Friday, December 30, 2016

Hechtspeed's new ride: 2001 BMW 330ci (E46)

So ya, #dontknowwhattheheckIwantosis has struck again.  I sold the Honda Fit in July 2016 for $9100 with 79k miles on it because, well, I was bored of it. I owned it for 2.5 years, which is a pretty average ownership time period for me.  The thought was to keep it until my oldest son turned 16 and pass it down to him. It would have about 120k-130k miles on it and be worth about $4k or so.  Buuuut, I couldn't make it that long with such a practical, economical, wise to own car.

Here's a pic the day I bought the bimmer.  Dig the "LOL@URVTEC" shirt, eh?!  haha

I bought a 2001 BMW 330ci, which is a 2 door coupe with the 3.0L inline 6 cylinder engine (M52) with a 5 speed transmission for $6500 from the 2nd owner in Syracuse. I really tried to put a lot of thought into what car I would replace the Fit with. Especially once I got the clearance from my wife, I started looking hard on the classifieds. Honestly, I started out looking at 90's Mustangs and Civics. Shocker! I was really considering a 1995 Mustang Cobra with like 45k miles on it for $12k. It was super super clean, yes, 2 supers.  But...the one thing that turned me away from it was it only has 2 seat belts in the back seat.  Sigh....yes, 1 seat belt changed my path.  The Honda Civic force was strong. I really want to build a 90's Civic like I've always wanted to build.  Simple JDM style, lower ride height, wide-ish wheels and tires, B or K series swapped engine, just a clean looking, great handling sport compact car.  But, these cars are now 20-25 years old and essentially need to be restored in some measure to meet my daily driver / reliability requirements. I actually test drove a red EK chassis hatchback, totally stock with 5 speed. It was a female college student's first car.  Aaaaaand it drove like it.  Very mushy suspension and a clutch that was long gone.  It was slipping and the engine revving up while cruising down a city street at like 30mph.  I don't think the girl had a clue that this was a problem or that anything was even wrong with the car.  I don't remember now, but she was asking like $2500 and it was totally worth it.  The clutch could have been done for like $250 in my garage, but #aintnobodygottimeforthat! haha It was a minor project type car and having to do work right up front scared me away.  Oh man, the temptation to spend the $6-7k difference in selling the Fit compared to buying this Civic was so strong (coilovers, engine swap dancing in my head), but in the end, the barriers were too many with the Civics. After driving this car, I decided then and there I was not going to be getting an older Civic. I was back to the drawing board, really.  Mustangs out, Civics out and without even thinking about it, Subaru's were out.  My own dad's 2003 WRX engine rebuilds (all 3 of them) kept Subaru on the "nope" list.  So now what?  BMW? My cousin Benrod previously owned an E36 M3 coupe in Dakar Yellow and had loved that car.  He suggested I look into an E36 or E46 bimmers. Because #ultimatedrivingmachine right?

Close up of the rear 18x9.5 VMR wheels with 255/35/18 Michelin Pilot Sports. Also note the drilled/slotted rotors and Hawk street pads.

The E36 cars are from 1992-1998, which found themselves in the same bucket as the 90's Civics, 20 years old = project/restoration = nope.  That left me with fine tuning the KSL ad search criteria to 1999-2005 E46 coupes and sedans, click the manual transmission button and then the "SEARCH" button.  I test drove 2 cars. The first was a blue 2003 330i ZHP 6 speed sedan in blue. I met the seller in the Point of the Mountain area and drove it down the 15 freeway a few miles to Lehi and back. The owner had done almost all the maintenance himself. I think he was the 2nd or 3rd owner.  It was pretty clean, but not sparkling.  The price was reasonable at $8500, similar value to my Fit would soon sell for ($9100).  This was on a Monday during lunch hour.  The Friday before I had texted back and forth with a black 2001 330ci coupe seller that had some nice bolt on mods, VMR wheels, short shifter, catback exhaust and a recent cooling system refresh with the replacement metal impeller'ed water pump.  He said that an interested buyer had put $500 down on it. After driving the Blue ZHP sedan I texted the black 330ci seller to see if it was still available. He said it was a long story but that yes, it was still for sale. The smartest thing I did was take my wife and 3 boys (1 was down at Lake Powell) to go test drive it. When we pulled up, the car was sparkling!  Seriously, it was super clean. Peeking in the garage was a 2012 M3 with Volk Racing wheels and Titanium exhaust!  Next to the M3 was a Moab modded Jeep Wrangler on jacks! :o So, that told me this kid was from a car guy family and probably took good car of this car. We all hopped in and went for a test drive.  It felt strong and smooth and the boys loved it!  haha  My wife ordered up a CarFax report right there in the driveway and it checked out clean. We told the seller we wanted it and that we could bring cash tomorrow (my wife had already sent the transfer of the funds because of how much I liked the blue ZHP earlier in the day). So, we headed home with the seller agreeing to sell it to me the next day.  He could tell how much I was into the car and that I was legit, I was married, with kids and an engineer. The next day, 29 June, 2016, I was the owner of a 15 year old Bimmer.  Crazy.
My friend took this photo of me driving out of the Boy Scout Camp up in Idaho this summer. This was a week or so after buying the car.  I wanted to protect the paint (took me about an hour and a whole roll of blue painters tape) and knew I had a dirt road to drive on.  It ended up being about 4 miles of dirt road.  It took me about 25 minutes to go 4 miles because I was being extra careful.  #carguylife

