Martynas is restoring his E30 and sharing his experience with you. This time we are going to show and tell how he prepared and painted his car without professional equipment and a ton of money. While Martynas certainly has his hands growing from the right place, he had no experience in restoring cars. So hopefully this will be somewhat inspirational for you – you can do this too!
This is a second part of article series dedicated to Martynas’ E30. In the first article we looked over the condition of the car, main defects and Martynas’ vision of how it will look like when restoration project is completed. We invite you to read that article first.
In short, this E30 was not in a good shape. However, it is an old car and it could certainly be worse. While some rust was immediately visible, it was only an indication of what can be found underneath some of the body pannels and the layer of paint. So the first step in preparation for a new paintjob was removing fenders to inspect for rust.
And, of course, there was rust. All plastic components that were on the way, such as the grill and the rear lights, were removed and then Martynas could start sanding old paint away. This, of course, revealed even more rust that was not previously visible as well as some pretty deep dents.
Rust was sanded away completely and bigger spots as well as dents were filled with autobody filler. As you can see in the picture, there were many spots that had to be filled and sanded flush with the rest of the body, but eventually, after several days, work was finished.
Then it was time to spray the primer. Most people think that this has to be done professionally in a painting booth. And it’s true – results should be better if you take your car to a paint shop. However, Martynas wanted to do it himself and there really is no reason not to try. While it is easy to mess up, you can always sand little drips or dust away. So Martynas sprayed his E30 just on his lawn outside of the garage. All wheels and windows were masked before this operation.
While results were not perfect – several insects and some dust landed on wet primer – proper sanding fixed everything. And then it was time for painting. This, of course, cannot be done outdoors.
Martynas put up a temporary painting booth in a garage using just some plastic sheets. The goal is to let the paint cure uninterrupted by dust, insects or rain. His make-shift painting booth worked just fine. He did buy a good quality spray gun, but didn’t spend a fortune on it. The colour is called “Extra Black” and it seems to live up to its name.
One layer of paint and a couple of layers of lacquer were sprayed on the car. Paint layer was pretty much perfect, but there are some drips in the clear coat. It was made thicker for this exact purpose – imperfections will be gone in polishing.
This is how the car looked like after it was assembled back together.
And this is what the new exhaust looks like.
With this exterior restoration is almost done. It does still require some polishing, but the clear coat is still not cured enough for that. However, E30 is already up on its feet – it is mechanically well and safe to drive. By the way, speaking of the feet, this came in the mail –
But more about the wheels and how the car looks with them in the next article. Soon it will be time to start working on the interior of the E30, which is not in a good shape at all.
If you have any questions about the build, you can ask them on our Facebook page or via email email@example.com.
BMW 3-series E30 is kind of a weird car. While it is not rare or particularly beautiful, many car enthusiasts are craving to get their hand on one. Martynas is one of them and currently, while you are reading this article, he is working on making something that will turn out to be his dream car. And we will follow him on every step of the process.
While E30 is not a rare exotic car, enthusiasts like Martynas like it for how it looks. Its design – straight lines and sharp corners – stand out from the traffic flow in a modern city. Also, it is quite a small car, which seems to be perfectly proportioned. And because it is not rare or historically valuable, you can have fun while restomoding it to perfection. Martynas’ E30 will get its uniqueness, which it is lacking now, in the process of restoration.
What is it? It is a 1990 E30 coupe with a 1.8 litre 113 AG (83 kW) engine. During its decades of service, this car was never babied and it reflects in current state of the vehicle.
Current state of Martynas’ E30
We have to say, while it is old and crusty, Martynas’ E30 is definitely not too far gone. The biggest mechanical faults came from neglect – this car has been left standing outside for some time. However, it does start and drive for a little, although some of its suspension components are in urgent need of replacement. That is not really a concern as Martynas would’ve redone entire suspension anyway, since he wishes the car sits lower and handles a little bit sportier.
