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My advice (archive)

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Posted by jslick aka Ginger Vitis on April 25, 2000 at 04:12:16:

In Reply to: Buying an E36 convertible and need some help posted by Got 20K and dunno what to do on April 25, 2000 at 01:02:09:

: Hey everyone,
: Well I've got 20K to spend and I really want to get a convertible E36. Thought about the sedan and it wasn't exciting enough, thought about the M3 and insurance would make me live paycheck to paycheck. Don't think I can get a good condition '96 328ic for that much but I think a '95 or '94 325ic. Problem is that there are very few around the Seattle area and if there are any, they are way overpriced. So I've been looking on the net at places like and and I've seen some real bargains. Thing is that I can't even personally test drive those cars because I'm in Seattle and most of those cars are in California, Florida, Texas, and what not. So my request from you fellow buddies is whether any of you are willing to take a look at cars for me if they are located near you. Of course I don't want you to thrash the car, because I might become the eventual owner of it.

: Second request is from previous or current owners of E36 convertibles and their experiences. What I'd really like to know is how the top holds up. I went to BMW of Seattle today and the yellow-toothed, naive salesperson didn't know jack about the cars and just kept on going about how great BMW cars are and why I shouldn't worry. No sh*t, why do you think I walked in to buy one? Anyhow, back to my request, I was curious about insurance rates, theft prevention (especially ripping through the top), soft-top replacement intervals, rain and water leaks and damage, and going with the hardtop option for the convertible (about $3K).

: Well that's it, thanks for reading my message. Lastly, if you are gonna go to BMW of Seattle, ask for the young Filipino guy, he was cool the last time I went in, showed me several cars and was no pressure. Avoid the old guy with yellow teeth like gingivitis b/c that's probably what he has.

: Benny

I know from recent experience, that the search
for the right car can take a long time. I advise you to be patient, and remember, good things come to those that wait. I started looking at 318, then 325, then 328, then M3. I've also considered close to 30 different makes and models of cars. I keep coming back to BMW, and in particular, the M3.

I thought I'd have to travel hundreds of miles to find the right car. I've shined a few on, too: two 325's and at least three M3's. But after waiting and gaining knowledge, guess what: there are two excellent candidates right here in my area, and they're only about 2K apart in price. I will likely buy one or the other in the next day or two.

Become familiar with your local dealers, both big and small. Locate a high-end used car dealer, get to know him, and ask him to keep his eye open for what you want. These guys love to talk cars, and love to show off their stuff. Talk in terms of their interest, and they'll tell you almost anything.

Use the web too... try, which may reveal dealers and private sellers in your vicinity. Check out They have good cars, and will ship them from different stores for a nominal fee, applied to purchase. They also arrange financing and warranties.

Be willing to look at LOTS of cars, and be prepared to walk away from each and every one. Many of them will still be there later, and some you'll later be glad you didn't buy. When you do find the one you'll know, and you'll be prepared to buy it.

Finally, I know little about BMW convertibles, except that you will pay a premium to have one, compared to a hardtop. That's for you to decide on. OTOH, you might get a smashing deal on a 318ti with the "california" roof (the long, pull-back canvas sunroof. There's a red/black one at the Nashville CarMax: less than 15K as I recall, and in excellent condition, too.

Hope this helps you find the right car!

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