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My Coupe / 18

October 6th, 2012 Comments off

1/18 BMW M Coupe Model

I bought my first 1:18 scale model car way back in 3rd grade. Since then my collection has grown quite a bit including several dealer edition M Coupes. It has always felt like something was missing though. I have found that the problem of having a rare color combination is that model companies will never build one like yours. I was very aware that I did not possess the skills to get it done. Thus began a long search for a 1:18 scale steel gray over imola red M Coupe.

Custom 1/18 BMW M Coupe
Custom 1/18 BMW M Coupe
Custom 1/18 BMW M Coupe

I first crossed paths with this coupe way back on May 15, 2011 when Jeremy posted it to his Coupe A Day site; I was immediately smitten. It had been built by model builder 3er_driver and posted on modelcarforum.de (the build thread). He painted the model sterling gray, painted the seats and door panels imola red, added some black interior carpet, and put it on 19″ BBS wheels. I’m not sure what color is was originally, but it appears to have had full black interior, so it may have been silver? It was not perfect, but it was as close as I’d come to a replica of my car.

In December, I randomly came across it’s listing on Ebay.de. The seller did not show that he was willing to ship to the U.S., so I just put it in my watch list and stared longingly at it as it went to someone else. Lucky for me, it happened to have been purchased by an acquaintance of mine from Israel who posted his purchase on Z3MCoupe.com. I immediately put my name out there in case he ever decided to resell it.

After a few emails back and forth over the months, the model’s new owner, Sasha, said he was willing to let it go. He also asked if I’d be interested in having him switch out the interior for a full two-tone imola interior from a donor car and switch the wheels back to roadstars. Ummm…YES!

Thus began customization #2. Sasha dissected it back to it’s basic components, pulled the interior and roadstars off another model, and reassembled it. Lucky for me he got really in to the project. Not only did he do the agreed upon modifications, but he printed off a matching 1/18 scale Colorado license plate and did a 1/18 scale engine swap. Yes, my new model has an S54! He came across one on Ebay randomly, painted it to match and made it fit.

1/18 BMW M Coupe Model     1/18 BMW M Coupe Model     1/18 BMW M Coupe Model     1/18/ BMW M Coupe Model     1/18/ BMW M Coupe Model     1/18/ BMW M Coupe Model

I told my wife on the scale of things I’ve purchased in my life, the list of favorites goes something like this: her engagement ring, my full size coupe, our house, my last computer, this model. Sasha’s daily progress photos just got me more and more excited. I even mailed him an empty dealer edition box just to make sure it had a safe trip, and it arrived after its long trip from Israel safe and sound. I know it’s not exactly steel gray, but only I notice that :). What more could an M Coupe fanatic want?

1/18 BMW M Coupe Models

Categories: Coupe Stuff Tags: , ,

Small Scale Fun

April 18th, 2012 1 comment

Majorette BMW M Coupe

A new coupe model was added to my collection today but not for display. One of my 4 year-old’s favorite activities is playing cars (I started him very young) :). In order to join in, I need to make sure I maintain a respectable fleet of Hotwheels. Hence my long search for an M Coupe to add to my 1:64 scale garage. As Hotwheels, Matchbox, nor any other U.S. brand of toy cars makes an M Coupe, I had to look elsewhere. I eventually discovered the brand Majorette in France. I’ve seen a couple of their cars on Ebay but never in a U.S. store.

It’s listed as a Z3 Coupe, but it’s most definitely a European M Coupe. It has the M front bumper, side grills, quad exhaust, and the Euro license plate on the hatch. I’ve seen them in black, navy blue (?), red, pale mint green, and silver. Being me, I had to seek out the hardest one to find: silver. They also had different style wheels available. Some of the older styles look terrible, so I was after a silver one with the most modern looking wheels. I saw them come up for sale from time to time, but always with overseas shipping costs so ridiculous that I could not justify the expense for what is basically a $1 Hotwheels. Needless to say, it was a multi-year search that only came to fruition today. I must say I’m very happy with my purchase. The quality is pretty decent, and my son was very excited to discover that the hatch opens.

