Hidden in a garage in Monaco for many years, this 1984 BMW E28 528i in Alpine White became a time capsule covered in dirt.

Despite the low mileage, the abandon for such a long period of time did not do it any favors. The Alpine White was faded to beige, coated with deep swirls and scratches, while the interior was filthy to the touch of any surface.

This detail is focused to reverse the neglect... and restore the reason why such cars like this should not be forgotten.

engine: M30B28 2.8l straight six
power: 181 hp @ 5800rpm
torque: 240nm @ 4200rpm
max speed: 215km/h
0-100km/h: 8.4 s
0-200km/h: -
transmission: 5 speed manual
powertrain layout: front engine / rear wheel drive.
weight: 1320kg
year: 1984

before the detail

With dirt ingrained into every crevice, from the outside the E28 looked dull and considerably aged.

The chrome trim was spotted, etched and had no shine, while the black plastic parts were sun burnt into a dark grey. Window rubbers were dry, with a thick layer of caked on grime and moss growing on its edges.

Rough to the touch, the Alpine White was covered in contamination and had several large, dry resin drops. The whole car was in need of a very deep and thorough clean, before any polishing could begin.


After the removal of the hubcaps, the wheels and caps were decontaminated and washed.

Next, the attention turned to the rain drains that were clogged with dirt. With the help of a brush and Q-tips were it got too tight, these were clean until water could freely flow once again. The window rubbers were scrubbed multiple times to remove the grime, sand and moss that was so deeply-seated after so many years.

After the thorough clean on all the little areas, the E28 was washed, decontaminated with clay to restore a smooth, clean paint surface and prepared to be rolled into the garage so the polishing process could begin.


While the focus of this detail was the exterior, this E28 couldn't go back without a detail on the interior. Control surfaces like the steering wheel were oily to the touch, leaving your hands filthy.  The cloth seats were ingrained with decades old dust that would puff out at the slightest touch.

After a full vacuum clean, the cabin plastics were all carefully washed. The cloth trim on the doors and seats was given a gentle wash with a damp microfiber and textile cleaner. Stains were scrubbed and floor matts were washed.

Despite the short time spent, the interior was greatly improved, plastics with a matte finish, seats were inviting to use and the whole interior had now a fresh smell.

Thick layer of dust on the dashboard.

During cleaning found a relic of a time long gone.

Same microfiber, two different colors. Left is washed - Right is after washing dashboard plastics.


Very swirled and filled with random deep scratches, the Alpine White required a 3 stage polishing process to remove most defects and restore the color.

Despite white paintwork being hard to show defects, the miserable condition this Alpine White was on was perfect for 50/50 photos of the process of correction.

After compound, polishing and finishing, most of the swirls, etching and oxidiation that this E28 has accumulated had vanished, exposing a whole different shade of white.


50/50 of the bonnet.

50/50 of the polishing progress on the bonnet.


This was one of the most satisfying details in terms of turn around for a few tens of hours spent. 

An old car, with just over 100 000km done, forgotten and left standing with generations of dirt. But after some tender, love and care, it was brought back from the dead and restored to how it looked when delivered to its first owner more than 30 years ago.

Sometimes more than a brand or a special model, it is a car's history that makes it so special and this E28, in pristine condition, has that in spades. Welcome back to the road!