A Sad Day for my 18-yr-old 1988 e30
(Excerpts from my posts on Roadfly message boards)

Part 1 – Jan. 28, 2006

Earlier this week on Jan. 23, 2006, my best friend and daily driver, an 88 325is, was run into by a moron in a 2003 Chevy commercial pickup who floored it in reverse and never saw me or heard my horn (I had no time to get out of his way). I wasn’t even moving when he hit me – had just been entering the street from a parking lot and noticed him put it in reverse (he was already on the street waiting at a stop sign behind another car to turn left), so I stopped moving and laid on the horn. I thought he was only backing up to get into the right lane to turn right at the stop sign instead of turning left where he was originally located (this street is hard to turn left on). Afterwards, the idiot told me he was backing up to go back into the parking lot because he forgot to go into another store.

The pickup driver admitted fault and the police report indicates he is at fault, so I’m working with the guy’s insurance agency now on the claim. They have unfortunately declared it a total loss. As you know, even a minor scratch on a car this old can total it. The good news is that the title will not be marked salvage because in the state of CT, if a car is older than 10 years, no title laws apply (at least that is what the insurance agency told me).

Damage is limited to the right front end (no frame damage) and there is no engine damage except that it needs a new radiator bracket to hold the radiator in place. Car needs a new hood, new right front fender, new right headlights and right grill assembly. Bumper can be saved - only minor damage next to right turn signal on bumper.

Interior is in great shape – dash has no cracks whatsoever and looks new -- black leather shows normal wear, but still looks great (I used a sheepskin cover on the driver seat). The car has been garage kept practically 24 hours a day --at home and during the day in the parking garage at my office for years.

The engine on this car is awesome and I planned on driving this car for many more years, but it’s not feasible for me to keep it now and fix it. Body shop says he’s having trouble finding used parts and new parts are too costly. The engine has the Dinan chip and it was almost completely rebuilt (was not removed, just many things replaced) in 1998 at 122K by a Dinan technician at their location in Mountain View, Calif. and has run perfect ever since – I attribute this technician’s expertise (and simply the workhorse nature of this era of BMWs – their best years!) to the many years of no engine problems other than routine stuff (oil changes, new hoses, etc. – replaced the thermostat last week and the clutch last year). The car currently has 194K and is located in Stamford, CT. I have all repair receipts since 1997 when I purchased it.

If any of you guys are DIYers and good with body work, you could have a great daily driver or track car with this baby (I've had great times with this baby on Laguna Seca and Sears Point!), or of course, it could always be a parts car. I would much rather see the car go to an enthusiast than to the salvage yard, so I need to find out this weekend if anyone is interested in it. I’m supposed to settle up with the insurance agency on Monday.

It currently has 14” snow tires and steel rims on it, but I also have a set of 16” summer rims and tires that you see in the picture below. They are 16” TSW rims and have low-miles Yoko ES100s on them – I think I got them last year and they are only used for half the year. I have not detected any rust. The car has only been in the northeast for 3 years -- and I have a tendency to not drive in the snow anyway.

Car is located in Stamford, CT and if anyone is interested, they would need to arrange for pickup (it’s located at a body shop one block off of I-95 near exit 8). I need to sell the car as a whole and can’t part it out (I could sell the TSW rims w/Yokos separately, though, since they are here in my apartment, but I can’t ship). Engine runs great, but I would not recommend driving it without putting in the new radiator bracket first (hose came off and some fluids leaked out), so the car would need to be towed.

If anyone is seriously interested, please email me so we can discuss a fair price. Link to damage pictures is below. Photos are on Kodak Gallery, but you don’t need an account – just select “view photos without signing in.”

I am just so sad – feels like I’m really losing a best friend. :-(

My Poor e30!!

Part 2 – Feb. 3, 2006

Well (sniff, sniff), it's gone. I said good-bye to my friend of nine years this morning. I sold the 88 e30 to a local salvage/auto parts place that thinks they know a couple of people who may be interested in the whole car (rather than parting it out). I'm sure they will make some good money on that car no matter what they do with it.

After finally seeing the engine two days ago (the hood was stuck closed last week when I was there and they had since opened it), I was glad that I made the decision to let the car go. Not only did it need a new radiator bracket, but the belts/pulleys and hoses had been mushed up against the engine block which would have greatly increased the repair costs had I kept the car. It also would have caused my confidence level on the high reliability of the engine to never be the same again after the repairs. :-(

I would have preferred for the car to go to an enthusiast and I actually had a couple of folks interested (found some awesome folks over on the e30 board that gave me some great contacts in CT). But they could not get here to see the car for a couple of weeks and I needed to move it asap since I had no place to store the car myself (it was still at the body shop).

I settled with the insurance company on Wednesday. They made me a very low-ball offer last Friday that I did not accept. I faxed them copies of current classifieds for the same car with similar mileage, so they finally raised the offer to a fair price. The only thing I had to bicker with them about was how long I could keep the rental car. I won't be able to get another car until my next trip to Nashville which is late next week. Fortunately, after talking to the adjuster's supervisor, they agreed to extend the rental.

I sold the summer 16" TSW rims and Yokos that were not on the car at the time of the accident to AutoTechnic in New Milford, CT, a high performance BMW shop. They said they wanted the rims because it's getting more difficult to find 4-bolt rims for the older BMWs.

What's interesting is that in the end, I got more money for the car as a result of this accident than if I had tried to sell the car myself before the accident occured. It had an awesome engine and perfect interior, but there were a few door dings, pink side mirrors (the red paint from that era was awful!), needed a new light behind the OBC display, etc. - some minor quirks that would have lowered the selling price.

So now I'm moving away from the 1980s era and have purchased another 3-series but from the 1990s. I must say that every 1980s era BMW that I ever owned has been a workhorse -- BMW really knew what they were doing with those engines. If you ever need a second car for the track or for a daily driver to preserve your Z and you want very cheap transportation, you shouldn't hesitate at looking at the late 1980s models - high mileage or not - especially those owned by an enthusiast. With simple routine maintenance (and no accidents!), they will last forever. :-)

# # #