Majorette BMW M Coupe

Several years ago, my son was given a pretty amazing, wooden town by a neighbor that he spends hours playing with (and I have as well). After nap time this afternoon, we were excited to take the new coupe for a spin. He recently evicted me from the very spacious fire station into a smaller ranch home with only a single car garage. With the tight quarters, I had no choice but to relegate my Ferraris 288 GTO and FF out to the yard. I think the M Coupe will be my daily driver/around-town car with my FF’s AWD being used in poor weather and my mint, pearl white 288 GTO for Sunday drives and car shows.

Majorette BMW M Coupe

Excited to show off my new ride, we put together a little BMW get together at the local mechanic/gas station/Starbucks. Two E90 M3s showed up (one being Todd’s) as well as Colby in his alpine white over imola M Roadster. Everyone seemed to like the new coupe. The meet was interrupted by Mom calling us upstairs for dinner, so the coupe is parked back in the garage until tomorrow. 1:64 scale life is eerily similar to my full size one :).

Hotwheels BMW Meet

Hotwheels BMW Meet

Hotwheels BMW Meet

Hotwheels BMW Meet

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SOLD: Borbet Type E Wheels with Bridgestone Blizzak Snow Tires

September 24th, 2011 Comments off

When I bought my coupe, I also inherited a slightly used set of Borbet Type E wheels with Bridgestone Blizzak snow tires. The wheels are in great shape overall with no rash. The faces and lips have some very small surface scratches and one of the rear wheels has a small chip from tire installation I assume. The rear wheels even have 2.5″ lips. The tires have a lot of life left as can be seen in the photos. I’ve decided after a year that I’ll probably never use them as my coupe gets tucked into my garage for winter, and I like the roadstars.

The wheels are Borbet Type E:
Front: 817 et40
Rear: 9.517 et17

The tires are Bridgestone Blizzak LM-22 in stock sizes:
Front: 225-45-r17 91H
Rear: 245-40-r17 91H

I’ve actually never mounted them since I’ve had them and had trouble finding photos of them on any other Z3Ms. I think this is a relatively rare fitment. Colby put them on his M Roadster for a snowy day or two this spring while in between daily drivers. I’ve also included one photo from a previous owner of my coupe.

I’m looking to get $650 plus shipping or best offer. Email me at jon@mcoupebuyersguide.com.

Click on any of the photos below to see them larger. I think the wheels cleaned up pretty nice.

M Coupe Paintings

March 26th, 2011 4 comments

M Coupe Painting

Almost exactly two years ago, “2000mkoop” on Bimmerforums had a very talented friend of his, and College for Creative Studies graduate, create a painting of his M Coupe. As you could probably guess from the fanatical nature of the M Coupe community, everyone else wanted one too. His friend eventually opened an Ebay store where he sold paintings of many cars including the M Coupe. Eventually there were 5 different M Coupe paintings available. You can view three of the other ones on Jeremy’s Coupe A Day site.

My favorite, and the one my wife bought me for Christmas 2009, is the profile shot. I liked it the best because it looks like it’s steel gray and has stepped-lip wheels which I someday hope to have on my coupe. It has been hanging in my office just to the right of my computer monitor for the past year and a half to inspire me :). You know it’s good because it replaced the McLaren F1 LM poster you see behind me and not many things could do that.

These paintings are very well done and, as someone on the forums described, “inside the house worthy”. Here is a description of the process from the painter himself:

“The paintings are created using various techniques that I have learned in the automotive design field while also using traditional painting techniques. Airbrushing is used to establish basic gradations but is not solely used due to the cheap and fuzzy look that results. I use special oil pencils that are blended with various methods to maintain an Industrial artistic quality. The reason I do not paint much with traditional brushes is that they tend to make the lines on cars look lazy, eliminating the line tension that exists on the original car design. The quick gestures of the pencil I far prefer to the slow lazy look of a paint brush. There is no silk screen process. The final work is sealed with a high quality clear coat that is fade resistant and gives the painting a deep oil painting look.”

I would have shared this amazing item of “coupe stuff” with everyone earlier, but the painter’s online store was empty for over a year. I didn’t want to flaunt my goods and not tell you where to get your own. The good news is he is back! He currently has two M Coupe paintings listed on Ebay, but I’m pretty sure he would be willing to do the other ones as well. The best part is, each of these paintings is original (not prints) and signed by the artist. The very best part is they cost <$100 (edit: looks like they just went up). I’ve also heard he’s willing to do one-off, commissioned paintings for a little more if you just send him a photo of your car.

