: 1500-mile roadtrip, no plans except warm weather and beach

Night Wolf
01-11-09, 02:18 AM
Before the holidays hit I was working 60-70+ hrs/week including weekends, I just wanted to get outta here and relax a bit, so when I had 6.5 days off for New Years and nothing to do in that time, I had one goal, get to the warm weather and go to the beach.

So, I did just that. 3 days of absolutly no plans, did what I want with no sense of time, it was pretty darn awesome and very low cost too.

Started out by taking 1/2 day off on Wednesday, new years eve. I actually worked on the BMW for 8 hours after work, getting new and old parts and fixing several things up. The plan was to head to my parents about 3.5hrs away near Gainesville, FL, have a low-key new years and spend the night, I did just that. New Years day some family friends were having a party at their house in DeLand, FL, just outside of Orlando. My parents and I took seperate cars since my plan was to leave DeLand and head to Clearwater for 3 nights, I booked the room ahead of time. $156 total, hard to beat.

I took some pictures along the trip, but kinda just here and there not in any specifc set. There are lots of car-pictures too, so if not interested in seeing alot of pictures of cars, then maybe find something else to look at.

Thru all of this I have really, really grew a bond with the BMW... to say that, atleast to me, it is about the most awesome road trip car, would be an understatement. I didn't think a car could be as perfect as the E30 convertible is, but this trip turned the BMW from my spare toy into the only car I really want to drive anywhere I go. I have actually been having thoughts about selling the Lincoln because I don't see how I would take that on a trip over the BMW, unless I needed the people/cargo space. It was just an awesome trip, everyone notices this car, people are always looking at it, especially when I park some place to eat and sit inside looking out at it, people keep turning their head as they walk by it, lots of compliments, people like that it is older and in good shape, I saw a black E30 convertible with what looked like a married couple and 2 girls in their late teens in the back, I pulled up next to the guy and beeped, he turned to me and we both said nice car at the same time, one of the girls in the back said "hes got the same car!" and kept looking/waving at me. Besides them, I saw 1 other E30 convertible and only 3 E30's on the entire trip, not that common of a car.

One of the things to fix on my car was the instrument cluster which had problems when I bought the car. Now there are no problems with it. 21 miles after I bought the car I watched the odometer take it's last turn, it's a common problem on these cars anyway. I ordered new gears and they arrived. Then my cluster was only half-lit and had backlight bulbs not working, that was a problem with the main circuit board, which I fixed, only had to solder 1 connection, but I accidently shorted out, and thusly fried a portion of it, instead of trying to repair it I went to the junkyard and bought a whole new cluster to use for parts. That fixed the lighting issue. Another thing was the coolant temp gauge would sometimes work and other times not, that turned out to be a bad ground on the gauge itself, so that was fixed. With the odometer working I can log mileage - I guesstimate I put about 5k miles on the car with no odo, can't really add miles to the odo easy too so I just left it. I can also track real fuel mileage too, in which case the car is very impressive, actually getting better then indicated (which was already very good) by atleast 1.5mpg.

Here is the cluster as I was leaving, all working. It is still so nice to see everything lit up, before this only the left side (speedo and fuel) was illuminated.


Because the needles are not backlit and reflect the light shinning on them from the front, they are fully lit when on a low position (as above) but as the tach and speedo move to a more vertical position, the light fades away toward the tip of the needle.... makes a really neat effect, and is the only reason why I am holding off on painting them red (wondering how it'll affect their abality to reflect the light) I have never seen gauges in a car so intricately built, really they are little complex machines in their own right, very high quality too, the needles are all actually metal, not plastic. The foglight indicator is one of the lights that was not working but now is, very cool to me.


Another problem fixed with the cluster was the on board computer. It would lite up in day but when the running/headlights were turned on, the backlight would go out, I thought the backlight was bad, but, once I installed the repaired cluster in, I was surprised to find an OBC that dimmed correctly, so now it is lit up at night, and very cool.


A highway cruise video showing off the interior/dash lights, along with me playing with the headlights and stuff:


A close-up of the gauges in action, even with worn out suspenion, this car feels very stable at any speed, this was 5th as 4th runs to 120:


I made it to the room ok, Super8 but looked new, $46/night had a microwave, fridge, iron, lotsa TV channels, wireless wi-fi and free breakfast, hard to complain... no pics of the room.

