Brünhilda - Blog

Home to the latest updates and stories on the life of Brünhilda. Written in similar fashion to my modelling updates with the newest entry at the top, only this time with an easy and accessible archive section on the right-hand side (or via the button below for your mobile devices). Click on the title of any post you'd like to visit and it'll take you straight there, and if you're here for the latest update, simply scroll down to the first blog entry you see.


Get ready, get set, go!

30 Apr. 2020 | Stoughton, UK | By Niek Nijsen

And we’re off! After many months of “supporting” work in and around the garage, I’ve finally started work on the actual car. What a milestone that is!

You may have already seen the very first episode of Project C.A.R.™ in which I introduce the project when I announced it in the previous blog update. If you haven’t already, you can find it on the video page of Brünhilda and YouTube or simply scroll down to the previous blog entry.

The time had come to begin work on the car. However, it required a good clean out before I could do that. When the car was moved, I had to put all the (spare) parts and tools inside so that needed to come out again. I noticed there was a lot of evidence of mice living in there over the winter. As clearing out progressed, it became clear that the blankets and left rear seat had been eaten badly. A large hole on the backrest appeared and it took two bags in the hoover/vacuum cleaner to get all the debris out. At this point I still hadn’t located the actual nest and could only image what the damage underneath the seat could be. The cleaning process then moved to the boot which turned out to be in pretty decent condition. Finally, now that this dirty job was done, I could begin taking the car apart.

I decided that the interior would be the best place to start. The front seats were removed (covered in full detail in the next episode of Project C.A.R.™) and the rear seats followed soon after. The latter isn’t covered in the BMW manual, so it’s definitely worth watching if you’re working on your interior as well (or simply interested in watching the series). It turned out that the mouse, which was found dead in its nest underneath the rear seats, had eaten most of the centre armrest and support above it. Another round with the vacuum cleaner followed to get rid of the nest.

With that gone and the seats removed, I now had the space to work on the rest. The carpet followed next and came out almost in one piece. From what I can gather it’s not an original as this was a single piece whereas the originals consist of multiple parts. Anyway, I had to take the centre console out as well as parts of the handbrake and seatbelts before I could remove it completely. All of which will be covered in the restoration series in the near future.

As part of the centre console had already been removed I continued the dismantling of the interior with the dash. Now the bottom halve is relatively easy to remove, especially because I only put it together last year, so it was still fresh in my memory. But as soon as I got to the top half, it became a real nightmare. Again, the manual is of no use as it covers the Bavaria version, not the E9’s more modern dash. Online research got me a bit further, but no definitive answer there either. Most suggested the front windshield is removed to get the dash out, but that wasn’t an option for me just yet as I can’t get any help at the moment due to the COVID-19 restrictions. I had to find a way to remove it from the inside. A slow process and a lot of hidden screws and clips later I managed to get the whole dash out in one piece. The wood is actually in good condition still and all will be cleaned and stored as it’s being replaced with a Group 2 racing dash. The bit that turned out to be the biggest struggle of it all was the original heater, which was glued in place with (too much) sealant in order to make sure it wouldn’t leak. At least 2 hours later before I got that removed and the entire dash was now out.

Lastly, I stripped the boot (trunk) of the spare wheel, fuel tank (another dilemma) and covering panels. The rear lights and wiring were also removed along with all the model badges and boot locking mechanism. All of which was pretty straight forward, aside from the fuel tank. This was supposed to drop out once the bolts had been removed, but the seal that’s placed to stop it from leaking had completely solidified with the car. Even a positive “tap” with a mallet hammer didn’t do the job. I left it overnight, thinking I’d try something else the next morning. Turns out that gravity can be your best friend and overnight the weight of the tank had taken its toll on the seal and dropped down out of the car. The boot was now considered “empty” and ready for blasting. Only thing left to do is to remove the boot lid itself.

And that brings us to a quick update on Project C.A.R.™ and the series’ episodes. As mentioned, if just uploaded the second episode in which we prepare the car and garage. Still now work on the car itself in this one, but that will soon change when I get to upload the next episode in the series. In that particular one we’ll cover the removal of the seats. I’m working on creating a separate page for the restoration on the website, so you can expect a brand-new home for it by the end of this month.

With all that being said, we’ve arrived at the end of this blog update. Don’t forget to watch the latest episode and subscribe if you haven’t already. Thank you for joining me and I look forward seeing you at the next one!