When I purchased mine, he had them available as rolled canvas or already box framed. I got the box framed one, so it would be ready for hanging despite the higher cost and additional shipping. It now appears they all come only on rolled canvases.

I think this is a must have item for any coupe fanatic. I’d love to sometime pick up the rear view painting of what also looks like a steel gray coupe to add to my original art collection.

Categories: Coupe Stuff Tags: ,

Picking an M Coupe Car Cover

November 28th, 2010 8 comments
BMW M Coupe Indoor Car Cover

BMW M Coupe Indoor Car Cover - Photo:

As you know from my recent Winterization article, I’ve been preparing my coupe for the long winter. Obviously the best protection is a garage, but even inside there are a lot of things that can hurt your baby. One of the most important parts of protecting your M Coupe while parked is a quality car cover. It will protect your coupe from dust, dings (important to me with two little kids), and moisture build-up (not as important in CO). If you’re in a situation where you need to leave your coupe parked outside, a quality cover is even more important. You will need a cover that can also protect your coupe from the acid rain, tree sap, and bird droppings.

The BMW M Coupe as I am sure you are well aware has a rather unique shape. Off the shelf and semi-custom covers will not fit well at all. The danger of ill-fitting car covers is the additional movement of the cover against the paint. Covers that fit tightly to the car will have minimal movement even in wind. I quickly came to the conclusion that a custom car cover was the only way to go.

The next step in choosing the right cover is selecting your fabric. Each offers different advantages and disadvantages. The primary things I looked for in my selection were:

  • Price
    Custom covers for the coupe seem to range from ~$150 up to $400+
  • Dust Protection
    Dust does not seem like it would be a big deal, but some dusts can be more harmful to your clearcoat than others. The primary reason to protect from dust though is to keep you car looking perfect without having to do additional washing or detailing. It is these extra activities on the surface of you car that are most likely to cause swirl marks on your paint.
  • Ding Protection
    My garage is full of tools, lawn tools and kids toys; each of which could do some damage to my coupe. Ding protection often comes at the cost of a larger, thicker cover however.
  • Breathability
    If a material is not breathable, it will trap moisture and could cause rust.
  • Size/Ease of Use
    This describes how easily the material is to pack, and how small the final packed cover is. This is an important attribute if you will use your cover often. It also may allow you to wash the cover in a home washing machine if necessary rather than a commercial laundry mat or just rinsing it off while on the car.
  • Interior Softness
    If you plan to use your cover frequently, you want to find a cover with optimal softness as it will be less harsh on the paint when putting it on and taking it off.
  • Looks
    I look for any excuse I can to go out in the garage and stare at my coupe. If it has to be covered, I at least want something that will fit close enough to still allow me to appreciate the curves and be somewhat exciting to see parked over in the corner.
  • Outdoor Use
    In a pinch, could I also use it as a temporary outdoor cover?

To cover all bases, I also want to point out some of the attributes to look for in an outdoor cover besides those above.

  • Water Resistance
    You absolutely do not want to use a “waterproof” material to cover your coupe. Waterproof materials will trap moisture and could cause rust. You want to find the most water resistant material you can that still maintains good breathability.
  • UV Protection
    The sun’s UV Rays can damage a vehicle’s interior, finish, and also the car cover material. If you live in a climate that could experience extreme sun conditions, this is a very important attribute in cover selection.
  • Resistance to Elements
    Parking your coupe outside leaves it exposed to things such as acid rain, bird droppings, tree sap and many other things that can damage your paint finish.

In my search, the company that continued to come up in all my searches was CoverCraft, so much of this article will be based on their products. Quite a few other companies use many of the same fabrics in their own products, and I’ve heard equally good things about California Car Cover and Custom Car Covers. Each of these companies provides a pretty nice fabric guide comparing their products that you can find here:

Here are my car cover finalists and how I ended up with the one I did.

