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Re: You may not want to hear it, but..... (archive)

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Posted by JeffL on August 07, 2001 at 22:31:16:

In Reply to: You may not want to hear it, but..... posted by txhedg on August 06, 2001 at 18:40:04:

WOW... that was a lot of info. Now my thinking. When I was 20, I almost bought a 5 series that was a bit rough but within my budget. I passed on it and bought a Pontiac Firebird, big mistake. After that it was a couple of rice burners, then a couple of domestic buckets. It wasn't until 13 years later that I came to my senses and bought my first Bimmer. The way I see it, I missed out on 13 years of driving bliss. I have a '91 735iL with 151k on it and fall in love with that car all over every time I get into it. I just bought my wife a 325iC and I know that there will be many more Roundels in our future.

Just my thoughts,

'91 735iL
'94 325iC

First off, let me say I think that the E32 is one of the best automotive bargains out there in the market. However James, IMNSHO you need to think long and hard before you buy one given your financial situation. I am assuming your $7.50 an hour is your only source of income, and that M&D won't be funding other automotive expenses for you. If it breaks, and you can't afford to fix it, you are car-less until you can come up with the money. SO:

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.

happy motoring

'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.

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