One of the surprises I encountered during the damage assessment of my newly acquired BMW E34 M5 was the extent of work required to restore the exterior of the car. Not only had this car had its mirrors and bumpers stolen but it had sat outside for an extended period of time exposing it to the elements. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words:
The extent of the damage required a full exterior painting. Since the bumpers were already off the car, the labor would be reduced by a small amount making the decision to repaint more palatable.
Properly repainting a car is a detailed process. The right approach requires removing all trim components, lighting, and door handles. Beyond giving the body shop tech proper access to the car’s surface, striping the car also allows you to replace and restore all trim components which generally need significant attention. The first step after stripping the car of attached components is beginning the paint prep and bondo work.
Paint prep and bondo requires a keen eye and lots of sanding. As you can see from the prep photos, there wasn’t a panel on this car that would go untouched.
While the paint and prep process was taking place, there was other work to do in terms of sourcing parts. One of the first orders of business was replacing cracked grill inserts. The 1993 E34’s featured narrow kidney grills necessitating a longer headlamp / grill insert that could not be sourced from my 525i. Second, the door handle surrounds were brittle and all trim clips needed replacing. A few simple calls to Bavarian Autosport solved these sourcing challenges for me.
While all remaining trim components were off the car (including the door handles) it presented the perfect opportunity to refinish them in OEM spec flat black. I was excited about this part as no matter how many trim restore solutions I’ve tried in my life, I was always left a little disappointed.
Other external decisions that had to be made involved a bumper replacement strategy & wheel selection. Unlike my inability to envision the interior restoration, I knew exactly what this E34 would look like with a glossy shine and the various external component selections I had made.