Engine is producing some unpleasant noises. It is probably a faulty compensator, but a major overhaul is needed. Again – nothing too dramatic. Martynas is considering a new engine – something with more power and nicer singing voice. We will see if he fixes this engine and keeps it or replaces it with something more special immediately.
The appearance of the car is a totally different story. Paint is in a pretty bad state, showing a lot of rust on the bottom portion of the body. In fact, the bottom of the car had to be patched up, because some places were completely eaten away by rust. Rust will be healed and the entire car will be repainted in the same colour – black.
Meanwhile interior is quite ugly at this point. Driver’s seat is torn to pieces and steering wheel is worn away too. It is a beautiful rim too, from M Division, so it has to be restored and reinstalled.
All in all, this car could be quickly up and running after decent fix-up. However, Martynas’ vision is a bit different.
While Martynas, like many other BMW fans out there, likes the lines of the body of the original E30 there is definitely some room for improvement. And, as mentioned earlier, because this car is not original, you get to do whatever you want without the sense of guilt, which comes from ruining a historic artefact. So what Martynas will do?
His E30 will wear original BBS rims, will sit closer to the road and will sport a fresh and shiny black paintjob. Wider wheels and lower stance will completely transform the looks of the car – coupe will look athletic and will leave no doubts that it belongs to a car guy. But appearance is just part of the story.
Martynas wants his BMW to be sporty. One of the ways to get more power it to install a new engine, but it is quite a complicated task and there are other options too. Because work on this E30 has already started, Nodum.org will be happy to report, which route Martynas went. What we do know is that exhaust system will be altered significantly, to let E30 breathe easier and sing nicer.
And that’s about it as far as we know. It will unravel as it moves along and we will be happy to report on the progress. You may say that there are hundreds of E30’s with BBS rims, lowered stance and loud engine note, but we think Martynas’ one is going to be just that little bit special. And it is always interesting to see restomoding projects.
If you have any questions about the project that you would like us to answer in the upcoming article, comment on our Facebook page.
If you’re starting out woodworking or doing pretty much any kind of craft, you are probably going to end up making jewelry or some other accessories. We don’t know why, but it seems to be an inevitable path that every handy person goes through. Today we are going to tell you about an experiment and we will let you decide if it was successful. It all started from an earring kit and an idea to make foxes.
As you may know, I gladly cross boundaries to do woodworking at home, in a small apartment. As quiet as my woodturning practices are, they are quite annoying to clean up. So, for a change, I decided to try something new – to make a pair of simple wooden earrings. Which is nowhere near as easy as it sounds.
You may think that making simple jewelry from wood is not that hard – you just need to cut q shape out, sand and glue it on some earring you bought from a crafts’ store. That’s what I did, basically, but it was far from easy. I bought some pairs of cheap simple earring kits from Perlina.lt. And decided I was going to make foxes – a cartoon-fox-faced shape was requested by the girl who was going to wear the earrings if they happened to be successful.
Now. Wood is not the ideal material for this kind of thing. It reacts to moisture contents in its surroundings by shrinking and expanding. That means that the glue would eventually let go or the wooden part would curl up and look ugly. Plywood is much more stable in this regard and, in my opinion, is the ideal choice. But store-bought plywood is kind of thick for earrings so I decided to make my own.
I used my Stanley No.120 blockplane (the one you see in the header of the website) to try and make some very thin black alder shavings. I then glued them by alternating the grain direction into three little squares – one was a spare one in case I messed something up. This was all an experiment – I am sure many people have done it before, but I thought of it by myself. In this way, I got five-ply plywood that’s very thin and strong enough for the earrings.
I found a cartoon fox face that I liked and tried cutting it out from my plywood using a hobby knife. Didn’t work that well, so I switched to scissors, which worked much better. Then I sanded the edges smooth and shaped the foxes. It already looked like my experiment was a success – the homemade plywood worked very well.
Then I used a two-part epoxy to glue the earrings to the foxes and I let it dry for a very long time. At this point, I could’ve spray-lacquered the earring and call it done, but the faces looked kind of dull. Black alder is not really a beautiful wood and it looked empty. So I decided to give faces to the foxes.