So I went out crusing around, it's been a while since I was last down there, decided to check out Clearwater Beach. When I lived there they just started to get things ready for the new Beach Walk, that was 2yrs ago, when I visited this past Summer, the place was a mess with construction all over, but this time it was all finished nicely, they really made the place alot better and more functional, tho I may always be partial to the old design cause it's what I was introduced with, the new one really updated the whole area, no other pictures then this:


Then driving back from the beach I passed this place, which I used to pass all the time but never actually went in.... more on this later:


Night Wolf
01-11-09, 02:36 AM
Other then several trips to ATL and a trip to my parents, this was the first real road trip I took the BMW on. I was pleasently surprised by how well it performed as a whole... for being a "small" convertible, there is plenty of trunk space for all my stuff, and it feels at home just about anywhere.

So about 2.5 yrs ago while I was living in Clearwater, I found a nice place to take car pictures at night near my apartment, to this day they are IMO the best pictures I have of the Coupe here are a couple:




So since I was already in the plaza (late night munchies at Applebees) I decided to get some new pics for old times sake. The old camera was my Toshiba PDR-3300, the new camera is a Cannon PowerShot A630. Same tripod, but not the actual same one (never returned and bought a new one) and of course, new car.... I realized afterwords that the Cannon has a whole seperate night mode I was not using, perhaps I would have gotten better pictures. I took lots there playing with the effects. Shes got flaws, but she is almost 20 years old (build date is Summer '89) and dosen't appear to be a garage queen.













Night Wolf
01-11-09, 02:54 AM
She wasn't washed or anything fancy for these, or any pictures... I'd just see a place that looked good and take them.


Of the things I did to the car before I left, I bought new roundels for the hood and trunk. I could have got the pair for $50 shipped form ebay, but I went to the dealer. $40 for the hood, $50 for the trunk, after tax it was $101-something. They are plastic! Really it's about $5 of plastic and $95 because it says BMW.... ah well, it really helped make the car look better tho, the old ones were pretty shot.




Gotta represent!




The Escort 8500 X50 has many, many miles under it's belt.... pretty much retired when the Coupe was stolen, but had a 2nd chance at life with the BMW now. I am going to get around to hardwiring it sometime, the cig lighter adapter has a mute button on it and is so convient, when my had is on the shifter in 3rd or 5th I can reach the button just by moving my thumb... very nice.


Camera focused on the steering wheel, not the gauges... but it made a cool effect:


Woke up on Friday morning, had 2 plans. First up was the junkyard, very nice junkyard there, wanted to find some parts for the BMW. I spent about an hour and a half there, lots of rare, nice and unique cars that were not even wrecked, it really was a shame. All I got for the BMW was a metal grommet that goes around the power antenna and fits against the quarter panel. It is the older style and does not directly fit my car, but I can make it work. My plan was to go to the beach, but first I wanted to do a little driving around for old times sake...

This little hole in the wall is right across from the Clearwater/St. Pete Int'l airport, you can buy live pigs there. They make the best hot pressed Cuban sandwhiches I have had to date, very cheap too. I was looking forward to eating several, but they had a sign up saying out of town.


UPS birds. DHL had 1 DC-9 that used to take off at 8:00AM sharp, I used to see it when we were at the hanger, didn't see it there... I heard DHL handed all their domestic stuff to UPS.


Coast Guard C-130's, from what I heard the whole Gulf region of the coast guard is operated out of here. I used to see these things take off everyday too... never thought that not even 2yrs later I'd be working on them.



The school had 2 locations here in Clearwater, one was the classroom, about 5 mins away, then the hanger at the airport, those planes were the schools used for training, I've touched them all in some form. They have 2 Piper Cherokees, a severely corroded AeroCommander, Cessna 310 (a very nice plane), an old Hiller helicopter and Learjet 24 (IIRC) in the hanger.


Night Wolf
01-11-09, 03:16 AM
So I decided to go somewhere I never been to before. I lived there for almost a year and a half and never went to the beaches South of St Pete, so looking on the map, I picked Anna Maria island, about an hour away. It was a whole difference experience, Clearwater is very commericalized and tourist type stuff, Anna Maria is just.... the beach. It had a strong island feel, people used all sorts of electric carts or small mopeds to get around, the sand came up to the roads in many places, all the shops were right off the roads... looking at some of the listings a realtor had up, it is quite pricey to live there... cheapest place was $750k! Ah well. It seemed like 1 in every 5 cars was a convertible of some sort, it was just the thing to have.

Passing over the Skyway bridge:


Coming from 45-50* weather, this was a very pleasent change.... it got up to 80! Perfect weather, With the exception of arrival night, if I was in the car, the top was down.


