Here’s a brief example of what we can do for your worn interior. Quality automotive leather is a lot like automotive paint. In addition to keeping it clean and protected, you can also refinish it with the right tools and products. Here’s an example using Colourlock LeatherFresh.
This is a 200K mile X5 we had in the shop this week for a detail and ceramic coating. White paint is tough. You wash it and it looks white. You clay bar it and it looks white. You polish it and your pad is filthy, and it looks white. But then when you ceramic coat it and step back, it looks WHITE. You don’t realize how many shades of white paint there is until you try to color match the touch-up paint. In the end, I think it came out great.
Below are some before and after photos. Steps involved: power wash, clay-bar, hand wash, machine polish, touch-up, and ceramic coat. Interior leather repairs were minor with some small tears being repaired and some selective re-dye of worn areas of the seats. Steering wheel refreshed with ColourLock LeatherFresh.
When I’m learning a new track, one of the things I try to do is find a fast instructor who knows the track better than I do and see what I can learn by following them. Even better if that driver is in exactly the same car, in this case an E46 M3. I had the opportunity to be a classroom instructor for GVC BMW CCA in early August. Friday was an open track day for instructors so made the most of the opportunity to enjoy this world class facility. This was only my second time to the Glen, but I think I will make an annual pilgrimage out of it.
This video shows a full lap behind a faster car. I’ve been working with the Garmin Catalyst system to focus on specific areas of the track which have the greatest opportunity for improvement. In this session, I was working on carrying more speed into T2 and all the way up the climbing esses as well as my line through T9. The key for me in increasing speed in T2 is a good entry and apex in T1. That gives me the confidence to stay on the throttle. T9 is a different story. I need to find the right place on the track to turn in, and then find the visual reference to repeat it and be able to teach it.
The video shows that I am still working on carrying more speed out of T1 and not scrubbing into T2. I could probably carry more speed into the Karussel with a wider entry. I’ve been working on a double apex for the toe of the boot so I know there’s a bit more speed in the traditional line. I’m still struggling to find the right turn-in reference for T9. You’ll see the faster car take a bit of an earlier turn in and find a wee bit of camber on the table top. I tried that later in the day and got my fastest lap of the weekend which was a 2:15.05.
If you know the track well, what do you see in the video that I missed?
I’ve driven a lot of laps on the Summit Point Circuit. A lot. I have data on 700 or 800 laps, and have probably driven another 1000 more, but I never managed to drive anything under 1:26.6 before. For the last five years or so, I’m usually performing CI duties, working the grid, or banished to the skidpad most of the time and don’t spend much time concentrating on my own driving. This past July, I had the opportunity to coach with NJ CCA and had lots of track time to myself.
I’ve been selling the Garmin Catalyst system for a few years now and so I thought I’d listen to the Coach and see what I could learn. The data gave me the confidence to brake later, harder, and less, carrying more speed at the apex and thus more speed until the next corner. My best lap came at the end of the session and I was close to the predicted optimal time, even with a late pass into turn 10.
Even after more than 12 years of teaching this stuff, I’m continually amazed how much of this game is mental. Once I broke through the 1:26 barrier, I was able to consistently beat it most of the time.
Right now, the E36 M3 is probably fully depreciated. A low mileage one in great condition will cost $9-$11K and still require $3-$5K of work. A high mileage one in fair condition like this one might fetch $3-$6K. The owner of this car wanted to sell it, but was not attracting any buyers at his price point. It makes no sense at all to drop $10K on a restoration and $5K on suspension, tires, and repairs to have a $10-$12K car when you’re done. That’s where the idea of preservation not restoration plays out.
It looks like the whole car has been resprayed at least once with some areas getting resprayed 2 or 3 more times. The paint was heavily oxidized, scratched, and cracked on the hood. The cracking is probably due to excessive amounts of filler that were not allowed to cure before respraying at some point. Not much I can do about the cracks, but I can bring it back to an even shine so it looks great from 5 feet away.
I worked on this car for about three days and would typically charge between $750 and $900 depending on total effort and supplies expended. After a long soak, pressure wash, and clay bar, I wet sanded the hood and compounded the entire car before polishing. The trim was flaking off so it was repainted in satin black before coating the car in Reflex Pro II ceramic coating. I then framed the car in ceramic trim coat. With regular maintenance washes the coating should last 1-2 years.
The key to a black car (or white for that matter) is actually the trim. Sure, you need to get the paint to a uniform level of shine, but getting the trim as dark as possible makes it pop. The leather seats were also worn and cracked, but after a deep cleaning, minor repairs, and a good sanding, they came back very nicely with several applications of Leather Fresh as did the steering wheel.