The launch of Project C.A.R.™

30 Mar. 2020 | Stougthon, UK | By Niek Nijsen

The biggest news you may have already seen on the various social media channels and the website, is that I’ve launched the teaser video of “Project C.A.R.”, which stands for “Classic Automobile Restoration” and will encompass all work related to the restoration of Brünhilda in many free-to-watch episodes over the coming months. If you haven’t seen it already, the teaser can be seen here:

Alongside the teaser was the launch of the introduction video, which explains the concept of Project C.A.R. in more detail, including the future planned teaching series. The latter currently still in its concept phase, it will provide more detail on how to restore your car from your home garage, many tools and documents to members that will help you with your restoration project, including planning tools, expense & inventory trackers, maintenance overviews and much more. This particular video is located at the top of the “Brünhilda Video Page” and the “Project C.A.R.” playlist on YouTube, but for easy viewing it's also included in this particular blog update:

While I spend a lot of time at the computer editing these videos, and even more recording them (a total of 49 attempts before I was happy), I’ve been busy preparing the garage for the work to start. With a small area to work in, smart organisation of the available space is a high priority. I’ve finally installed the missing shelves between the toolbox and shelving unit, and I’ve installed a compressed air system that provides me with a connection point on both sides of the garage. More details can be seen during the quick tour in Episode 01 or in the future special.

Last but definitely not least, I’ve ordered a new camera (GoPro Hero8), which allows me to record in 4K definition as well as live stream in HD quality. Now I’m still working with my usual HD cameras and the first mini episode in which I prepare the car for restoration is currently being rendered. This episode holds a big surprise for us all, where it turns out the car has been housing quite a few little friends over the winter (whom clearly paid the rent in an unusual fashion)…

As you can see, plenty has happened over the last few weeks and there’s a lot more to follow in the coming months. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to the social media channels and newsletter.

Next Previous

Home at last

01 Jan. 2020 | Stoughton, UK | By Niek Nijsen

Brünhilda is home. It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally been able to move her to the newly prepared garage. Over the last two years a lot has happened in the background, which all began with the original move to the UK a few years ago. On the 13th January 2018, mum & dad brought her across on a trailer from her long-term storage back in The Netherlands. Dad and I had been working on restoring her for quite some years earlier (back in 2007), but all came to a halt when I moved to the USA in 2011. She’s been gathering dust ever since. As I didn’t have a garage to store and work on her yet, a family member offered their garage for temporary use.

I slowly began working away at the list of things to do, primarily sorting out the wiring and rebuilding the interior. Progress was slow and difficult, as I had limited knowledge about the car and as a result spent most of my time staring at her trying to figure out what to do. It wasn’t until Christmas 2018 when I reached a big break through. Together with dad we got the engine running again, after a 12-year silence. To our surprise only a few attempts with easy-start fluid were needed in order to get her roaring. I must say she sounds loud, although it might have something to do with the fact that the exhaust hadn’t been connected yet. Either way, it was like music to our ears, and we were very happy to say the least.

The months that followed I finished the interior and elected to remove the LPG tank that was fitted in the booth. The main reason for this is the fact that there’s hardly any LPG available in the UK, and we’d be carrying a lot of dead weight around during rallies. The decision was made to remove the installation all together. As a result, a lot of holes which allowed hoses and bolts to go through the chassis were now open and uncovered, prime areas for rust to fester. All restoration work came to a grinding halt, again.

Many months passed, as dad and I decided on what to do. Eventually we elected to start over, back to square one with a full bare metal restoration. It would be the best base for what we had in mind, participating in classic car rallies. A lot of modifications will be required in order to prepare the car as best as we can, including the fitting of a roll cage, so the new approach will lend itself perfectly for this. The next step, however, would mean work needed to be done to the garage at my new home, which we owned since August 2019. We began by modifying the roof support structure in order to fit a two-post car lift and allow it to go to full height. Next we build a desk and various storage facilities that would hold all the parts during the restoration process. Although not completely finished, Brünhilda was moved from her current storage to the new garage on the 15th November 2019. With a bit of luck, I’ll be able to finish the garage over the next few weeks and the restoration process can finally begin.

To kick off the project and as a bit of a motivation boost, dad and I went up to GSM performance in Nottingham to try new seats on 24 November 2019. We tried many different types and shapes and eventually our choice fell on the Rev II seats with matching 4-point harness, both by Sparco. Can’t wait to get these fitted!