Well, that’s probably overstating things a bit; I really just like it a lot and am very content with it. And that’s why I’d kinda like to replace it.
My daily driver is the 1988 BMW 735i 5-speed that I bought for $1,200 and brought home in the fall of 2009. It’s a great car, reliable as the day is long; has only caused me to call for help once in the 2-plus years of ownership. It came with a long list of issues, many of which have been tended to, but many warts still remain. Of course, many of those warts are to be expected on a 25 year old automobile; it’s got cracks in the windscreen, some rust on the bottoms of the doors, a sometimes drippy clutch master cylinder, a slightly ratty driver’s seat and carpet, a far-from-perfect paint job, a sunroof that needs adjusting (and maybe replacing because of some rust), brake calipers that need rebuilding (and brake disks that may need replacing), a driveshaft that has an issue with the center u-joint, and several other little things that need attention. Yes, the cost of repairing the things on that list would be a lot, but the cosmetic things could easily be lived with for a long, long time. The things that I’ve done since bringing the car home have made it a great driver, but part of me yearns for something prettier, without all of the warts.
I only started driving it again this week after it was away for the last month or so, and discovered how much I missed driving it. It all started with this cancer business; pain meds were sometimes necessary early on, which made me a passenger rather than a driver when I was on them. Then Emily’s 318Ti developed a problem with the alternator in early April, so we towed it home and I tore into things to replace it. But in the process of removing the airbox from the car I broke the neck off the radiator. The car had recently topped 200,000 miles, so was due for a cooling system rebuild; I had already purchased all the parts, and was waiting for a prime opportunity to tear into it. Although it wasn’t the perfect opportunity, as much as I hate dealing with coolant, I decided that this was the time to just bite the bullet and do it all. Then with the trip to California for Ian’s graduation from USMC Boot Camp, the car sat in my garage for over a month before it was done. So while her car was down and out, she used my 735i for the four weeks of her internship at the hospital in Huron. When I was able to drive, I spent some time behind the wheel of Ian’s ’92 Mazda Miata, which really didn’t do much to endear it to me. It’s a decently quick and nimble little car, but it’s buzzy little motor, difficult entry &: exit, minuscule cockpit, low windshield… I’ve driven far worse, but I just didn’t enjoy the Miata experience much. I prefer the comfort of my e32 with the gobs of torque and smooth highway performance. I’m a happy guy again!
But… Recently a car came up for sale that’s the better looking twin of my car — a 1988 735i with a 5-speed transmission — and it has… or rather had me considering the possibilities… But alas, it sold last night.
So, unfortunately I need to sell the e32. Lost my job, and its gotta go. Looking to get $3500 out of it. 170k miles, gray on black.
- • Runs strong, shifts smoothly (just had shift bushings/linkage done)
- • Paint is in great condition, though has been repainted by P.O. (8/10)
- • Interior is in amazing condition (8/10)
- • Front suspension is almost brand new with some spare parts in trunk (all done and from P.O.)
- • Haven’t had any issues with any leaks since I had my mechanic do some work on replacing gaskets on both engine and tranny. The car sits for weeks at a time at my dads right now, and no puddles under it at all that I’ve noticed.
- • Passes CA smog like a boss
- • All the windows work!
- • New Fuel pump, and fuel pressure regulator
- • Have new fuel filter in trunk, along with new oil filter that I haven’t put in yet (Mahn or Mayle, can’t remember which)
- • New O2 Sensor
- • Tires are fair
- • Brakes in great shape
- • No slipping on clutch
- • Drivers side air not working. Broken servo brackets according to my mechanic and no power going to heater valves
- • Reverse lights stopped working.
- • Turn signals are intermittent. I’ve tried switching the relays, however it seems to persist meaning it is likely either a cluster issue, or the relay in the turn signal stalk. Not sure
- • Seats are not twisted right now, but do twist if adjusted too much.
- • Stereo was stolen out of car since before I got it
- • Sunroof needs adjusting. I have a spare motor sitting the in trunk in case it needs it.
- • Airbag light is on. P.O. had some hack job done on the airbag, disconnected it, and put tape over the Airbag light. I’ve put a replacement airbag and steering wheel on, and connected everything, but don’t have the tool to reset the light, so the tape remains on it.
That is literally everything I can think of. Overall, it is a solid driver, and I think would be a great car to anyone looking for one who is willing to sort those things out. I have driven it on/off for a while now, and have no hesitation driving it for long periods of time myself.
The biggest appeal with that car was the fact that it’s always been in the south and west — TX, AZ & CA — so the body has none of the rust that mine has. It also has a much nicer color combination; dark silver over a black leather interior; mine is Bronzit-Beige metallic over a parchment interior. Kinda bland, but in a nice way. Kinda. If you like General Motors colors. There were some obstacles in the way of cutting a deal on it though; about 2,000 of them, as in miles. The car was located in Del Mar, near San Diego, CA. A friend in San Diego was willing to go check it out for me, and I was ready to book a flight out there (only $177 one-way on Delta) for a fly-n-drive, but… C’est la vie.
Now I’ll just concentrate on making mine what I’d like it to be, and spend the money I would’ve spent on that car to spruce mine up so it’s what I want it to be. Or maybe just keep it mechanically solid and let it keep the rugged road warrior ugly to scare off the people with newer cars. I would dearly love to find a junked car with a decent black interior to swap in; the beige leather is so sad.