  • BMW OEM Noah Cover (Indoor/Outdoor)
    You really cannot go wrong with OEM accessories for a potential collector car. The Noah fabric is also known to be an excellent indoor/outdoor fabric that is good at almost everything listed above but does not specialize in one particular area. It is a taupe cover with BMW printed on the hood and a clear license plate window on the back. Some may not want to advertise that they have a BMW parked under the cover if parked out side. The license plate window could be especially useful though if you plan to park it at an airport or military base where security may go around checking license plates. It will keep them from having to lift the back of your cover to do it. The other nice thing is that you do not have to wait a couple weeks to have your cover custom made. You can go to any BMW dealer and pick one up for $174, and if it’s not in stock it should arrive in 3-5 days.
  • CoverCraft Dustop (Indoor Only)
    This cover checks almost all the boxes in the attributes I was looking for including being excellent in dust and ding protection. It’s major markdown came from it only being available in tan. Not very exciting. If you don’t care about the color, it’s a great choice for indoor use. You can find it for ~$190 on Ebay.
  • CoverCraft Noah (Indoor/Outdoor)
    Made with the same fabric as the OEM cover, but in a silver-gray color and without BMW printed on the hood nor a license plate window. Typically costs a little more than OEM too at just under $200 on Ebay.
  • CoverCraft Evolution (Indoor/Outdoor)
    This is one of the newer fabrics out there and it seems to do everything well for a lower price. I read several reviews that they like it better than the Noah. It’s available in tan, gray or blue and is rated highest in ding protection. This extra protection comes at the expense of size as it’s also one of the largest. It’s available for ~$180 on Ebay.
  • CoverCraft WeatherShield HP (Outdoor)
    The WeatherShield HP fabric is exclusive to CoverCraft. It’s the ultimate outdoor cover with high protection ratings in just about every category. It also manages to be thin and pack up small. It’s also available in black, red, yellow, blue, green and light blue. The only downside is it’s lack of ding protection and high price. It’s available on Ebay for ~$265. Browsing the CoverCraft website I noticed they still had their previous generation WeatherShield fabric (in black) on clearance which has many of the same benefits of the new generation. They quoted me a price of $190 for an M Coupe.
  • CoverCraft Form-Fit (Indoor)
    The Form-Fit covers are made for the garage queens. They are made of the very softest materials and fit like a glove. When you have to specify if you own an M Coupe or Z3 Coupe, you know you’re getting a nice tight cover. They also fold down to next to nothing and are available in black, charcoal gray, blue, silver gray, hunter green, and red. It is the ultimate indoor cover with it’s only drawbacks being lesser ding protection and large price tag. The ones I priced out were around $325.
BMW M Coupe Indoor Car Cover

Rear View

So which did I decide on? None of the above. My heart has always belonged to the highly sought after BMW OEM Indoor Cover shown above (Part No 032 300 410). This ultimate M Coupe accessory was sold in limited quantity only in Europe. They were produced in Italy very similar to the form-fit cover described above but with an M Coupe logo printed on the hood and came with a storage bag and steering wheel cover also with the M Coupe logo. I remember seeing the first photos of this cover all the way back in 2002 in this Bimmerfest thread and have wanted one every since. The 20 covers that made it to the states were hand carried here by the owner of LeatherZ; and, as I’m sure you could guess, they trade hands at astronomical prices. Was I able to track one of these down? Also a No.

BMW M Coupe Indoor Car Cover

Hood Logo

A couple years ago, an Italian Bimmerforums member qpbullet, put together a group buy to have another run of these covers made by the company CoverCar in Italy. These covers are replicas of the originals down to the steering wheel cover. The only difference is the absence of the small white “BMW M” above the right taillight. When qpbullet posted in a thread last week that he had a couple extra ones, I jumped at the opportunity. My cover should be headed my way in the next few days. Thanks again Pia! If you would be interested in one, qpbullet has thrown around the idea of organizing another Group Buy. Leave a comment here or PM him on Bimmerforums to let him know you are interested.

By Request, Details of My Cover

A few people have asked if my cover came with a storage bag and what the interior material is like. It came with a small gray duffle bag. The interior material is a very soft felt or fleece. I’m very careful about what I let touch my paint, and I have not even given a second thought to putting this cover on. The cover itself can pack down pretty small and can even fit in the average home washer and dryer if necessary.

