Back in black: The M3 returns to the road

After bidding a fond farewell to the Bismarck, Motormessenger finally got round to rousing the M3 from its winter slumber…

I definitely did not leave the handbrake on when I parked up in October. So why is the wheel sticking? 

I thought I was doing the responsible thing by storing the M3 away from the salt and slush of a Scottish winter. Tucked up in gear beside my Dad’s baby-blue ’73 DSuper5, the M3 was delicately positioned between a stone wall and the crumbling Frenchman for five or so months and covered with soft sheets.

Bathtime for the M3

Now, with my O/S/R wheel sticking, that tight positioning didn’t seem like such a great idea as I rocked the car back and forth to loosen the pad from the disc.

After a quick jacking-up, it was off with the wheel and the limpet-like grip was soon relieved by swift knocks to the hub with a rubber mallet.

Out she rolled into a bright morning, water vapour rising from the four stubby pipes at the rear. It started first time, too.

So the M3 is back to it’s loud, rear-driven ways. But for how long? 

Motormessenger | BMW | 523i | E39 | Titan Silver | Project Bismarck

End of term: The 523i #ProjectBismarck

Last time Motormessenger updated you on #ProjectBismarck, the battered old 523i was preparing to take up winter duties in lieu of the M3.

Motormessenger | BMW | 523i | E39 | Titan Silver | Project Bismarck

19 years of abuse later, this thing still looks alright.

Despite being a heavy, rear-wheel drive automatic saloon, the old bus has been an excellent winter steed over gripless icy inner-city streets. It’s coped well with freezing winter mornings, ferried myself and friends across Scotland with ease and run faultlessly throughout. Sadly, by the time you read this, the land yacht will be onto its next owner.

With a change in holiday plans afoot for Summer 2017, the BMW became surplus to requirements. It was with reluctance that we put it up for sale earlier this month, but to our surprise, someone else wanted it as badly as we originally did – with it selling only three hours after it went up for sale.

Motormessenger | BMW | 523i | E39 | Titan Silver | Project Bismarck

Behind this wooden flap is a tape deck. Very 1998.

So what are the abiding memories that can you take away from running a 19 year-old, rusty and battered saloon car as your daily?

For a start, it’s immensely satisfying to know that you’ve nothing to fear from other drivers. Someone hit your door? No problem, the paint is already marked. Got to stand on the brakes hard? It’s alright, the brake pads are only worth a tenth of the value of the car.

Motormessenger | BMW | 523i | E39 | Titan Silver | Project Bismarck

Yes, that really was the mileage. The 2.5 straight-six engine was a peach too.

In today’s world, where even a mid-range Golf is touching £28,000, it’s refreshing to find that you can have perfectly serviceable transport for only a few hundred pounds. That’s if you don’t mind a few dents and the general appearance of a car that has spent its previous life in a pinball machine.

However, it’s not all bad news – Motormessenger will still be taking part in a roadtrip this summer down to the 2017 British Grand Prix.

Whether or not that will be in a new vehicle, though, remains to be seen.

Motormessenger | BMW | 523i | E39 | Titan Silver | Project Bismarck

Farewell, old cruiser.