available, but thankfully a blast with the heat gun was all it took to remove them, and the residual glue.
A quick scrub with some soapy water, a dab of polish, and no evidence remains of this crime against aesthetics.
Cleaning up the headlamps
Like all E39s, mine came with the usual hazing and oxidation to the headlamps. Some years ago, I found ChrisFix’s tutorial on restoring headlamps for good, which I put to use on my last E39. It worked incredibly well, and two years after doing it, had shown no signs of fading whatsoever. The headlamps on this car are very easy to remove, so I took them into the garage and started sanding.
This remains a work in progress – the headlamps are prepped, but I’ve not managed to secure a warm, sunny day to shoot them with lacquer yet. So while they remain on my workbench, please enjoy the finished product from my last E39.
As with any project car, I’m in danger of starting a whole bunch of tasks and finishing none of them. I really need to sit down and make a list. But while I haven’t really decided what I’ll be tackling next, I have decided what I’m going to leave alone for now. And that is the interior trim in the boot. Unfortunately, it’s in quite a bad way. The previous owners used it to transport their dog, and I’m guessing that is why some of the trim is missing, and some of it is cracked. I’m not expecting it to be easy to find the bits I need, so I’ll tidy it up as best I can for now and move on.
Stay tuned for another update – when I do decide what’s next, you’ll be the first to know.