So, what our now mutual customer wanted was a bare bodyshell, repaired as required, and rustproofed for delivery to the garage who were going to build his car for him.
We started by getting absolutely everything stripped off the car and mounting the bare shell on our own custom made spit and repairing what rust we could find in the sills, inner flitch panels, floor and footwells, transport pads etc.
Our custom spit allows 360 degree access to all areas and makes repairs so much easier. We have fitments for both E30 types and E24/28 too. It also makes moving a wheelless shell much easier.
Once the shell was repaired, the customer explained that the other garage weren’t all that keen on welding and asked if we could do some strengthening and weld in a roll cage that had been removed from the other shell.
The cage was delivered and we spent a good part of a morning trying to get it to sit in place. it just wouldn’t go in.
Then I checked the other shell. No sunroof! That’ll be it then. So, after discussion with the customer, who’s vision for the car is to try to make it look as much like a standard 318iS as possible, we shortened the cage and fitted the rear half in place.
We fabricated fillet plates to brace the strut tops to the inner wing, like on the factory convertible and welded these in place.
We shortened the front half of the cage to fit and needed to manufacture some pads for the floor to make it secure. I was concerned that there might be very restricted head room with the front half of the cage in place and suggested to the customer that as it was to be a road legal, road looking, and road useable track day car, it might be better to fit just the rear half cage. Another benefit would be to allow a fully trimmed interior and a full dashboard – without the cage requiring it to be butchered – to be fitted. He was having none of it.
We found some Bilstein coilovers and the customer bought them. At this stage, he thought it “might be easier” if we were to carry on with the build and deliver to the garage, a repaired, rolling shell, with the roll cage fitted.