Paul Bracq Trio

I just realized that the 323 is my third car designed by Paul Bracq:

1969 Mercedes 280SL (my Grandfather’s):

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1972 Mercedes 280SE 4.5:

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And the E21:

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Bracq is a French industrial designer and has been called the “father of BMW’s modern design.” In addition to the E21, Mercedes W108, and Pagoda above Bracq was the head of BMW design in the 1970s, penned the BMW Turbo concept car (which gave genesis to the M1), Mercedes 600 Grosser, as well as giving input to the legendary 300SL Gullwing earlier in his career.

The E21 was going to be a pivotal car for BMW. As the follow-up to the iconic 2002 the stakes were high. Like a breakout band’s second album. Bracq gave us BMW design cues that carried over for almost 30 years: quad headlights, smaller and enclosed kidney grilles, interior center console oriented to the driver, and others. With the E21 he gave us the small sports-luxury sedan and brought the small BMW away from the 1602’s economy car roots. Even though the E21 is not universally praised, even among BMW-philes, it’s not the styling that people complain about. The E21 shape has always been one of my favorites. When I was buying my first car(s) in the late 1990’s, a 320i was the first car I drove (it blew hazy blue smoke).

Paul Bracq Trio

E21 Winter 2016 List

List of things to do this Winter:

Finish garage wall! Can’t do much when I have one of the walls under construction. And I need to plan the layout to allow me to work in the Winter. The original M20B23 engine is on an engine stand and more in the way than I expected. COMPLETE!

Complete the wiring for the M20 swap. It’s all there and connected and everything works. I just have to run the sheath over it and plug the metal connectors into the right places on the fuse box plug and C101 plug. I’m only using 7 pins but there are 20+ connections so I have to get it right the first time. I have a few spare connectors but it still makes me nervous. Then I have to mount the C101 connector on the firewall. COMPLETE!

I also need to connect the VDO oil pressure and oil temp sender. Edit: this is not going to be as simple as screwing it on and plugging in some wires. The owner’s original wiring is incomplete. I’ll have to re-do that too, all the way back to the gauges.

 
Then install the cowl cover and the engine swap should be 99.9% complete. COMPLETE!

I should set the idle speed to a more normal 750-800 RPM. It’s still up over 1,000 to keep it from stalling, but the O2 sensor seemed to take care of it. I might have to wait for warmer weather to do this though.

The temp gauge only gets to 1/4 on the gauge. I’m running the standard E30 80* thermostat and E21 fan. With a cold temp the DME richens the fuel mixture. I can adjust the fuel map but probably better to have the temp in the right place before I start tuning. First I’ll try removing the fan (done.). If that doesn’t work I’ll install a 88* thermostat. 

Other work on the engine should be: check the bottom end and make sure the rod bolts are tight and there are no spun bearings, and check for any leaks. COMPLETE! Bearings look great. A few small leaks from loose bolts and hose clamps. 

While I am around the subframe I need to replace the tie rod boots because they are ripped (COMPLETE! What a job to get the inner tie rod off!). And finish rust-proofing and painting the frame rails.

On the inside, I have a full Euro non-A/C center console to install. That will mean removing the radio (maybe a new one?) and reinstalling it in the normal horizontal position (COMPLETE! Center console is installed and looks great!). I need to fix or replace the radio antenna. I need to fix a few pieces of the center console before installing it. And I don’t have any hardware for it (COMPLETE! Hardware was sourced from Lowe’s and it looks great). At the same time I need to fix the heater controls because the temp and the vent knobs don’t move. I’m hoping I don’t break anything. And I want to check the hazard light switch because they are a known to be problematic (I bought a backup to have).   

how I want my interior to look

I don’t have the ECU mounted. It’s just dangling on the floor (COMPLETE! Mounted to the firewall. The glovebox closes too. Need to tidy up some other interior pieces and I’ll be ready). I want to try the Ostrich emulator so I can make tuning changes on the fly. And I have to recalibrate the wideband O2 sensor in the Spring (COMPLETE).

Lastly, I need to modify my battery hold-down tray so the Optima battery fits in it. It was supposed to fit but Optima must have changed the case and the battery tray manufacturer didn’t come out with a new one. 

  

I also installed new hood and trunk BMW emblems (roundels) and new wheel emblems.

Wow that seems like a lot! I’ll probably go down this list in order rather than pick and choose. But it all needs to be done before I can really start driving the car in 2016.

E21 Winter 2016 List