Cover Car Duffle Bag

Cover Car Duffle Bag

Cover Car Detail

Cover Car Detail

Categories: Coupe Stuff Tags: ,

M Coupe Hats and Beanies

September 23rd, 2010 Comments off

M Coupes are a small market, so it’s not often you come across M Coupe stuff. So when opportunities come along, you need to take them. Ben Carufel of Bimmerforums made these very nice embroidered hats and beanies late last year.  He’s got a few left and these will probably be his last batch so act now. He has both fitted caps and beanies and best of all they’re free! Just pay $25 shipping :). Check this Bimmerforums thread to see what’s in stock.

If you want one (or more), email coupehats@gmail.com and you’ll get an automated reply with instructions. M Roadster versions are also available.

M Coupe Fitted Cap

M Coupe Beanie

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My Successful M Coupe Search – 1:18 Scale

May 21st, 2010 2 comments
1:18 UT BMW M Coupe in Silver

1:18 UT BMW M Coupe in Silver

For quite a few years before a full scale M Coupe was a financial possibility, I searched high and low for a 1:18 scale model to complement my model collection. Being the picky buyer I am, the normal cosmos black store sold UT model didn’t cut it for me. I wanted the silver model. For a while, I wasn’t sure this model even existed. My only evidence was a single photo posted on Car Domain, but that was enough to keep me going. I eventually found out that it did exist but could only be purchased through dealers and there obviously were not very many of them.

Front 3/4

Front 3/4

I searched Ebay, emailed dealers and contacted model resellers for several years before one fateful night in 2006. On my nightly Ebay search for “1:18 m coupe”, there it was: a 1:18 scale silver, M Coupe.  And better yet, it had a buy it now. And even better still, it was only $45 with free shipping. I wondered why no one had purchased it yet because even the more common cosmos black coupes were selling for at least that. I check the posted date and saw it had been listed 2 minutes ago. I ran full-speed upstairs to confirm with my new wife that it was OK to pull the trigger on what was then the most expensive model I had ever purchased. After receiving the confirmation, I raced back downstairs and hit buy-it-now before even sitting down.  It was mine. I still thank her from time to time for letting me splurge a little before we had much extra money.

Rear 3/4

Rear 3/4

It came 3 days later packaged in a small, plain, black box with silver BMW letters across the top front. At first I was worried that it had been mistakenly listed as a 1:18 scale as the box looked tiny. But when I opened it my doubts were relieved as the box was fitted like a glove and my beautiful coupe awaited. As with all the 1:18 scale UT coupe models, you receive the European version complete with headlight washers, clear front corner lights, European license plates and revised hatch, and a beautiful S50 engine. And it’s a sunroof-delete! The hood and doors open, but the rear hatch does not.

There are several people on Bimmerforums that I have heard have one as well. Good luck trying to get them to sell though. For those interested in trying to track one down it is BMW part number 8043 0020 856. BMW offered scale models of the M Coupe in the following variations:

  • 1:18 UT Arctic Silver with Black interior – Part No. 8043 0020 856
    I’m guessing Arctic rather than Titanium model because it’s listed as a 1998
  • 1:18 UT Cosmos Black with Kyalami Orange interior – Part No. 8043 9422 193
    Also available as consumer version and some think the interior is actually Imola Red
  • 1:18 UT Estoril Blue with Black interior – Part No. 8043 9422 194
    Also available as consumer version
  • 1:18 Imola Red with Imola Red Interior
    This wasn’t sold through BMW but was a consumer version
  • 1:43 Schuco Estoril Blue – Part No. 8043 0020 856
  • 1:43 Schuco Blue? – Part No. 8042 9422 195
  • 1:43 Schuco Imola Red – Part No. 8042 9422 196
  • 1:73 Schuco Cosmos Black – Part No. 8042 9423 172
  • 1:87 Herpa Silver – Part No. 8041 9423 112
  • 1:87 Herpa Estoril Blue – Part No. 8041 9423 113

Since purchased, my silver M Coupe has been sitting just to the right of my computer monitor. Free for me to gaze at throughout the day and motivate me to keep working hard toward the purchase of a full-size one.

S50 Engine

The Black Box
The Black Box
My Desk

My Desk

My Son Breyton

My Son Ruining the Sense of Scale

Categories: Coupe Stuff Tags: ,