Wes’ earliest BMW memory would be from about 1987 (he was 7 years old) when he was given a blue CSL ‘batmobile’ toy car by his grandmother. It was and still is his favourite childhood toy. Fast forward to 1990 when his parents decided to buy a 1989 BMW E30. When they came to the dealership to pick up the car they were told there had been a slight mix up. “So what's the problem”, Wes’ mother asked as the car looked fine from where they were standing. “Well, erm, um, our sister dealership in Melbourne forgot to send a couple of important things with the car”. “What do you mean it looks fine to me”. “They forgot the rear doors”.
Somehow both dealerships managed to mess up the paperwork and instead of sending a sedan, Wes’ family received a coupé. Hardly a practical vehicle for a family with three kids aged ten and under. Seizing the opportunity his dad re-negotiated the price and they ended up taking the coupé. During his teens, Wes worked after school at the same dealership where his parents had bought the coupé, helping the mechanics. During that time, he got to see a range of BMWs either brought in for servicing, in the showroom or courtesy of the “BMW Experience”. What really took his eye was a Taiga 3.0 CS that sat in the used car lot for what seemed like an eternity. It was probably just too over the top for Tasmania in the 1990s, especially in that flashy green colour.
When it came time for Wes to buy his first car there was only one choice: a black BMW E36. This car saw him through university before he bought his next BMW, a 1986 E30 325i convertible. This one needed a lot of work though. He spent a year or so restoring it, which was hard going as he and his wife also had a 6-month-old daughter, Lola. Even then he would take Lola with him and have her just hang out in the car while he worked on it.
In 2017 Wes came across a Polaris 1972 BMW 3.0 CS and he was drawn to it immediately. These are fairly rare in Australia as they were never officially imported. The car was in another part of the continent very far away from Tasmania, but phone calls were made and lots of photos taken to show where the rust was. He bought the car and after a year driving of and planning, it went in for restoration. Together with Simon, an all around mechanic wiz, they brought the car back to its original beauty. For the colour they went with its factory colour, Ceylon Gold. Through the entire restoration process Lola was also a frequent visitor, always keen to see how her ‘sparkle car’ was coming along. One day during a coffee break Simon showed Wes a copy of ‘Classic Car’ magazine. There in the classifieds section was a barn find 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL, with a pretty high asking price. “Why don’t you buy that one too?” Simon said. The idea seemed completely out of the question. They hadn’t even finished the CS yet.
A month later the next issue of the magazine came out with the CSL still for sale, only now for the price it said ‘negotiable’. What’s the harm in just giving the seller a call, Wes thought. They chatted for an hour, the price came down further and Wes’ interest kept increasing. A month later he was on a 4-hour flight across Australia to look at the car. It had been off the road since 1983 and looked like it. That said, it had good bones and a lot of spare parts. It was there Wes had the closest thing to what some people would call ‘a moment of clarity’. He realized this might be the only time in his life where he would come across an unrestored CSL, not riddled with rust and for sale in Australia at a price that he could afford.
A few weeks later the car arrived in a shipping container at Wes’ workshop. The CS is now finished, but the CSL is just getting started. Since it has been off the road for so long, coupled with the usual CSL rust issues, the car will need a full restoration. Wes is hoping to have it on the road for his 40th birthday, but suspects it will more likely be for the car’s 50th.
Lola comes with him every weekend with her own tools as they continue pulling down the car ahead of the bodywork happening later in the year. She is as excited as Wes to see this restoration through. Hopefully soon enough she will have another ‘sparkle car’.