Now, being a car guy, I'm fully aware of BMW's, the "BMW-tax" on parts and labor but also BMW's Motorsports history and the 3 series Bimmer being the #theultimatedrivingmachine.

6 months later, what do I think?  I'm happy with my purchase.  OK, so its not my dream car.  Honestly, I don't have a dream car. Well, not an obtainable one. What do I like about it?  It's a great overall design.  The shape of the car is a classic rear wheel drive 2 door coupe.  The 3.0L inline 6 cylinder (making 225hp/200tq stock) is smooth, torquey and sounds great.  The Magnaflow stainless exhaust helps in the sound department. It's not anything like my Suby's straight pipe, but its louder than stock.  The car came with HR lowering springs and with the already low-ish stock ride height of 3 series Bimmers, it looks great with the 18x8.5 front, 18x9.5 rear VMR wheels. Tires are Michelin Pilot Sports in 225/40/18 front and 255/35/18 rear. It also came with a nice quality short shifter and weighted knob. Other things I dig about this bimmer is its the Premium Package (about $37k brand new), which comes with sunroof, tan leather, heated seats (love the heated seats! the 22 year old Honda fanatic Hechtspeed would be cringing right now) and overall really clean condition.  The first owner was a wealthy-ish guy who only drove 72k miles in the first 13 years of ownership and passed down lots of records. Oh ya and picked the car up in Germany! So far there's nothing bad.  The emergency brake needs to be adjusted as it doesn't grab on hills.  But that is a doable fix for me (already youtubed it).
Here is an Xbox Forza4 game car I made to resemble my bimmer. Looks pretty similar, execept mine has blacked out kidney bean grilles and LED "angel eyes" driving lights. Seriously, the LED lights are like my favorite thing about the car.

I've gone 10k miles so far. Actually just did the 2nd oil change today.  I'm using Royal Purple synthetic 5w-20 with the factory filter.  Totally love the oil filter placement.  Right on top in front. No oil mess to deal with.  One annoying thing is to safely jack the car up takes some work.  I won't bore you with the details but mostly related to having an old crappy Walmart jack that isn't low or long enough.  I'm on the stock 17x7 wheels with 205/50/17 Kumho Ecsta All Season tires right now due to Utah winters.  It looks lame!  I can't wait to put the VMR wheels back on.  I put the winter setup on in September, which was too early.  I should have waited until like November.  Oh well.
Stock/winter wheel/tire setup at my work parking lot.  The cool part about bimmers is they all use the same 5x120 wheel bolt pattern.  So, I can find cool looking stock wheels that people sell used.  I'd love to get a more interesting winter wheel for next year.  We'll see...

My skilled and talented wife busted out this 330Ci tshirt so I could represent at the Salzsee Annual Car Show up at the Solitude Resort here in Utah, a Euro specific car show in August. The image is a photoshopped photo I took of my car with DSLR camera.
Here's a collage of my brake caliper repaint using rattle can in Pontiac Blue.  Thoroughly clean and scrub and spend an hour masking off everything you don't want blue for 5 minutes of actual spray time.  I was thinking bright yellow like my brothers Mustang caliper paint job but decided to be less flashy.

Another collage, this time its with photos from the Salzsee (german for Salt Lake) Euro Car Show. What a beautiful drive up the mountains and a nice turn out with some very cool cars.

I guess that's it for now.  Oh ya, we named it Dieter, because we love Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf the German born Apostle and because it also happens to be the name of the German salesman who's business card is in the paperwork from when the original owner picked his car up in Germany in 2001.  Way cool history!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow long read but a great missed your calling...should have been a writer for a car mag.your really good at it.