I drew them with a black marker. I have no artistic talent – if I did, painting the faces would be a better option. But I decided to go for a “doodle on the notebook” style and it worked well enough for what it was. But the spray lacquer (probably a solvent in it) reacted to the marker and washed it off. It was ruined. I tried sanding it off, but in the process the earring part fell off and the plywood became too thin, while ugly marks were still visible.
Just to save the situation, I decided to add two more layers – one to the front, and one to the back over the flat part of the earring. In this way, the plywood will be the right thickness and earrings will be stronger. After this was dry I reshaped them and noticed that now, after the second round on the sandpaper, foxes are way different from one another. I tried making them similar, but still, you can tell they are not made professionally. Then I drew faces with a simple black ballpoint pen – foxes became cats. Good enough, I think, although they are totally different.
After several coats of spray lacquer the earrings were done. They don’t look that good but I learned a lot in the process. And they are being worn, which is quite a recognition. Now I think I have new ideas about how to use my homemade plywood, but more about that next time.
We, car people, are a weird bunch. We don’t care about the practicality, reliability or the cost of our project – the enthusiasm for the automotive world has no rationality. And every once in a while this liberated mentality of a petrolhead produces something we cannot stop ourselves from calling a gem. A father-and-son team in Lithuania has just completed their first home-made car – a tiny cute GAZ-67 replica.
The Gasnauskas family in Kaunas, the second largest Lithuanian city, has a rich collection of historic cars. They say it contains around 30 cars, some of them still waiting for restoration. Valdemaras and his sons love restoring old vehicles – the process of turning a rust bucket into a shiny automotive perfection is entirely fascinating. However, when I asked them what is the most valuable car in their collection they did not take long to answer – it is “Svajonė” and their own little GAZ-67 replica.
And for good reasons – both of these vehicles are completely unique, without any equivalents in the world. “Svajonė” (“Dream”) is a homemade car from the 1960’s, which is beautiful in its own way, but deserves its own article in the future. And the GAZ-67 replica is the child of the talented hands of Valdemaras and his son, Dainius.
There have been several GAZ-67 off-roaders in the Gasnauskas’ collection. They are the soviet analogue of the WW2 era Willys JEEP. GAZ-67 was a 4X4 manufactured from 1943 to 1953. The Gasnauskas have frequently taken their restored SUV’s to meeting of off-roaders where they covered kilometres of mud and water – they certainly don’t baby their old cars. One time, Dainius’ daughter, who was then seven, mentioned that she would like to have her own GAZ and the light bulb was on – Valdemaras and Dainius decided to make a tiny GAZ-67 replica for the children of the family to enjoy. And for themselves to enjoy the creative building process.
They started making the little car back in 2011 by analysing plans they found on the internet. Dainius used to look at the plan and then he would make his own sketches on paper, just to visualize the car a little better. And then the work started.
The body of the baby GAZ-67 is made from actual steel. Valdemaras and Dainius cut everything out from sheets of steel and then bent it to the right shape. Proportions were key – the car had to be 33 % smaller than the original. Thankfully, the Gasnauskas have restored GAZ-67 vehicles before, so they knew its structure pretty well.
Then they made the frame. This is a part that no one will ever see – it hides under the body of the car. However, the team still made it perfectly as it should be. They made no mistake –even though this car was meant for children, the two enthusiasts spent a lot of time making sure everything was to scale. The frame had to be slightly modified so as to accommodate a different engine.
The original GAZ-67 was a 4X4, powered by a large 3.3 litre four cylinder engine. For this replica, they could not find such a tiny engine, so instead a 150 cc Loncin unit was used. It is powerful enough and fits the car pretty well. Both the engine and the rear axle have been taken from an ATV – the baby GAZ-67 is rear-wheel-drive.
