• Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press
  • Munich Legends | Munich Legends Top Gear Press

Classic & Sports Car are one of our favourite motoring magazines and one of the most reliable sources for the true classic car enthusiast, with which Munich Legends have a long history of working. As one of the world’s most popular publications in the classic motoring genre, when the editor suggested that the magazine run a profile on Munich Legends in June 2011 we were, of course, more than happy to oblige.

Having known Munich Legends throughout its history, writer David Evans was impressed with some of the new developments in our restoration and parts departments, and particularly by our new-look workshops and photographic capabilities. The overhauled working area coupled with our newly accessible mezzanine level led to the beginnings of workshop documentation as never seen before at Munich: many customers and followers love to see what goes on behind closed doors, which was made possible by our ability to photograph work in progress across several ramps at once (as seen in the article).”

UK 01825 740 456
Int +44 1825 740 456

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Bavaria Back On The Map

Location: The Ashdown Garage, Chelwood Gate, East Sussex, RH17 7DE

Staff: 15

Tel: 01825 740456

Web: www.munichlegends.co.uk

Specialism: Service, sales and restoration of BMWs

Prices: £79 + VAT per hour (labour)*


Few firms are as synonymous with their marquee as Munich Legends. The Ashdown Garage became home to one of the UK’s first BMW main dealers in 1967 and has been fettling Bavaria’s best-known export pretty much ever since.

The company’s focus changed when new MD Dan Norris moved out of telecommunications and took over 18 months ago: “I’d been a customer for 15 years when I bought Munich Legends and felt that it had become too specialised. Even local people didn’t realise that we had workshops here, or that we catered for more recent models.”

Since then, he’s put the form back in the black, with a £3.5m turnover last year. “There’s no political goal with the split between servicing, sales and restoration,” Norris says. “It’s just a case of what is around at the time. Lately, we’ve been selling plenty of cars back to the continent – E30 M3s and 6 Series to Germany – so we’re not going to see those again for servicing work, although we do have some from France. A lot of our business is with E46 M3s, which tend to be owned by younger people – the Top Gear and Pistonheads generation if you like.”

“And that’s why they like to bring their cars here,” he points out, as Mick Hope (who has been working on BMWs since 1968) talks an E46 owner through some brake jobs. “Because they want to get to know the guys who work on their cars.”

Out back, the former race shop has been converted into a dedicated restoration facility, as Norris explains: “I came into the old place one day and thought, ‘There’s 60 grand’s worth of parts all over the floor here,’ so we started again from scratch. We can tackle one rebuild at a time – with dirty and clean areas either side of the stripped shell, and enough room to lay out all of the components on the shelves.

“Some CSLs needed restoring when they were only about 12 years old and I don’t want any of our customers coming back to us in 12 years’ time because the car needs rebuilding again. So we need to do it properly, starting with a stripped and ideally e-coated bodyshell.”

Most restored CSLs now pack five-speed ’boxes, but dropping in 3.5-litre ‘sixes’ with more modern fuelling has fallen from favour. As general manager Stuart Draper puts it: “Whether it’s Motronic, D-Jetronic or K-Jetronic injection, there isn’t a massive difference in reliability.” The same goes for the M1: “It’s a known quantity; we look after six or seven and are probably the world leaders in M1 clutches.”

“Our main concern is parts availability,” he adds, “which is why our store makes the difference.” Norris concurs: “We wouldn’t have been able to finish our last CSL project if it wasn’t for our stash of spares.”

So what does Norris see as the coming classics? “The late-’80s E34 M5 and E24 M6 are having a real resurgence: 18 months ago we sold a nice M635CSi for £15,000; now it would be low 20s. There’s a fever for the M3 CSL too – we get 50 phone calls in a couple of days as soon as we list one.” DE


+44 (0)1825 740456 

*Hourly labour rate £69 + VAT as on the 13th March 2012