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Shifty Needs Your Help in Buying a Car



  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    $7,000 would be an attractive price point for the example you describe, even if you should have to invest an additional $2,000 in the first six months for unforeseen repairs, and/or to make it perfect.
  • The boys on the "Real World Value" board, those knife-sharpening experts that they are, think I'm a bit high at $7K---but I failed to mention to them that the car had NAV. On the other hand, the owner did confess to a fender bender many years ago (car backed into the rear quarter) but it's not on CARFAX so I don't really care. However, the used car guys did factor that in, as they are trained to do. They were thinking $6K. I suspect the owner might not go for that, but one can try.

    Like I said, I'm like a fat cat right now. I have a car to drive, I have cash, so I can just walk away from any deal I don't like. I can FEEL the power--LOL! (not that plunking down $16K for a used car is chicken-feed to me).
  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    FEEL THE POWER... oh yeah, baby. :P

    I love BMWs, although I have not owned one for many, many years. I still read about them and occasionally entertain fantasies of buying one. So your expression of interest was enough to make me do a little looking and I came across this beautiful (and expensive) 5-spd example:

    528i 5-spd Sport

    Pertinent to your potential purchase is the following quote:

    My knowledge of BMWs is extensive and I work with them professionally.... In looking for a pre-'01 style 5-series I wanted to avoid the clumsier steering systems on the 540s -and the fuel economy- and I could not get a '99 or '00 528i: Be informed that BMW North America is on the verge of receiving a class action lawsuit for not recalling continued failures of the improperly assembled dual Vanos units on the '99 and '00 2.8L motors.

    You might try to determine if the sellers allegation is based in fact.

    Good luck... is yours a manual or auto?

  • oregonboyoregonboy Posts: 1,653
    class action lawsuit for not recalling continued failures of the improperly assembled dual Vanos units on the '99 and '00 2.8L motors

    Upon reflection, if there were a serious problem with an eight year old engine, it probably would have self-destructed long ago. :P

    james, just talkin' to himself here.
  • Yes one would think that at 100K something bad would have happened already.

    The weakest part of these cars (and the 3 series) is the cooling system.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I hadn't heard about the cooling system weakness, but has it been corrected in newer BMWs?
  • Dunno. But yes, 90s BMWs are notorious for cooling system failures at around 80K or so. Best if you have one to just replace the radiator, water pump and thermostat housing at 60K and save yourself some trouble.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I replaced the radiator on my '87 325 at 112,000, because it developed a leak, and was too old to repair. Fortunately, it never overheated. I imagine that if it was an ongoing problem on the 3 and 5-Series of the '90s that BMW would have been addressed it at some point.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Shifty has been driving a Subaru for what seems like forever now. Simultaneously with the economy the way it is, prices have fallen on some great luxury cars and lots of older fun cars. I suspect this has caused Shifty to be on the prowl a little bit. Am I wrong?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    Shifty is always on the prowl. I've been sniffing around Miatas (too small for me), BMW Z3s (ugly as sin but fun to drive and reasonably priced), Porsche Boxster S and MINI Cooper S.

    The Miatas are dirt cheap, the Z3s are now starting to drop below $10K, but the Boxster S is still holding fairly strong pricing, regrettably for me. The MINI resale continues to be very strong as well.

    These would be second cars. I'm very happy with the Subaru and its ruggedness and abilities in bad weather. It's been a very cheap car to own and run.
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    I agree on the Miatas. I love them, but they aren't so comfortable for the tall fellows. Come to think of it, my wife says I look like a Shriner in a clown car in pretty much all the cars you listed even though I am comfortable in most of them.

    What year and model Z3s are you looking at and how much are they going for?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    I'm looking at late 90s with the 6 cylinder engine and they seem to be hovering around $8,500. Of course I'm talking about really nice, well cared for cars. In my opinion, any modern car needing lots of body or mechanical work is virtually worthless in today's economy.

    e.g. A nice, really NICE 1994-95 Miata can be had for $4,000. People are trying to sell beat up ones for $2,000, that would easily take $4000 to make right. Ergo, the car has no value whatsoever---well perhaps for parts.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    The Miata appeals to me for its design, simplicity, ruggedness, price and cost-to-own, in no particular order. Any 1990-1998 model that's been very well maintained, with low to average mileage, would satisfy me.

    The Z3 and Boxter are very nice, but the cost of repairs and maintenance are concerns. These concerns wouldn't be deal breakers for me, however, if the right one came along, because in the end their other attributes trump the cost of ownership issue.

    As for the MINI, the only one I'd consider would be the standard model, not the S, because the ride/handling combination is more to my liking for a daily driver. I've driven a standard one, and the relatively modest acceleration wouldn't bother me.

    If I bought a MINI, it would be a new one, because the used ones hold their value too well to make them an attractive proposition. Regardless, in the end the MINI wouldn't be #1 on my list because I prefer RWD in a sports/sporty car. That said, I'd consider the VW Polo or something similar because it probably would have many of the MINI's attributes, at a lower price. While the MINI is attractive in some ways, it's neither an economy car nor a sports car. The base MINI should be tuned to run on regular gasoline, even though at the end of the year we're not talking about much money. The MINI's high resale value sends a strong signal that the market disagrees with me on the MINI. What am I overlooking?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    Probably you are overlooking that the MINI is a very well-built car indeed and a cut above the rest. Also if you buy a 2003 MINI you get 2009 "status" because they look the same. The great handling, panoramic sunroof, excellent fuel mileage, and nearly endless list of factory and aftermarket support all help to make the car very appealing.
  • gussguss Posts: 1,181
    I find the Z3 attractive, much more than the flame surfaces Z4, but I can certainly see why some people call it a boot. I noticed the late 90's prices have recently dropped, I wonder if it 90's cars just seem so old now.

    I like the Mini alot, but are prices below $10k yet ? I don't know what your budget is but for a weekend car that would be the highest I would go.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    Yes I think with some shopping and driving a hard bargain you can definitely score a clean 2002-2003 MINI for under $10,000. But not that much under $10K. Anyway 50% residual in 6 years is pretty impressive resale.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    I just finished reading Edmunds "Inside Line" review of the new Fiat 500 Abarth. It sounds like your kind of car, Shifty.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    small car, small target, that's my motto.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    Not sure how to interpret that, since the same would apply to the MINI, a car you like.
  • parmparm Posts: 723
    I'm assuming the Mini your refering to is the hardtop model. The other cars you're considering are convertibles. I'm coming in late in this discussion and haven't read this whole thread, so maybe this topic has already been covered, but how important is to you to be able to drop the top? File this comment under "no duh!", but deciding whether you want a convertible will help you decide.
This discussion has been closed.