Where the journey began.

Strap in for a (long-ish) story of what ignited my passion for all things BMW.

TL;DR: I like BMW’s! Classic BM is born to offer our customers quick, affordable, quality parts for their cars.

Since you’re reading this, you more than likely share a similar passion for BMW’s. If you do, it would mean the world to me to have your support in our store. If we can’t help you there at the moment, I thank you for taking the time to pop in and read the blog, and hope you can do so again in the future!

Let’s begin…

BMW as a brand hasn’t been my most loved manufacturer from the beginning. Like me, you might not’ve known why the brand has a buzz around it and what it had to offer before your first encounter. I started a similar business to Classic BM back in 2012 focused around Japanese car culture. As it started to have some success, I was on the hunt for a car that was comfortable and offered decent boot space so that I could pickup parts, deliver orders and cart stock to trade stands at different events around Melbourne as the business grew. I stumbled across a ’95 E38 730iL. A 3.0L V8, auto, long wheel base, lavender frost interior, huge boot (compared to my outgoing and by now sold Nissan S13), this car even had a phone. I was blown away. It had just shy of 400,000km’s on the clock but ran and drove great. Probably because once anyone who drove the thing, felt 2 tonnes being pushed by a little 3.0L V8, decided it was best that they just admit its lack of pace and cruise it rather than push it.

The E38 was great, I had never thought that even their most luxurious vehicle of 1995 would still drive and handle so well, after caster bushes were replaced of course! It was by this time that my interest began to grow in the brands’ line up. I purchased an E36 coupe to build into a race car and shortly after, gave up (haven’t we all done that, in my case I probably will again!) After 13 months of ownership, the car was hit from behind, and I made an effort to buy as close a replacement car to it, which led me to a friends ’97 740iL. I advertised the slightly damaged 730iL on Gumtree, to which the first person to come have a look, ended up wanting its replacement, the 740. So, with a deposit in hand and another buyer lined up for the 730, I was on the hunt for another BMW, this was probably the major turning point as I could have purchased anything. This is late 2015 now and I had started wanting an E60 M5 pretty bad, got it to the top of my automotive bucket list to own one, one day. However I settled for an ’03 E46 318i, black, manual, m-sport. Another fun car to drive for what it is. 

This is around the time a passion for older BMW’s started to resonate with me. I had also been involved in a restoration business during this time, until those in partnership went their seperate ways. I purchased an ’86 E28 520i, cleaned up many things on it in my 12 month ownership, but with less and less time to spend working on it, and no where to keep it, I found it a new home. As did the E46 and a hand full of other BMW’s I had owned in a similar category. I ended up with a ’97 E39 540i, black, V8, much quicker than an E38 or E46! This car, at the time of writing this article, is still in my ownership since purchased in July 2016, sold for a short few months to a good friend who offered the car back when it became surplus to his needs. Two motors later (M62 timing chains, yuck!) the car still drives quite well with 325,000km’s. A testament to the build quality of these cars. Currently a heap of modifications and complete tear down of the interior to turn it into a weekend circuit car have been completed, (yes I know, I have a problem. But if I admit it, is it a problem?)

I can honestly tell you that most BMW’s I’ve owned have been higher milage examples of what has been available on the market, a passion for fixing my own cars over the years and not being afraid of having something break on me has given me great enjoyment (most of the time).

October 2017 I was sent a link to an ’06 E60 M5 on Carsales from a good friend, as I had been on the hunt for the right one since early that year. This one, had higher milage at 165,000km’s, but had all the expensive bits replaced and documented, around $65,000 worth of receipts over a 50,000km/3 year timeframe. It was the one, I bought it sight unseen from Adelaide and had it shipped to Melbourne where it currently sits with over 200,000km’s as its taken me on some amazing symphonic drives over the past 3 years. Despite most reviews about this car being quite negative, it doesn’t take long to have a grin from ear to ear after jumping in the drivers seat. It’s expensive to fix, and often requires a super computer, which I’m so lucky to have a great friend who owns a euro workshop that I often raid the toolbox draws for specialised items to fix it when it breaks. But at 14 years old, 200,000km’s travelled, 10 cylinders designed to spin up to 8,250rpm often and push 1900kg’s of car around town while making 373kw flow through most moving parts of its driveline, it’s bound to have some troubles from time to time.