I wanted to get something to eat before going to the beach, decided to stop here...


Food pics! Sorry, not half-eaten tho. It was a toasted Italian sub.... and I must say, it is worthy of the name. I ended up putting the SunChips back as I was not hungry for them afterword.


The little convertible that could.


German convertibles for everyone! Or, how my friend put it, cars formally and currently driven exclusively by c*coks. That Benz looked very similar to an E30 from the back, from a distance.


So I asked the lady where the beach was, she said you can make a right, right here (pointing to the side street next to her store) to go to the bay beaches, or a left to go to the Gulf beaches. I said which are the best? she said "honey, it's 7-miles of white sand and turquoise water, it dosen't matter" That was all I had to hear to drop Noelle off at the parking lot, grab my stuff and soak up the sun.

after a short walk from the parking area I came up to this:



So I setup shop


and enjoyed




For those that have never been to the Gulf's white sand beaches... it's like walking on baby powder.


Night Wolf
01-11-09, 03:39 AM
After I spent a few hours at the beach I decided to cruise around a bit more, found some nice places to take some pictures...






So I found a place to eat at, another beach-side place (same palce as first 3 pics in this post) with a guy singing live music. Again, I am very happy with the food, all these beach places seem to be very good... $12 or so total including drink and tip, hard to beat!



view from the table


On the way back I stopped at the South fishing pier of the Skyway bridge, wanted to get some sunset pics, perhaps if I knew about the night mode they would have came out better. What is now the North and South fishing piers are really the old Skyway bridge, it collasped while people were driving across, then they built the new one.


I remember why I never listened to XM radio when I lived there, because the radio stations are awesome, my favorite being 933FLZ, which plays top40 and dance music that I like, along with their own DJ mixes. 101.5 The Point is all 80's and really good, as is 97X and 98Rock (really 97.9) that are both rock alternative. So while listening to 933FLZ I cruised thru Tampa for a long time, checked out Ybor City, but it really isn't my thing, headed back to Clearwater and drove around more... that really was all I had planned, had lots of fun too. The next day (Saturday) I was driving around thinking about what to do, then I told myself, I came here to enjoy the warm weather with the top down and go to the beach, so I did just that, I went back to Anna Maria island, but a bit South to Bradenton beach, which wasn't as nice but still very nice. There I met 2 girls I talked with for a bit, they said I should check out Siesta Key that is a bit more South, so I marked that off as my next destination when I go back down there. Since I was already in Clearwater a bit I drove to the beach and down the barrier islands.

The original Hooters:


Then I passed by the Lincoln place again and saw a couple cars out, decided to get some pics...

This is probably my favorite bodystyle of vintage Lincoln, IIRC this was a '79.... but not factory. Apperantly the guy bought 3 brand new, this one, a red one and another one that was already sold and had them all converted to convertibles by some coach builder. He now lives overseas, this one is not restored, said he is pretty firm on the $11,500 price. If these things were factory, and thus more easy (and cheaper) to come by, there would probably be one sitting in my driveway right now.

They could be sisters, really only ~10yrs apart.






Night Wolf
01-11-09, 03:56 AM
There are lots of pics.... I have more too, but IMO just alot of cool cars worthy of the pictures, the guy was really cool about things said to check out whatever I wanted to. Said he buys and sells cars from all over the world.









"huge" is an understatement when describing this trunk


I spy the '96 Town Car center light section...





This only had something like 19k miles on it:



Night Wolf
01-11-09, 04:24 AM

It really is impressive the sheer size and mass of these cars. With new cars getting smaller, and me being used to the BMW, it's easy to forget what these landyachts were like.... how ever way you want to slice it, that is one long "standard" car:


I couldn't reach halfway across the trunk from the side, I tried.





This Mercury had a really interesting rear window setup, vertial, 3-piece, and the center portion would slide down, just like new pickup trucks are starting to do.


So then I passed thru the barrier islands on my way down to the beach... Dennis!


Got to the beach, I could live with this being my driving perspective...


1) Make sure you dog isn't barking 2) trashcans are not a hiding place 3) don't let your fire get out of control 4) dynamat your speakers 5) don't waste beer by overfilling 6) no pow-wows 7) no Corvettes.


After the beach I drove back to Tampa, went to Vinyl Fever, expanded my record collection a bit. Then I decided to go to Shepards on Clearwater beach where 933FLZ is every Saturday night, still new to the club thing but it was fun. Woke up later then I wanted to on Sunday, was going to go to the church I used to go to (about an hour North) so I went back to Clearwater beach to get some lunch at Palm Pavilion (another personal favorite) and enjoy the beach scene one last time before heading back home.

