In Reply to: 1988 735i-I NEED ADVICE posted by James Kettler on August 06, 2001 at 15:02:54:
At $7.50 /hr, even if you work a lot (I'm assuming you are in school, so for yuks, lets assume you work 20 hrs/wk)you are making only $125/wk after Uncle Sam takes out a few $ in taxes, etc. This is $1000/month. If you are putting 60% ($300/mo) of your cash into car pmts to your parents, this leaves you with $200 a month extra. Assuming you have a bit of a social life you'll need $25/week, or $100/month for movies,McDonalds, beer, grass, whatever. This leaves you with $100/month to spend on whatever you want (car repairs, etc).
While I am sure the E32 you are looking at seems to be in perfect condition, I'd be willing to bet my paycheck that there are at least a few things on the car that either need work now, or will in the not to distant future. Transmission, Radiator, front suspension, etc. Bottom line is that unless you are a VERY good DIY-er, then you will have to have work done by an independent mechanic shop. On these cars, most every significant problem costs AT LEAST $500 to fix. So, all it takes is ONE PROBLEM, and you've blown almost a half year of your disposable income. Three such "problems" (not uncommon) and you've used up over a years worth of disposable income.
Most of the horror stories you hear of the 7-ers are from people that spend their last dollar on the purchase price of the car, and have no $$ left for the repairs. While the purchase price is relatively low, don't forget it was a $30k+ car when it was new 10 years ago, and as such had high dollar parts and systems that have to be replaced when they go bad. A new ford water pump is $40 mail-order, while one for a 735 is over $100. For a guy making $7.50/hr (no offense), thats a big difference.
So, sorry to rain on your parade, and sound like an old-fogey, but given your limited funds, I would suggest you go with a car that is reliable, but also has much lower repair costs (i.e. american or jap). The 7-er is reliable, but NOTHING on the car is cheap to replace.
And to make you feel better, I make (IMHO) a lot of money, and I still choke on the repair bills associated with my car (granted mine's a 750, but still similar to that of a 735). Just last week I had a bill from my mechanic for over $2k to replace the radiator and all associated hoses. Ouch.
So, save your $$, keep educating yourself on the 7-ers, and in a few years when you have more $$ and won't be bankrupted by a $1500 repair bill, buy your 7-er then. If you buy one now you'll end up hating them cause you wont be able to afford the upkeep.
'91 750il 98k
ps.....flame on, I can take it
Hey, I was considering buying a 1988 735i with 150-160k miles. I'm only 17 years old but I really like BMWs and this car is just within my price range. Can anyone advise me as to wether or not this is a car that will be too expensive for me to maintain? I make about 7.50 an hour and i have to pay 60% of my paycheck to my parents to pay them back for the car. The car is in PERFECT condition, it's like brand new. Please someone email me or post a follow up with advice. Thanks.