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Patience And Hard Work Prevails!

1979 BMW 320i

Back in December we featured a 1979 BMW 320i that Russell D had found, which you can read about here. Well after a couple months of hard work, he has his E21 back on the road. After getting so much feedback and support from everyone here, he promised to keep us updated on his progress and he has kept his word! He sent a complete list of everything he has done to the car, plus some recent photos! It looks like patience mixed with some hard work has prevailed!

1979 BMW 320i Finally Home

From Russell D – I have pain-stakenly gotten my “garage find” back on the road. The car spent the last 12 years sitting covered in the original owners garage. Once I got the car home, I spent the next 2 months going through the fuel system.
I have:

  • Removed and cleaned the dual fuel tanks
  • Flushed the fuel lines (supply and return)
  • Replaced the main fuel pump, accumulator and filter
  • Rebuilt the in tank fuel pump
  • Rebuilt the fuel distributor
  • Replace the cold start fuel injector
  • Cleaned the mechanical fuel injectors and cleaned the warm up regulator

I have replaced all of the normal tune up equipment including: points, plugs, distributor cap, rotor button, plug wires, coil, and air filter

The electrical start wire to the coil on this car is a resistor wire that is 1 meter long, and was pretty much burnt up. I had to remove the engine wiring harness back to the fuse box located in the engine bay. I replaced the original resistor wire with a regular wire. Then installed a power resistor block mounted on the fire wall for the start circuit to the coil. I adjusted the solid lift valves back to factory specification. 1/2 of them were too tight. With the valve cover removed, i lubricated all of the top end rocker/valve components. And i changed the oil and filter and installed a new battery.

1979 BMW 320i Engine

With all of this done, I was finally ready to see if it would start. The first attempts at starting failed and I didn’t want to burn the starter up. I joined a BMW forum for some much needed information and help, which prove to be a life saver in many ways!!! So, the next weekend with the help of a couple of BMW E21 Guru’s on the telephone I was able to get in running and dialed in very well. If you have every worked on a Bosch CIS (constant injection system) Fuel Injection System, then you know that they are very finicky to say the least.

1979 BMW 320i Original Wheels1979 BMW 320i Mebler Wheels

I was able to purchase some period correct German Mebler Basket Weave Wheels wrapped in new Yokohama S Drive Tires.

1979 BMW 320i Cleaned Up

Needless to say, I am now officially Loving this 1979 BMW E21. I have a lot more upgrade plans for the little gem. It will be my summer daily driver. It is getting lots of looks for other drivers. This car is a classic that I will own and love for many years.

I just want to congratulate Russell on a job well done! It’s always awesome to see a great car put back on the road and it is even better knowing that it is going to be used and enjoyed! Good luck Russell and may you and this E21 have many enjoyable drives ahead of you!


  1. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Stunning, and excellent choice in wheels. Although I get tired of people telling me to upgrade to Euro bumpers, they would look great on this application. Well done, Russell!

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  2. sir mike

    great job Russell….something to be proud of….like the wheel choice….lose the bumpers though…

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  3. Horse Radish

    Well done.
    I will need to do the same thing on ,my 81 320i.
    Can you tell me the forum you went to ?


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  4. Ron

    Nice car. Always liked them in that red, it’s your driving experience man. Do what makes you feel good. Great job. Enjoy it.

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  5. seth

    had one of these new. was a blast to drive!

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  6. jim s

    great job, it looks great. i hope you put a lot of miles on it. maybe some on an autocross course and at track day events. keep us updated. thanks for sharing.

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  7. RickyM

    Great car ! You’ve done a fabulous job. Looks brilliant and hope you enjoy it for many years.

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  8. steve

    Great job! My 320i 78 was awesome and a blast to drive.

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  9. MikeH

    Congrats–You have resurrected a car that will only appreciate with time. And–you get to enjoy driving it while it appreciates.

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  10. cliffyc

    Beautful work Russell !

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