I stopped at my parents along the way, had dinner there. I picked up new air-shocks for the back of my parents Buick while in Clearwater, so I brought them with me and helped Rich install them, old ones were shot, car wasn't sitting level.


Got back Sunday night, chilled out on Monday, went for a new job interview on Tuesday, cleaned up the house the rest of the day, go to work Wednesday to find out I was put on a new temp job at a different location (all on base, place is huge) It's all good tho.

The car did excellent, not letting me down a single time, a pure joy to bring along. I am very pleased with the fuel economy, the engine still needs some work and is not running as good as she should be, yet still manages a real 29mpg at 70, 26 at 80, 23 at 90 and 20 at much higher then those speeds, all on regular gas, means not only does this car get close to what new econo-boxes get, but she looks good and has fun doing it... not bad for the old I6, 4cyl are good for mid, and even high 30's on the highway.

After being down there, I really didn't want to come back. At the same time, I lived there before, and the beach/tropical scene got old and became the everyday thing afte a while, part of me is telling myself it wont be like that again if I move down there, but the other part knows it will happen. It is much cheaper to live here in middle Georgia, yet within 6hrs I can be down there. It's like being able to go on a semi-exotic vaction without the cost of airfare or renting a car, and it's even doable on a regular weekend. It isn't all that expensive in terms of places to go, 2 nights of the hotel would be $100, gas is about $65 round trip, including lots of driving around down there, then just whatever I spend on food. I thought about maybe moving down in the future, gotta see, for now I am content where I am, I want to do alot of work and landscaping on the house before I think about selling. But I am going to try and make it back down there every 6 weeks or so, I really enjoy the water and there are alot of places I still would like to drive to as well as things I'd like to do... parasailing and renting a jetski on the Gulf etc...

All in all, for a no-plans getaway, it was great. I only booked the room the same day of checking in, just did whatever came to mind, which was a bunch of nothing and hanging out at and around the beach, which was what the trip was all about.

01-11-09, 04:55 AM
All this vintage Ford is making me want one. My Dad used to have a `78 Mercury Grand Marquis Brougham. And as for that Lincoln convertible, I would rather sleep in those seats than my own bed.

01-11-09, 07:47 AM
THAT is a GREAT road trip log! Beaches, water, cars, food, and a good story.

Where did you go that you were able to park on the beach? I tried to find a spot for the Crossfire but couldn't locate any before it got dark.

If you ever have more time you should look up Ian, Brett, Sal, and everyone else in Tampa.

01-11-09, 09:17 AM
I absolutely adore these road trip threads. Great pics! That drop top Lincoln = :drool:. I wonder what were they asking for that thing?

01-11-09, 09:41 AM
I pass that Lincoln place daily. Looks more fun in the pics than I have everyday here, lol. I have to admit that I didn't know that little sandwich shop across from the airport sells live pigs!. Always nice and nostalgic to visit places you used to live at. :D

01-11-09, 10:32 AM
Sweet thread Rick. I like how you took pics of the BMW in the same place you took pics of the CDV in.

Night Wolf
01-11-09, 01:46 PM
THAT is a GREAT road trip log! Beaches, water, cars, food, and a good story.

Where did you go that you were able to park on the beach? I tried to find a spot for the Crossfire but couldn't locate any before it got dark.

If you ever have more time you should look up Ian, Brett, Sal, and everyone else in Tampa.

That was the first time I ever was able to park on the beach too, you wont find this stuff in Clearwater/St Pete.... go South towards Bradenton/Sarasota and get on the barrier islands... Longboat Key, Anna Maria island etc... the whole atmosphere really changes, no longer does it feel like a commercialzed tourist attraction like Clearwater, but more of a paradise getaway. Not that Clearwater is bad, it was just a very different experience. Next time I go down I want to go even a bit further South, maybe I'll get a room in Sarasota instead of Clearwater.

I remember on your recent Tampa Bay trip you were crossing the Skyway bridge, if you look off to the right you'll see a landmass in the distance, that is Anna Maria island. I remember seeing it many times as I crossed that bridge, but never bothered to go check it out.... part of my trying and doing new things, if I haven't been somewhere before and it is an avalible option, I'm going to check it out. I just looked on the map, picked a spot and went.

yeah, it would be cool to meet up with some of the folks, maybe we can get something planned? This particular trip was so last minute with no plans... my friends invited me to go up to Atlanta with some other friends for a few days over New Years... but I was so tired of being "here" and working, I wanted to get away, 80* and Gulf beaches sounded like the better getaway :)

I absolutely adore these road trip threads. Great pics! That drop top Lincoln = . I wonder what were they asking for that thing?

