From The Driving Seat header car on road


Improved headlamp clarity via DIY, but professional made it right

OWNER: Jeremy Walton

CAR:  2000 BMW Z3 2.0

Mileage: 140,455

Nearly 1000 miles covered in the budget buy Z3 since our bold Summer 2018 purchase. So far it has been a very rewarding seven-month experience, especially for cheap DIY progress.

I picked up the year 2000, 6-cylinder Z3, fitted new rear Kumhos, and used Zed more than I expected for shows and local meets, plus a regular 35-mile commute to a sports club. Lumpy sports ride aside, Z3 and 150 pedigree horses was a much more desirable companion than I expected a £1000 vehicle displaying nearly 140,000 miles could deliver.  

I had never bought a car with such a long ‘to do’ job list, but what to tackle first? Just weeks after I bought the Z3, a practical owner of a classic Jensen delivered an affordable priority list at an informal Somerset pub meet. A snob-free gathering, it displayed tractors through to hot rods, embracing a 1952 Motor Show Aston Martin DB2, plus a brace of upright 1930s Rollers, and all the familiar British classics.

Z3’s obvious downsides were the scarred front spoiler, orange peel bonnet paint and wounded BMW Individual leather interior.  Seating was the area in which Jensen Healey man spotted that two sectors of the driver’s seat needed help beyond the average DIY. The first thing I learned—subsequently reinforced by advice from Gliptone – plus a professional restoration company – was that colouring leather that has lost a top gloss (see picture) is not a permanent fix. It may work short term, but often results in the colouring agent fading away in weeks rather than months. The secondary and equally salient seat setback was that the right-hand lower squab also needed a replacement foam insert.

I took multiple advices on the hazy sectors to the Cosmos Schwarz Metallic painted bonnet. Tried various polishes, treatments such as ubiquitous T-cut and more, including a power tool brush and polish. The only visual improvement came from Autoglym Super Resin Polish and that is a trick of the eye: Autoglym delivers such a shine, that you admire that, rather than the blooming haze! Jensen Healey man spotted that this paint problem demanded professional rectification and, having scanned the eBay ads for numerous Z3 bonnets prices from £150 to £350, I decided to do our first winter and then reconsider 2019 respray/replacements.

Similarly, the front Style 32 7.5 x 17 inch alloys are set for a winter too. A few spokes are flaking, but have passed safety inspection. There are plenty of original BMW alloys around; but, like the bonnet, I’d prefer to examine the goods at an accessible breakers, rather than trust digital pictures from sites over 250 miles away.

Fed up with my slow progress, I attacked leather with cleaners and restorative treats. Three times I returned to the fray and   progressed, but that original craftsmanship deserved more. I lived with it for three months and finally did take it to a recommended local leather specialist, but that’s a later story. Similarly, I expended a lot of energy on the stubbornly grimy headlamps, utilized household window cleaners and a purchased rotary (hand-powered!) cleaning kit.  A professional subsequently restored lamps to bright-eyed showroom readiness. All part of a service/fault rectification operation, agreed prior to purchase.

Meantime I bodged the lower front spoiler and half a dozen paint bubbles, smoothing out some of the parking grazes and applying cheap touch up 352 paint coded as BMW Cosmos black. Results varied from acceptable at a passing glance to mediocre, so that is another Z3 zone that’s looking at 2019 Spring-clean up!

I needed a win for the home team on the DIY front, as the point of buying it was to be more hands-on. I got two startling results: those sound but occasionally flaky front alloys and the rears responded fabulously to a thorough clean plus a very old dose of Wonder Wheels that came from my dustiest garage corner. Then Pete Jenkins at my local Auto Services company casually handed over an unused 1-litre container of Renovo soft-top canvas cleaner with the comment; “Try this, it was recommended for my Z3’s hood.”

My results were amazing, even at the retail price (£33.25 for 1-litre). It took three coats and two dedicated brushes to accomplish a smart black soft top. You have to be careful to mop up any dribbles across glass promptly and be pretty generous with each application. For my faded black hood exhibited under tree storage stains and had suffered assaults with household cleaners, applied via a stiff brush, with predictably poor results.

Hundreds spent at the next stage, but we did get an honourable result on the Individual interior and rectified a glaring air intake fault on the motor to the double whammy benefit of uprated performance and economy.

Jeremy Walton

For the third, and final, part of JW's Z3 story click HERE


Gliptone Leathercare UK: Used for my BMW 635 and Z3’s classy interior leather. Still a Z3 work in progress,

booked into professionals now, but pleased to reorder Gliptone products (2). or Tel: 0161839 2941.

Leather-Forever: Show buy of satisfactory cleaner, not convinced of untried and expensive ([£60 plus)

custom-order colour restorer or Tel: 01886 884569

Alloy wheels: Wonder Wheels, brilliant on three cars 2017-18. Preliminary, thorough water wash and

Meguiars quick wheel detailer. Glass: Meguiars spray, excellent.

Bonnet: Cosmos Schwarz Metallic paint: bloom damage from old accident repair.

Most effective: Autoglym Super Resin Polish, and vigorous wiping! Shiny photographically, but still blemished

Soft Top: Fabric rejuvenated by 3- coats Renovo ( Tel: 01444 443277)

Gorilla Tape patch to non-factory replacement Perspex rear window surround.

OK, but replaced after Renovo application by Evo Stick glue.

Chrome/bright metalwork: German-sourced Autosol efficient at  

Hermetite Good results, Hermetite Metal Brite effective on engine bay brightwork surface rust.

EBay: Scratch repair Cosmos Metallic black touch paint. Masked the worst; but not a glossy match.

Cheap for a cheap car, not for a professional finish.

Auto Services Warminster: Looked after all but my Lotus,

proprietor owns a couple of BMWs including a 2.8 Z3. Tel: 01985   215749.