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145,500 kms.

Finally got around to getting something up on here. In September I bought this little weapon. It's a 1998 E36 328i Coupe in Montreal Blue. Originally a Japan car, but imported and sold by Shelly BMW as an Approved Used Import in 2004. This car clearly has been cherished - it is in fantastic condition. 


I have been fond of the E36 for as long as I can remember. Mum bought one in Hellrot Red to replace our big and unreliable Mitsubishi Pajero when I was about 5 years old. It was a 1996 318i saloon, automatic, with the standard cloth seats. I think the only optional extras it had were power windows, fog lights, and the digital clock.


We had the car about 10 years and did well over 200,000 kms in it. I recall everything falling apart on it: headliner falling down, cloth door cards falling apart, and the clear coat peeling off the front bonnet. But mechanically, it was stupidly reliable. I don't remember it causing her any major issues. My sister, mum, and I took that thing all over the country and it only let us down once (a failed water pump I think). Finally, at about 300,000 kms, it had some major engine issue which wasn't worth fixing. Anyway, that car was my first taste of the BMW world, namely the E36, and I absolutely loved it. I remember cleaning it just about every weekend because mum would let me drive it around to the back of the house where the hose was. 


Back to the 328i. When it came up for sale I instantly fell in love with it. The m contours looked epic and were a huge upgrade over the stock 16 inch wheels. The test drive only confirmed my love. The straight six sounded mean, especially with the golf tee mod. And the steering felt massively better than the steering box in my 540i. So, I bought it. And I love it. And best of all, it didn't have any clear coat peeling, or headliner sag, or door cards falling apart.

Temporary two-car garage...IMG-1123.thumb.jpg.d036682476ed8095ef3f2d7c0fa6b529.jpg

It certainly wouldn't beat the 540i on a drag strip, but that isn't the point. It's a cliche, but the 328i is a far more involved driving experience. While the 540i was comfortable and muscular, the 328i is peppy and engaging. 

Edited by BozzaFC
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146,139 kms.

When I got the car it was due for an oil change. I got Auto 38 to give it a good going over:

  • oil and filter change
  • coolant change (genuine BMW)
  • brake fluid
  • power steering fluid
  • fix an issue with the aftermarket alarm (turned out to be just a blown fuse)

Little did the E36 know, that after doing less than 3000kms over the past year, it would be doing nearly double that over the next couple months.

My girlfriend and I went to Hawke's Bay to work over summer. Over the summer, we did two trips to Auckland, a trip back to Wellington, a trip to Whanganui, and plenty of cruising around Hawke's Bay. During those trips, the car did not use a drop of oil, nor did it even stutter. The only issues it developed was a noisy AC pulley and a slightly noisy RF wheel bearing. It was a great opportunity to get to know the car, and I feel I know it really well now.

A few images...

One of our first stops: Te Mata Peak


Made it to AucklandIMG-1424.thumb.jpg.4880c21c520999d05390be09dada84df.jpg

One of Hawke's Bay's many beachesIMG-1408.thumb.jpg.9f3e61342482182cb4673b126f0a64fa.jpg

Waiting patiently outside the Art Deco Cafe in Napier (highly recommend)IMG-1422.thumb.jpg.e6e5d5eb4ac728539cccfd718c12be3c.jpg

Doing some off-roading out to the Shine Falls waterfallIMG-1343.thumb.jpg.d1432de39ff3f0f3f59f5deeb6a2fa28.jpg


The car handled everything we threw at it without breaking a sweat. Not bad for a 22 year old car I bought only a few weeks before.

Edited by BozzaFC
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151,500 kms.

After over 5,000 kms and a couple months, the car was due for a wash. To thank it for all its hard work, I spent a few days detailing it. Pretty happy with how it came out, considering I'm a novice detailer and used just my hands.





For this I used mostly Autoglym products: shampoo, clay bar, polish, ceramic coating. And plenty of elbow grease and man hours. A Karcher carpet cleaner for the carpets, and some leather cleaner and conditioner on the seats and steering wheel.

At the same time I refreshed the cabin and air filters, and boot struts.

I had no idea changing a cabin filter could be so difficult. For anyone who hasn't done one of these on an E36, the cabin filter lives under the steering wheel, and requires breaking in two locations just to fit it in place. The instructions I followed said this was a 15 minute job - I lost count once it got to an hour. 


Edited by BozzaFC
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152,186 kms.

Upon returning to Wellington she was due for a WOF. Took her to VTNZ and she passed with a clean sheet. Then, into Auto 38 for new belts and all new pulleys as they were all pretty old anyway. The thermostat housing also had a slow leak, so that too was replaced. Going back in this week for new front wheel bearings. 

Took it to the Brit and Euro Car Show last weekend. A really cool day with an awesome selection of cars. Will definitely be attending again. [On the way to the show I found myself next to a souped-up classic Mini with a roll cage and violently loud exhaust at a red light. It brought me great joy to put it in my rear view mirror ;)] IMG-1925.JPG.a60872bba86bcae4a9fe4b2f70128a0f.JPGIMG-1926.JPG.eb65181bb88909df75738a6572cf9182.JPG

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Looking good mate, will you be making the trip north to Tokaanu this year? 


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Hey Ben, unfortunately not. I have something I need to be in Wellington for on the Saturday ☹️

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beautiful car! 

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