He said the guy is firm on $11,500. It was a custom job when new. Overall I'd have to say it was one of the best convertible conversions I've seen. I went to their website last night and you can see more pictures of it, and their other cars, when the top is up, the back of the roof line is kind of odd... but who the heck would drive that thing with the top up.

I pass that Lincoln place daily. Looks more fun in the pics than I have everyday here, lol. I have to admit that I didn't know that little sandwich shop across from the airport sells live pigs!. Always nice and nostalgic to visit places you used to live at.

Have you ever gone there to eat? a big sandwhich is like $3.50 or so, really good.

I lived in Clearwater from 10/05-2/07 When I first moved there from upstate, NY it was like I was living in paradise. After 8 months or so, the new became the daily and I no longer apperciated the place, the palm trees and the beach because the everydog drag etc... Now that I go back down, sitting at one of the beachside restaruants, eating and looking out at the beach, it's really like.... man, hard to beat this atmosphere. That is also why I don't mind middle Georiga, it is very different, yes, but still within 6hrs away, so it is a cheap, fast and easy getaway, it gives a nice place to look forward to when one wants to getaway for a bit. Living there, it was like where do you vacation to within weekend driving distance? Other then that, if I go 3-4hrs up North I can hit the mountains of North GA/TN, I am 3hrs from the Atlanta ocean etc... it is a very central location. Who knows tho, I may end up back down there sometime in the future.

Sweet thread Rick. I like how you took pics of the BMW in the same place you took pics of the CDV in.

Yeah, I was in the plaza and had a hard time passing that one up :)

01-11-09, 01:57 PM
Ahh, I want that convertible Continental!

01-11-09, 02:30 PM
Neat pics!

Night Wolf
01-11-09, 02:32 PM
Heh, on Friday of the beaches (first day with the beach pics) as I pulled out of the parking area, a county sheriff for the island had his Crown Vic parked infront of a place, he saw me pull out, walked into the road and waved me over... I was like.... what the heck, I just pulled outta the parking lot, so I stop and hes like, man, I have this same exact car at home, so then I was like oh.... and pulled in along side the Vic. We talked for a while, he said his is same exact colors and everything, except and automatic, he really liked to see the car. He also confirmed that my seats are vinyl, and not leather, having been probably redone in the past (why they are in such good shape) which I would rather have anyway, as the vinyl is much more durable, espeically in a convertible. It was pretty cool tho, I guess the cop had some friends in the place that we parked at cause he said to a guy in the store, "man, check this out, I thought he stole my car!" All in all, it was pretty cool, the car tends to start alot of conversations when out and about.

01-11-09, 02:48 PM
Nice pics, Rick. Florida Tourism should send you a check.

Noelle looks lovely; you really got a sweet deal on that car, and you've done a great job with her. Perfect car for a trip like that.

Night Wolf
01-11-09, 03:40 PM
Nice pics, Rick. Florida Tourism should send you a check.

Noelle looks lovely; you really got a sweet deal on that car, and you've done a great job with her. Perfect car for a trip like that.


Yeah, in the world of $2500 cars, I can't imagine a better pick!

When I first got her, only a few months ago (early October) it was somewhat overwhelming as it seemed like everything on the car was wrong, broke or needed to be fixed, but I slowly started addressing one thing at a time.

Now when I think about it, not much is left to fix actually, I still need to install the new drivers door check strap thing i got from the junkyard (old one is broke, door opens all the way into the molding, hence the ripples in the door on the forward portion) I may have to go to someplace that does convertbile tops, the top is only about 2 yrs old, but needs to be adjusted, the windows don't seal up properly and it does not seal against the windshield frame properly. The engine needs more work, cap/rotor and wires have not been changed yet along with full service and replacement of cooling system stuff (all the hoses, t-stat etc...) The shifter bushings are shot, but I am going to install a short shifter when I go to replace them. Other then that, the biggest thing is the worn out shocks/struts, but I am going to wait to save up the money to properly upgrage the suspension, some lowering springs, and quality shocks/springs, at that time I'll also put new front/rear brakes on her. I have a sub to put in the trunk, just gotta get an amp and do the wiring. Really, not all that much is left compared to what needed to be done when I got it.

