The Bimmer's battery compartment is looking a lot better after a good clean and a serious seeing-to with a wire brush. With the surface rust scraped away and the whole area wiped and dried a second time, I applied some rust-inhibiting primer and left that to dry overnight. 

For now, I've lined the area with some thin cardboard and seated the battery on top of that, but in the coming weeks it'll get another coat of paint - probably black or dark green - and that should, hopefully, be the end of all that.

The new battery has been behaving itself, too. It's brilliant; luxuries such as being able to drive with the headlights switched on are now a given. I did return from two and a half weeks away at Christmas to no power, but I'd forgotten to disconnect it beforehand, so I can forgive it that.

On to more interesting things, then, such as sorting out the way it looks. First to come off were the Heko wind deflectors, which seem pointless in a country that enjoys only a few weeks of proper window-down weather each year. I approached them with caution, spent some time looking for fixings, then got bored and yanked them off. Turns out it was only adhesive, and the car looks immediately better for it.

Next, the wheels. My colleagues' initial horror at the 5's Alpina-style 18in jobs moved gradually towards mild distaste the more it hung around the car park. I thought I was sold too, until a set of original 15in cross-spoked BBS-style wheels with (just about) legal tyres popped up on eBay. The hammer fell at £100, and they're now waiting to go on.

Some of you may remember Mikey at Meridien Majestic in Bournemouth, who did some work on my XJ6 and featured in some of that car’s updates. Well, probably much to his dismay, he kindly agreed to have a poke around my latest old crate. As such, I've purchased new engine and transmission oil, spark plugs and air, oil and fuel filters for us to swap in. I got all that for just £55 in the Euro Car Parts sale, too.

So there's a lot to look forward to. Even after ensuring all my tyre pressures were correct and enjoying a better ride and drive as a result, I'm still excited to see how much improved the ride will be with 3in taken out of the rim and a big chunk of rubber put in its place. The last job will be that rather 'Halfords' exhaust, but I'll need to save up for that.

As always, I'm keen to hear your thoughts on whether I'm improving things or completely ruining them. Also, does anybody want a set of fake Alpina alloys? I'll do you a good price.

Previous blog posts:

Part one

Part two