Photography by Scott Paterson @scottpatersonphoto
I will be the first to admit, before buying my Touring, I was never a “BMW Guy” I was too busy restoring two Classic Mini’s with my father at the time. It wasn’t until I found, my now good friend, Alex McArthur’s 328i Sport Touring on StanceWorks in 2009/10. It all changed after that. Back then, Alex’s Touring was super low on staggered Style 5’s and it was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I made the tough decision to part with the Mini’s, using the money to pay for the Touring and my first year of insurance.
I knew I wanted a 6 cylinder, manual, relatively low miles and the colour didn’t matter too much, as long as it wasn’t Boston Green. After a few months of looking, the car you see before you showed up not too far away. A completely standard, 323i SE in Titan Silver. Being this would be my first car and at 19, I didn’t want to attract too much un-wanted attention, so the plan was to keep it subtle and not too flashy with an OEM+ approach.
I was working part time at a body shop along the road from my house and shortly after, the car was in for paint. I had a full M Sport kit from a 3.2 M3 Evo to go on, I also had the arches rolled at the same time. Once the body work was sorted, I fitted some coilovers and a set of Staggered 17” Style 32’s and was super happy with the look. I gradually dialled the ride height as well as other things on the car.
A year or two later, I took a job just north of London, 450 miles from my current place. The Touring was stored for a year as I got another Touring to daily instead. Before finally moving the Touring to London, I went back to the bodyshop with it and with my father, replaced both the sills, shaved the side indicators as well as shaving and relocating the washer jets and tidying up a few rough edges that showed up after driving it through the winter.
After I was finally happy with the bodywork again, I set about fitting my dream wheels - E31 M System 2 or Throwing Stars as they’re most commonly called. I spent a lot of time getting them to look as good as I possibly could, I had the covers finished in Titan Silver with micro rainbow flake. I ordered some BC Coilovers with some custom spring rates, but I have modified them a little bit, to get it sitting just how I want. I am trying to track down some M System Turbine covers, to hopefully complete the look.
Over the last year I’ve accidentally spent most of my time on the Interior. I managed to source and fit a lot of Extended Leather parts, so the centre console/arm rest, glove-box, drivers side kick panel and door cards are all leather – It is quite a stark contrast to the grey cloth it had as standard. I re-trimmed the M Sport headlining in new black material, as the one I got started to sag – That combined with all the extra leather, really makes it a nice place to sit. There’s still a few bits yet to find, however I am having thoughts about changing up the colour, as the black tends to get a little lost.
I’ve also replaced most of the exterior trim from BMW. I think I just have the window rubbers left to do and a few little bits on the rear.
As far as future plans go, I just want to enjoy the car. I don’t plan on selling it, so the “To-do” list is about as long as my arm, I’m always doing little bits here and there, so I am happy for that just to continue. I’d just like to extend a quick wee thanks to Alex McArthur and Bastien Bochmann, without their advice and knowledge on Touring’s, I probably wouldn’t have mine. So thanks lads. And a thanks to my father as well, who’s been helping me ever since I got in to cars, his patience and willingness (sometimes un-willingness) to help has been amazing.