They started making the suspension components, but soon life took over and the work stopped. In fact, the frame and partially finished body were standing in the corner of their garage for more than 5 years, until the Gasnauskas finally decided to finish it this year. The work started again, with the fabrication of components that they could not get from other vehicles. Again – the attention to detail was phenomenal.
The suspension was also made to represent the original one. All measurements match up perfectly, as well as the suspension geometry. A surprising fact is that even the headlights, wheels and tires are exactly 33 % smaller than the original – a lucky find.
When all the parts were completed, everything was primed and painted. This was done in-house and still looks perfect. After assembly, the car was completed. And boy, it does look like a marvellous piece of craftsmanship.
No detail has been overlooked when building this car. Small compartments dotted around the body could be fake – no one would complain about the lack of authenticity . But they are real – with tiny little hinges and tiny little locking mechanisms. It all works beautifully and you can really tell that the car was built by people who love this craft.
How does it drive? I was lucky enough to get a ride in this vehicle and can assure you that it is pretty swift. Valdemaras and Dainius did use gear reduction in thecar’s transmission to give it a little more torque, but it is still light on its feet. It doesn’t cope very well with corners, because it has a live axle with no differential, but it works well enough and it is never scary. Unless you’re cautious about the lack of doors and roof.
I am 183 cm tall and I fitted perfectly in the little GAZ-67, with even room to spare. It was comfortable for what it is, because the seat is mounted slightly further away than in the original off-roader. It is done this way so that adults could drive the little car too. I could feel some vibration from the engine in the footwell, which came as no surprise, since the engine is rigidly mounted to the frame, but it is barely noticeable on the go. The baby GAZ-67 has a four speed manual gearbox which came with the engine.
When asked if they would like to make a completely unique full-size car, the men did not seem interested – they said it is not something they are planning to do. Instead, they will focus on restoring old cars that they already own. Even at the moment they are preparing something new, but we will have to wait for quite some time to see it. But when we do – you will be able to read about it on Nodum.org.
Another project is to teach Valdemaras’ granddaughters to drive the little GAZ-67. This is quite a task in itself, because the car can be dangerous – it is quite fast. But, when they learn it, we can be certain that the young generation will be caught in the life-long passion of the Gasnauskas men.
If you ever come to the Baltic States, especially Lithuania, you will notice that a big part of our souvenirs are made from amber. Lithuanians will always suggest that you bring amber home and will be keen to mention at least a couple of amber-related places that you must visit if you really want to experience what Lithuania is all about. Why? Because amber is a big part of our identity. But to really appreciate and understand amber, you have to hunt it yourself. And here is how.
Most of the souvenirs you see in Lithuanian streets, especially in the western side of the country, are not made from Lithuanian amber. The simple truth is that there are no amber mines in the country, meaning that larger amounts – needed to satisfy the jewelry, souvenir and medical industries – have to be imported from Kaliningrad, Russia. However, Lithuanians still say that amber is the Lithuanian gold. We just get it in a different way.
While Russians in Kaliningrad are mining it, Lithuanians get their amber by hunting it in the Baltic Sea. An intriguing hobby which requires a ton of enthusiasm and skills. Not many tourists know that going amber hunting yourself is not only possible, but extremely addictive.
How NODUM came to amber hunting?
Amber is believed to have some medical properties. Lithuanians, for hundreds of years, used amber to make amulets to protect them from evil spirits. The rest of the world, unfamiliar with the Baltic gold, is still starting to discover amber. In Brazil, for example, amber necklaces are becoming more and more popular. Lithu Âmbar, a Brazilian company, is selling amber jewelry to people with great success and outstandingly positive customer support.
Brazilians believe that amber jewelry helps fighting some skin conditions, helps babies to go through teething, and much more. Therefore, since Lithu Âmbar is selling amber from Lithuania, it only made sense that the owners of the business, Mara and Marcelo, would come to Lithuania to see how we deal with amber, what we make of it and how it is taken from the sea. They are making a documentary about it, which will appear sometime soon on the Lithu Âmbar YouTube channel.
