Last week, I wrote about the two biggest enabling factors in buying and owning more cars than I should—inexpensive insurance and ample storage space. I left out the most obvious one—money. But there’s a reason ... Read the full column on Hagerty.com:
1988 E30s and E28s still had the big five mile per hour impact bumpers. It's easy to spot a 1988 E30, because it was the one year that combined big bumper with big tail lights, ellipsoid headlights, and flush-mounted fog-lights. They also had the highest standard equipment levels of the run, which is why I consider 1988 to have been peak BMW.
I hadn't planned on selling my 1984 Toyota Celica Supra P-Type. I'd toyed with the idea, but I hadn't done anything. Then two weeks ago, a guy walked into our reception area and asked at the window to speak to the person who owned the Supra, because he was there to buy it. So now I have a vacancy, and the list awaits. I bid on an RX-7 at BaT, but it went for crazy money, and I was the only person in the auction that had actually seen it and driven it. Now I am looking at a 1987 944S at a decent price. They were three times the price of my 1988 CRX Si at the time, and this one sure is a pretty metallic blue...
With an entire 'motor-universe' of wonderful automotive experiences available to us in the vintage/collectible category, I have never been able to understand limiting oneself to one brand, particularly for a multi-vehicle collection like Rob has. Yes, there's the comfort of familiarity, but it's ultimately so constricting. Every article, every story, every acquisition, every experience in this series is all-BMW, all the time. Well written, but pretty narrow focus.
I quite enjoy your articles, as of the struggle of owning and trying to keep up on maintenance for several aging German cars is real 🙂 My OCD has to make a small correction though- "The six-cylinder E30’s M20 engine is the only engine BMW built that uses a timing belt instead of a timing chain". Although the M20 is by far the most common, the M21 diesel engine that came in "24TD" models available here in the US (such as the E28 524TD) had a timing belt as well. Keep up the good fight for old German metal, sir.
I couldn't agree more with the writer's sentiments. I too have a collection of 80's/90's Hondas and Acuras that I dreamt of owning in middle/high school/college, and frequently trade out some of my collection to make room to "experience" another acquisition from this time period. Similarly, my primary limitation becomes space; such a precious quantity with this hobby. I was able to recently replace a vintage 4th generation Accord and heal a tragic case of seller's remorse after parting with mine a little over a year ago when I was seduced by the beautiful design of a 1990 Acura Legend coupe....So it goes I guess. That's what makes this hobby so satisfying, the search for the next one!
That was a good read. It's amazing the similarities between his experience & mine when it comes to buying prospective cars, with the intention to fix up & sell with a profit. Foreign cars never turned me on that much although I've owned a few with mixed results. My thinking is, if you keep anything long enough, you'll probably make a profit. I'd just rather drive something, when you stop for gas, people come up to you & want to talk about your ride.
I had a problem many years ago with collecting mostly undriveable cars but was cured when I got married. Since then, I've been a one fancy car owner. Funny how that happened...
I have read many of these articles... looking for the "why", but never find it. I am strongly attached to the automotive world but am also from the land of "order".... so I maybe that explains it.
I've seen a few references to your haphazard income in your articles. I've bought a few of your books, hope you're finding a regular gig with the books and articles. You could do worse than dip your toe into the burgeoning world of youtube- I hear Hagerty has a growing channel. A German-focussed cameo on Barn Find Hunter would be a good first step to testing the waters!
I also have recently sold a few cars lately (My lovely wife calls it "thinning the herd").
BUT I had an alternative motive in doing this; there as one car that came out recently that I definitely wanted: a new 2021 C-8 Corvette Convertible. In the last two months I have sold off my '96 F355 Spider Ferrari, a '06 SL600 Mercedes Benz, a '06 Chevy SSR convertible pickup truck and a '89 Corvette Convertible. I liked them all and enjoyed all for several years. But the new C-8 Corvette Convertible is just too damn appealing to pass up. And with the wise advise from my wife, shedding a few cars from my collection not only made sense but will save us money in Maintenance and Upkeep expenses.
Having a new car with a factory warranty will be a welcome change for someone who is used to footing the bill every time one of my cars was in the shop for a routine PA State Safety inspection and oil changes. There were always extra charges and expenses (from needing batteries, new tires, ball joints, 4 wheel alignments, turbo charger cooling pumps, new AC Compressors, alternators, and not to mention the last $ 16K USD major engine out belt service for the Ferrari). Ferrari's are great cars to drive, but they are NOT inexpensive to own. I was ready to let go, but still have more cars in my collection parked away in my Pole Barn, awaiting the distant arrival of the new Mid-Engine Corvette Convertible. (Still many months out).
But locating another vehicle that I find interesting is still something I look forward to. And selling off some of my current collection makes it easier to save some martial peace with my wife. Sometime you have to listen to little voice behind you who has the big picture in mind. The new Corvette will be most welcome to add to rest of my remaining collection. (Several other older and vintage Vettes and Mercedes SL and Caddy's). So some time it is wise to embrace the need to "Thin the Herd." :<)
It wasn't that long ago, when E30s were being run out and sent to the scrap yards. It's still not uncommon to see E30 beaters running down the road. But those days are probably gone. I've owned my '87 325is for four years and call it one of the nicest cars that I've ever owned. There's lots of nice things to say about them. The E30 has good build quality. Except for transmission removal, they are fairly easy to repair. OEM and after market parts are fairly plentiful. On the road, they are a joy to drive.
The E30 325is has been an undervalued car for some time. Because parts on these cars are so expensive, it's still easy to get underwater from a careful refurbishment. I've invested more in mine than it can sell for and I don't mind.
Modern BMWs today are heavy, complex and difficult to service. There's nothing special about them. But the E30 325is was still light, nimble and quick. Everything about them was perfectly balanced. The Germans knew how to get great performance from very little horse power. There is something to love about that.
P.S. You did a nice job refurbishing those seats, Rob.
My 1st bimmer was a 90 325is, bought and broken in on the German autobahn. I currently have an 03 E39 M5 and 87 E24 635si and have had others in between, but still want another E30 325is. My 1st true bimmer love 💋💖
Life is a series of choices. I sold my beloved 57 CJ5 that I personally restored between my Junior and Senior year of high school and traded my hot rod F100 for a substantial down payment for my wife's first car ever to be in her name; her car, not a shared with Mom ride or one of mine that I gave her to drive. Yes, I regret selling my Willys and I still dream of embarrassing cars from red lights with my old truck, but my wife loved that little car. Happy wife, happy life. Sharing memories, and mistakes enriches others. Happy collecting all....