Sometimes you just have to buy a spare motor, just in case! My daughter came home from the hospital in this car, her first drive was in a V10 and I plan to do that with any more kids we’re blessed to have in the future.

Fast forward a few years to 2020 and a few more BMW’s later, my brother, (who also has a huge passion for the brand and is currently building his own super cool, full nut and bolt resto M-tech 1 E30 coupe which we will do an article for once completed) called me hurriedly one weekday night going on about an E28 that had just popped up for sale that I had to buy and build. It really wasn’t the greatest timing for me, but despite that, I emailed the seller to get some more info. He was quite hesitant to sell it to just anyone, if he caught wind that someone was buying it just to part it out he would look for the next buyer or just decide to keep it, it was sort of an expression of interest for him. After a week of emails back forth, a few more photos than what he had in the ad, my brother and I were on the way to take a look at it. 

It was rough. Interior torn to shreds, the body multi-coloured Hennarot and primer with rust in all the usual spots and more, and all the rubbers and weather strips torn, cracked and need replacing. However it came with some genuine Alpina C83’s, a dogleg close-ratio gearbox, a limited slip diff, and other goodies like an M-tech 1 steering wheel, plus a very strong driveline. He had owned it since 2002 and it had been parked at the front of his place since its registration expired in 2009. He ended up purchasing an E30 that stole his heart, so this was neglected until he could part with it. A little rust repair, some paint and a fresh interior is all I though it would need to get it on the road. Well, lets just say the next blog post will be a lot of what I didn’t think I was going to be doing with my spare time on weekends!

Having owned an E28 in the past, I love the shark nose design of this era of BMW’s, it really pulled my heart strings. The owner saw that and convinced himself I would do it justice and give life back to this Bavarian. This is still in the build stage, and I will update the blog page with regular updates on its progress.

Well, over the years of BMW ownership, I have found it inspiring that BMW still manufactures a plethora of parts for their early cars, the same cannot be said for most other manufacturers. This is great for us as enthusiasts and owners to build, restore, drive and enjoy our cars. However, over the years, I have found parts on the other side of the world cheaper, even with exorbitant freight charges, than that of the dealer. Of course, here in Australia, the dealerships are perfectly positioned as one of the only distributors of Genuine parts for these early BMW’s, and if you want to buy a little wiser, well you might just have to wait a week or two for an order to arrive from overseas, or an aftermarket option isn’t manufactured or easily purchased. And heaven forbid you forget to order a couple of clips or a seal you need and its another 2 weeks out of the US or Germany. I’ve been in that situation too many times and it’s the major motivation of what we’ve set out to remedy through Classic BM. Many a time I’ve had friends call or tell me how quickly their build budget exploded out of proportion due to ongoing freight costs or paying the “quick part premium” or how frustrating its been waiting on orders from overseas distributors, putting a pause to their progress.

We plan to offer an ever growing range of both Genuine BMW and OE quality aftermarket parts to our customers, at a competitive price of course, that we will keep in stock for when you need it, able to be shipped to any address in Australia and New Zealand and hopefully in the future, be picked up from a retail site. (If you’re outside Aus/NZ we’re still happy to help, just shoot us through an e-mail!) As of writing this article, our range of parts is small compared to that of the dealer network or other overseas distributors, however if you’re in need of something we don’t stock, we’d love for you to contact us with your enquiry and rest assured that we will go above and beyond to find the part you need quickly and competitively.

As you’ve read and probably understand by now, Classic BM is built on passion and a pure bred love for BMW’s. We understand your passion and hope that we can help keep your daily driver on the road, maintain your weekend warrior, and help build your project cars and restorations.

Bill – Owner, Classic BM