That’s where we came in. We helped our Brazilian friends to cope with the language barrier and to gather some needed contacts. It was an opportunity for us to stay in the seaside for several days and to learn something really cool and interesting.
Coming back to the story, one of the things Mara and Marcelo wanted to try out was amber catching. So we met with Igoris, an experienced amber catcher and exceptionally good guide.
Theory before practice
Igoris Osnač is an experienced amber hunter and a guide. He took us to Karklė, where he started by giving us a brief introduction about amber. We found out that amber burns and that it floats in salty water, but that the Baltic Sea is not salty enough, so there amber stays at the bottom. Thus, the best time to hunt amber is after a storm happens. We also found out that there are hundreds of different colours of amber. Igoris said that black amber is often left behind, because other people do not recognize it.
Igoris explained that you can distinguish real amber from fake by rubbing it between your hands. When it gets warm, it starts producing a distinctive smell, resembling pine trees. We also watched a short video showing several people harvesting amber from the rough Baltic Sea waters. One person in the video happily said that he collected around 3 kilograms of amber that day and it wasn’t the end yet. That amount is worthed several thousands of euros, by the way.
Not going to lie, at this point it seemed as if amber hunters do it for the money. The ability to earn in just a couple of hours more than many people do in a month is really appealing. However, this attitude quickly changed when the time came for us to go hunt some amber.
Going amber hunting for the first time
Igoris provided us with appropriate waterproof clothing. They were really warm – despite it being quite windy, I did not feel cold at all. We grabbed some special homemade nets and went to the beach.
Immediately, I noticed how Igoris eyes changed. They started scanning the area, smiling at every positive sign he saw. He noticed birds and some dark spots in the sea under them. These spots were a mixture of sea weed and small driftwood pieces. Birds are attracted to them because they can find shrimps and some other fauna in there. We were attracted because that is where we will get our amber from.
This is how amber catching looks like
Amber weighs about the same as the sea weed and driftwood, so it oftentimes gets tangled in them. That is why we set out eyes on a small dark spot in the sea and, while walking there, were looking at the sand, trying to find some pieces freshly washed out by the waves. Igoris was exceptionally good at it – obviously. He was pointing at the pieces and we picked them up. I couldn’t understand how he finds them so easily when I cannot – small amber pieces are almost undistinguishable in between pebbles that have almost the same colour. “Amber is shiny”, explained Igoris and we moved along.
Then the time had come for us to go to the sea. We were about knee-deep in the water and listened to Igoris instructions. The technique is rather simple – you wait for a wave to come, poke the net in and pull it out before that wave retreats. You repeat this process until your net is just about full of weeds and little pebbles, then you drag it to the beach and dump its contents on the sand. Quick search through that little pile of sea weed, rocks and an occasional shrimp (I threw the one I found back in the sea) and you’re ready to go back in. I lost the track of time, but, I guess, in around 45 minutes I found only several small amber pieces, really nothing spectacular. But I finally understood what amber hunting is all about.
What is amber hunting really?
Igoris had such a vivid passion for amber hunting you had to be completely dissociated from this world not to notice it. As soon as we came down to the beach his eyes were on fire and he looked much happier. In many ways, he reminded me a child in a candy store with a 5 euro bill – there was no possibility for him to go home loaded with his treasure, but he was so happy.
Time flied so quickly. At first, I felt like a gambler, but I soon stopped caring about not actually catching much amber. I enjoyed the process and immediately started thinking that I will definitely do that again sometime in the future.
I don’t know why, but all the build-up before the real amber hunting trip is so attractive. You have to check the weather information, wait for the perfect storm. Then, when the time comes you have to meticulously choose a place where you will stand and work with your net. And then you hunt amber, which may or may not come with a reward.
“I can’t stop thinking about fishing amber. I really want to come back”, says Mara and I’m on the same page. This amber fever that was burning Igoris from inside is actually contagious and if you ever get a chance to try it, don’t miss the opportunity!
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