Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 21 Finished on Halloween

This evening, Halloween, I got the Silver Ghost running again.   That’s one year to the day after I took it to BMW of Denver for the first step, straightening the front forks.

Finish Painting

I had paint failures along the way.  I had to repaint the fairing, side cover and rear fender (so far).  I’m not certain what the problem was, but suspect using dish detergent in the final sanding of the primer could have been the reason.  I suspect I’ll have other parts peal, but for now, everything is staying painted :-).

I also used 1500 grit when I sanded out the clear coat, and that was a mistake.  This is too coarse and I had many hours of final sanding of the tank clear coat trying to remove the scratches.  There are still one or two deeper ones.  I decided to stop sanding it out with 2000 and then 2500 grit as I was afraid I’d cut completely throught the clear coat.  As I paint in an unheated garage, I’ve run up against the end of “painting season”.

I bought another paint kit from Holt BMW and only used a small amount when I redid the rear fender.  If I get more peeled parts, I can strip them in the spring and reshoot.

You can see in this picture how the finish sanding with 2000 grit and then a light 2500 grit coat removes “orange peel” and small defects in the clear coat.  On the left is the final 2500 grit, transitioning to the in progress 2000 grit and finally the unsanded clear coat on the right.

Sanding Clear Coat
Final Sanding of Clear Coat.

I buffed out the sanded clear coat using 1500 grit polish and then scratch remover.  I used a drill with buffing pads, one for each.  I likely spent 20 hours buffing out the clear coat.  As I said, the gas tank had deeper scratches.  I had to back up and sand out the deeper scratched areas with 2000 then 2500 grit, buff with 1500 polish and then the scratch remover.  Several sections required 4 or 5 repetitions of this to finally get the scratches out of the clear coat.


I started at the rear and worked my way forward.  I removed the rear tire and mouted the rear fender using new rubber bushings.  As I have an oversized rear tire (4.00 instead of 3.5 inch), I had to carefully slide it back in using a clean shop rag to protect the paint on the rear fender.

Next, I added the rear taillight assembly, turn signals and license plate bracket.

Then, I mounted the seat.  I found putting the rear hinge on the seat pan and tightening the screws fully and putting only one screw in the front hinge is the best way to mount the seat.  You can swing the front hinge on the screw pivot point to get the hinge on to the bushing.  Then you can get the other two front hinge screws inserted and tighted as there is a frame cutout to let you access one of the screws.  Here’s the back end and seat assembled.

Rear Back Together

Seat & Rear Fender
Rear End Assembled.

The side covers were next.  I cleaned them with dish detergent, rinsed, and then sprayed with windex and wiped clean before I mounted the “750cc” decals.  I had to adjust the side cover clamps on the subframe as they were too tight.

Side Cover
Side Cover With Decal.

The gas tank has a gold pinstripe.  I am not confident the tank won’t peal, so I decided to use vinyl pinstripe tape instead of painting them on.  I used 1/8 inch pinstripping.  Again, I washed the tank with dish detergent, rinsed and finshed up with windex.  After I got the pinstripe on, I added the BMW badges to the tank.  I think it looks “kinda nice” 🙂


Gas Tank With Emblem and Pinstrip.

I worked on the fairing next.  I used 1/4 inch pin stripe, but I think that maybe too wide.  When I repaint the fairing again, I’ll opt for 1/8 inch instead.  Mounting the fairing was  time consuming.  Getting the lower holes over the turn signal brackets was not easy.  And, there are a number of rubber grommets that hold the lower portion of the fairing on the turn signal stalks.  There is a rubber gasket the goes over the headlight and inside the head light hole in the fairing.  And there is the bracket on the fork tubes with a steel stem that mounts the top of the fairing to the fork tubes.  Keep things loose until you get the hole in fairing adjusted around the headlight gasket and then tighten the nuts on the steering head  bracket.  Finally, I put the turn signals on the stalks, wired them up and put the covers back on.

Fairing & Tank
Fairng & Tank Mounted
Fairing Mounted.

Finally, I took the front wheel off, and mounted the front fender.  There is a chrome bracket to hold the rear of the fender and again, there are rubber grommets that protect the fender from the steel brackets.

Cylinders & Front Fender

Finally, I bought a new windscreen from Gustafsson , opting for the 7″ rather than stock 3″, in light smoke color.  The mounting holes are pre-drilled and they lined up perfectly.

Side View

Side View
Gustafsson Plastics Faring Mounted.

The last item to go on was the bar end mirrors I got on Ebay.  These add a nice cafe racer touch and really look very nice.

Cockpit & Bar End Mirrros
Bar End Mirrors.

So, a couple of “Before” and “After” pictures.

The Silver Ghost – Starting a Restoration

Silver Ghost – 1975 BMW R75/6 Buck Naked

Cylinders & Front Fender




Cockpit & Bar End Mirrros

Gusstafson Fairing

Punch List

Now that the plastic parts were back on the bike, I had to handle a number of final “punch list” items including.

  • Connect battery and charge it up
  • Add brake fluid to the front brake and bleed it.  Then adjust the calpers
  • Add engine oil, and gear lube to the transmission, final drive and drive shaft.
  • Test the electrics. (I had to fix one rear turn signal, loose wire) including starter motor
  • Clean, polish and install petcocks and add gas lines from petcock to tee fitting
  • Install coils, spark plug wires and spark plugs
  • Adjust carburators to initial settings
  • Add 1 gallon of gas to the tank

Will it Run?

So at 7:30 pm, its time to find out if the Silver Ghost will start.  I turned the petcocks to reserve, and found a bit of leaking which was quickly fixed by snugging up the nut to the gas tank.  I pulled the plugs and checked for spark.  None.  Hmmm … I disconnected the battery pulled the timing cover, and there was the loose wire to the condenser.  I had two black wires when I installed the coils and  had pulled the condenser wire to test which one was it, but forgot to reattach it.  That was easy.

After reattaching the battery cable, I pulled in the choke, hit the starter and in 3 spins the Silver Ghost came back to life.


8 thoughts on “Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 21 Finished on Halloween

  1. Brook, I’m jealous! Except for the fact that it’s going to pretty cold for a while to ride, but I’m sure you’ll start having fun with it in the Spring. Thanks for sharing and stay safe!

    • Hans, Thanks. Sometimes we get some warmer weather during the winter, so perhaps I can get a few miles in before spring :-). I hope the knee is mended and you are “out and about”.

  2. Congratulations on a first rate project and documentary.
    I’ll come by on the Laverda one winters day, and we can do a vintage “Ride To Drink Hot Coffee”.

    What a lovely airhead!

  3. // O // ! Fabulous, Brook! Looks like it is ready for its next 100,000 miles! A K75-riding friend here in Longmont loaned me a coffee table book of BMW bikes, and the Silver Ghost would fit right into those pages. The yellow pinstriping is a nice touch on there too. Cheers!

    • Mike,

      Yes. When I put that on and then light smoked screen from Gustaffson, it really came together. If you have a chance on Saturday 1-3pm, stop by the house for a showing/ride of the Silver Ghost.

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