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Help!! Input needed for potential purchase (archive)

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Posted by AA on February 23, 2002 at 04:06:01:

Hi all,

I am a frequent reader of this message board and have been longing to find the right car to own a piece of racing history. I thought I have found the right car but the owner is very stubborn about his price so I want to get some opinions from those familiar with the car and see if the car is worth it or not.

First I am located in the bay area and based on some of your member's input I have brought the car to Dick Chang's at Dynospot racing to have it inspected. I'll first describe the car and then tell you what he said.

Car: 1988 E30 M3, 91k mi, original owner. White ext/ beige int. Car has always been garaged. Never been in accidents or tracked. Car is bone stock except for racing dynamics wheels and P zeros. Original spare, and all original tools intact.

Exterior is practically flawless except for some stone chips at the front of the car and a couple of minor chips on the windshield. No door dings and if there were, they were fix. Car was detailed and paint is all bright and shiny, no cracks on spoilers or BMW insignia.

Interior is also extremely well maintained, minor wear on drivers seat, but still in great shape. Back seats are like new. Everything from AC, radio, sunroof, cruise, tape deck etc. works. Again everything bone stock, but all works fine. Only thing that doesn't work is the horn of the alarm system which was installed aftermarket.

I believe the inspection II service was done, oil change regularly maintained etc. Smog done over summer and passed w/ no problems. All hoses have been replaced. A friend, a mazda RX7 club racer, drove it and got his approval - very solid, shocks and damps work, good balance, engine responds and drove well. Even took car to 100mph uphill on a twisty road and performed very well, lots of pull, engine sounded very healthy.

Dick Chang at Dynospotracing inspected it, commented that the exterior and interior are in excellent condition, as good as he sees this car with this mileage. However, he did comment that there are a few minor leaks in the engine, and probably just seals that needs replacing. Leak is not bad, just minor seepage, but he does recommend having that fixed. Exhaust is starting to corrode (again, original) but has at least another year before issue arise. All control arms (steel) has yet to be replaced. Shifter has some play, but doesn't need any fixing yet. Dick drove the car and thought it was in good shape, didn't even think I needed to do a leak or compression test - he didn't think engine needs to be checked.

The owner was firm on 14k, but since I spoke to him about the car since last fall, he agreed that he'll deduct a couple hundred bucks for the windshield and that's it. The car will come w/ an over the roof bike rack, custom cover and dash-sun shield (from BMW).

Dick's comment is that it's a good car (he drove it too), but thought the price is on the high side since everything is bone stock - despite immaculately maintained exterior and interior, mechanically, it was not as meticulously maintained and there was some minor neglect - i.e. there shouldn't be any seepage.

Given that I have been looking for a while and I have yet to find a reasonable shape car in the bay area I am tempted just to go for it. Nonetheless, I just want to gather some feedback before taking the leap. BTW, my goal is to maintain the car and keep it as my first or second car and to make necessary replacements to parts as time passes. I do want to keep the car for a long time and have something solid to work with as a long term project. Although I won't be thrilled if I have to immediately invest a ton of money into it.

I know that Jeff W paid for his car that is almost identical for 3k less, but did have to put in some $ to get it fixed so I am hesitant - I thought of the 15k rule, and I figure that after fixing the leak and replacing the windshield, that probably hits that number (not including replacement of exhaust, control arms, springs/shocks - when necessary).

So, what do you think. Any input is greatly appreciated.




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