Some point in the future bodywork/paintjob would be on order, but it is just so much to drive around as it is. If it is up to me, she'll be around for a while.

01-19-09, 11:00 AM
sorry we couldnt meet up dude ....sent ya message on myspace lettin ya know what happend ....

hopefully next time you come down i wont be in and out of hospitals....

Im going to try to do tail of the dragon in the smokeys soon on the 883r ill let ya know once i plan that run for sure ....

01-19-09, 03:56 PM
Threads like this are freakin awesome. Looks like you had lots of fun :)

01-21-09, 12:47 PM
Looks like a fun trip. I need to visit some warm weather. 13* is killin my tropics acclimated ass.

UPS birds. DHL had 1 DC-9 that used to take off at 8:00AM sharp, I used to see it when we were at the hanger, didn't see it there... I heard DHL handed all their domestic stuff to UPS.


A scene from my life.

Yeah, UPS took over DHLs domestic air.

During peak season (Christmas week) we will have about 140 planes on the UPS ramp. From SH33 and Falcons to 747-400.

1 of the 9 ramps....


Air shot before UPS expanded 2 more ramps to the north (right in the pic) and took one our taxiways.


01-21-09, 04:31 PM
O MAN! this makes me sooo homesick, and yes 93.3 FLZ kicks @$$!! randy and Bj in the morning and all of the BEST music, i lived RIGHT off bayshore BLVD on bayshore court and MAN i miss it, glad too see you had a great time!

01-24-09, 05:07 PM
I love these threads, too. But they also get me depressed. I need a trip...

01-28-09, 06:18 PM
I love these threads, too. But they also get me depressed. I need a trip...


Night Wolf
01-28-09, 09:11 PM
sorry we couldnt meet up dude ....sent ya message on myspace lettin ya know what happend ....

hopefully next time you come down i wont be in and out of hospitals....

Im going to try to do tail of the dragon in the smokeys soon on the 883r ill let ya know once i plan that run for sure ....

Hey mike, not a problem! I stil gotta get back to your message... things have been crazy here, a new contract company took over the current contract, so we have to deal with switching jobs there, all the mean while I am in the process of entirely switching jobs, quite a mess.

I'd like to make it down to Clearwater atleast once every 2 months, if not 6 weeks, we'll have to see... now that I have multiple roadtrip vehicles, the trips may have to be divided :)

I heard about tail of the dragon.... maybe when my BMW actually has a suspension I can hang with ya! tho a trashed suspension wouldn't (errr hasn't) stopped me from doing.... spirited... driving.

I've made some changes to the BMW since the pics, the gauge cluster got an update and the car was pin-striped. I still don't have pictures of the pin striping, still not sure if I like it (It'll probably stay now) but I do have pictures of the gauge cluster:

One thing about the E30 is that it has a very neat, but IMO, bland gauge cluster... very....80's... but not in a good way... can't blame the car since it was designed and built in the... 80's.


Theres ways to address that tho!


I've never seen gauges (in a car) so intricately built such as these. Besides that, the whole interrior of the E30 is designed for the driver, including the gauges as they actually tilt a little within the cluster so as to always be in direct line of sight to the driver:


the needles are actually metal


crude? yes, works? yes:


Toyota! Actually according to the bottle, it looked like a great match to the car (figured I'd get paint to match touch ups on the car) but it turned out to be way too light for the car, but made an, IMO very cool gauge needle color.




in the plain housing:


with aluminum trim rings:


with (real) carbon fiber overlay and trim rings, what a mess, that overlay had to be very carefully trimmmed to fit correctly.


Didn't stop there... I don't like how on the E30 all the lights have the white background on them, so even when off you can still see them.... that was corrected with window tint... bought a whole roll of 5% for this, but it turned out to be too dark, so I went back and bought a whole nother roll of 20%, which is much better, you can still faintly see them, yet you can still see the lights light up durring the day, I like it because IMO the foglight on indicator was way to bright before (at night) anyway.



5% (too dark for light to shine thru well) above, 20% below.


Night Wolf
01-28-09, 09:12 PM
I got plastic cleaner and cleaned the pastic, still some smudges which normally are hardly visable but the flash picks them up.


at night the painted needles still reflect the light very good, that was a major question on this project I was wondering about (needles are not backlit but reflect the light from the front)


flash at night:


day shot:


I really like it, overall very happy with the project. Perhaps if I knew, I may have used a tad darker red, but otherwise no big deal. It is something I am glad to see everytime I get into the car. I'll have to get some pictures of the pin striping.