Restoration doesn't always mean new.
"In this Special Series, I document my complete interior restoration along with some upgrades to CSL specifications.
When restoration projects are taken on, budget planning is often a leading decision making factor when choosing to restore or buy new. Repairing and restoring can be an expensive process often reserved to professionals, in these cases buying new makes more sense.
On this entry, I cover a specific use case where restoration trumps new."
The damn rubbers (!).
I have previously documented how poorly the E46 M3's interior ages and decays, specifically The Phoenix's.
Nothing embodies this more than the easily scratched rubberized black coating that BMW used back then.
It seems they were the inspiration for Frank's Red Hot Sauce: they put that sh*t on everything!
Restoring doesn't always mean new parts.
Whenever restoration projects are taken on, budget planning is often a leading decision making factor when choosing to restore or buy new.
The center console radio mounting bracket (51168268892) and ashtray (51168260312) are sold for around 300$ US + shipping.
Quite frankly a stupid price for something that will rapidly wear out again.
Sure, FCP Euro exists - but replacing every other year, dealing with the downtime and having to live with a rapidly deteriorating interior isn't my cup of tea.
Repairing and restoring can be an expensive process often reserved to professionals, in these cases buying new makes more sense.
Unless you know the right people.
Meet Alex / @clwnshu / TexasZ3.
I virtually met Alex through a few old school BMW M forums and found a few old threads documenting his enthusiast ran trim restoration service specifically for M cars.
He's an multiple M car owner himself and has quite the collection: Z3M, E46 M3, E60 M5, E92 M3, E39 M5, E36 M3, E89 Z4M Coupe amongst others.
You can follow him on Instagram here.
Alex's Trim Restoration Service.
It takes a guy like him to obsess about improving BMW's process - and improve he did.
Alex has a paint supplier that was able to match the E46 M3 ZCP colors very closely.
Superior Technique & Materials.
He has perfected a technique that allows him to recreate the exact finish with much better durability.
He uses much superior materials to ensure the finishes will last much longer. This applies to all other finishes he offers.
That convinced me to give this a shot - along with the reputation for quality he had built over the years.
My Customer Experience.
As documented in the introduction to this Journal Entry, my E46 M3's interior was trash.
- I sent out my trims to Alex on May 23rd from Canada to Texas. Shipping was a tad slow and Alex had a few personal emergencies to take care of.
- He gave me a heads up on June 7th, I paid the PayPal invoice at that time.
- 2 days later, the trims were ready with pictures to boot on June 9th.
- It shipped out on June 10th via FedEx and got here on June 17th.
Alex can pack a box better than I can - he's proud of his work and it shows. It overloaded with foam and was properly wrapped.
The trims came in mint.
The Results.I'll let the ultra close up pictures speak for themselves.
I'll be giving him Alex a hand and bringing it on to EuroConnex as a gratuitous support.
Alex's services extend beyond these brackets and cover all E46 M3 interior painted trims as well as other chassis.