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Restoration Stories

Munich Icons BMW e21 project

A letter from the workshop
My Name is Yves Decan, and I own “Munich Icons” a BMW restoration company that operates from Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

Ever since I was a small boy, I have always loved BMW cars, thanks to my father who brought home BMW vehicles and bikes. My fond memories during my adolescent and teenage years are those of the e23 limousines, e9 big coupes, bike engined 700’s, e21’s and a couple of 2002 Tii’s. As you can see, my dad just like I fell in love with the BMW brand since way back. 1993 is a year I will never forget, I had just turned 19 and was still in high school. In this particular year, my father lent me his M5 E28 (Practically still new) to use it as my school transport. Being the silly lad, I was back then; I choose to floss to my friends how this car was a beast and carried a few to go snow drifting during lunch break. So, in typically youth enthusiasm, we lowered all the windows and started drifting, the snow got in all over the interior, and that evening my dad had a few harsh words with me, let’s just say, that was the end of my driving this magnificent car that year.

Within a couple of years, I was able to get my own BMW vehicles and bikes, and that’s when I stumbled upon my passion for restoring and modifying Classic BMWs. Over the years, I have managed to put together a team of wonderful people with individual skill sets. Our work revolves around several types of services including; bodywork, restomod projects, mechanical work, maintenance and repairs, full nuts and bolts restorations.

Through our “Munich Icons” brand name, we develop specific E21 products; our speciality delves mostly on the ‘Sharknose’ classic BMW models.

A Story about the Unfinished e21
My love with the e21 stems back a little bit. A friend rang me up asking to see whether I would get an unfinished 320 project car off his hands. Since I had supplied some parts for this particular vehicle, I decided to offload it off him. I picked this car because first it was an original French motorcar and had a rust free body a rare occurrence in E21s’. I saw it as an exceptional restoration puzzle that I was too willing to undertake. As a team, we sat down in our workshop and decided that this car would become the official Munich Icons demonstrator.

To make it look the part, we dismantled the vehicle and started rebuilding. We began by eliminating the small rust spots and repainted the body back to its original Polaris Silver Colour. A couple of lacquer layers later, we were able to polish the vehicle and get it to have a super smooth finish. To make it a conversational piece, we went ahead and did the following installations:
• A replacement of an entirely built 2.7L stroker M20 engine with a flowed head that pushes out 200hp.
• A remapped ECU Full Stainless steel competition exhaust
• Super light steel flywheel
• Fast road cam

The car sits pretty on a set of BC Racing coilers with specific spring rates and poly bushes all around. Currently, we are developing a custom rear suspension beam that will accept an E30 differential. The beam will adjust fully thus curing the negative rear chamber and adjust toe as needed. When these changes are adopted, we shall switch the standard 5 speed with a 6-speed manual. We are harvesting a set of vented disc brakes and an uprated rear-suspension from another BMW model. These parts will be installed in the back. With these installations, the car will have better-stopping power in as much as we are sticking with the original handbrake system. The front brakes are being fabricated now as all the development on them is done. We have based the systems on e39 discs and calipers.

Interior of e21
The interior of this car to me is the most exciting bit.

Don’t forget, we shall be using this as our track-toy vehicle, so in this light, we went for a racing car interior albeit with additional refinements. We have spent a great deal of time in creating something unique with a high finish level. We have made use of exotic materials including embossed leather, carbon-fiber and aluminum. The center console, the door panels and a range of other stuff are all wrapped in bright red leather.

The dashboard is wrapped in real carbon-fiber and complements the carbon-fibre backs from the Bride Stradia seats that are covered adequately in Italian red leather.

I need to add that the embossed leather we used was precisely for this project. We went ahead and custom ordered plain grey carpet too! Used the same carpets to cover the rear seat delete panels. The reputable Schroth safety belts wa also put in. We have included a beautiful CAE race shifter that is not only eye-catching but makes crisp and direct gear changes.

Get this, the instruments in the cluster have been pulled off an Alpina. We still have several gauges to install, and we shall place them in the ashtray position as it is not needed.

Exterior of E21
As for the exterior, we have a set of original-multi piece WRD Mesh wheels. We have installed 8X17 at the front and 9X17 at the rear; An offset 5 all around. To clear the wheels, we rolled and slightly pulled the arches.

When it comes to the lights; the ones at the front are crosshair e30 units with lenses that sit in adapted e21 frames. The rear cluster lights are color-coded red.

We have installed a BBS bumper at the front, and a Zender spoiler sits pretty on the boot. Some of the team members have been tasked with redesigning carbon fiber bumpers together with smooth side trim.

A cafe racer is an additional touch we have added to this masterpiece. To entice the people, I settled on building this biked basing it on a 1980 BMWR100RS. It comes with the same color scheme and uses a similar red embossed Italian leather just like the car. The bike also features some carbon fiber parts and to top it all off the wheels on this two-wheeler beast resemble the WRD design.

Now to arouse yours and everybody’s curiosity, we are having a custom trailer made.

So What Are Munich Icons Future Plans?
After we finish with this e21 project currently underway, we have set our sights far into the future. Some of the big plans we have included some specific E21 products; this decision comes after my failed attempt to get parts that I wanted. A lot of the parts we have used in the project car above are custom made, to make it easier, we shall produce these parts in small series under the Munich Icons brand name. But as of now, we are a known BC Racing products retailer.

Another plan is to embrace the R3born project fully. The project revolves around the full makeover of the iconic 323i.
Having started on this project last autumn and releasing the first images in November, we are seeing people branding it a “Singer E21” that can only be seen as a compliment. Just like other projects we have undertaken in the past, our approach will be similar in certain areas and different in others. Beginning with several select bodies, we plan on taking the E21 through a series of modifications before it transforms into an R3born.

All the bolt-on body panels are forged from carbon fiber that includes the rear quarter panels as well. We aim at having the total weight of the final product close to 1,000 kilos.

When it comes to the mechanical department; we shall include a choice of three power outputs starting with a 230HP 3.0L M20 engine. All the restored vehicles will come with 6-speed manual transmissions.

For the interior; we shall custom build this using the finest materials, also including different seat designs in-line with the customer wants and needs. Wheel design is made specifically for the R3born project. It’s a blend between BMW multispoke and Alpina style design. It’s sporty, aggressive but still looks classy at the same time. All the brake parts and suspensions will be unique to this car; built to a high standard as usual.

Editor’s Note
Make sure to follow Munich icons on Instagram @munichicons
And check out their website


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