December 4, 2005
It's been a long time since I've written anything, so I figured I'd close out the year with a summary of events of the last six months and talk a bit about my plans for next year.
The good news is that I haven't done any maintenance to the car since the last report, but the rub is that I haven't exactly been driving it everyday either. The Acura RSX I picked up at the height of premium gas prices ($3.65 for historical reference) has seen to that. Since I put a couple thousand miles on the car before getting the Acura and the oil service is now calendar time limited, I'm due for an oil change that I'll probably schedule for later this month or early next year. I've continued to drive the car to work once a week (usually on the nicest day of the week) to keep the rust out and so far it appears to be enjoying the time off with no apparent ill-effects.
In September the car went through inspection in record time and passed with flying colors (see the inspection report). It certainly paid to go to the out-of-the-way station at 7:30AM as I was the only car there. This time the attendant managed to find the OBD II terminal easily. Since the car had been running well for many months I didn't bother to clear the codes prior to the inspection, and fortunately for my checkbook no codes were recorded during the inspection. The result? It's good in the eyes of the New Jersey Eco-Nazis for another two years.
The plans for the car are uncertain at this point. Now that I have a second car and can take the time to do things myself, I'm seriously considering restoring it. If I do this, the plan will be to take the car to a competant body shop to clean up the paint, then do an interior restoration including carpet, front seat leather, steering wheel and rear deck cover. And while it's gutted, I'll install all new audio gear -- something I've wanted to do for years. And when I'm done, I could sell the Acura to pay for it all and have money left over to put a deposit on (gasp) a new E90.
I 've seen spy photos of the new E90 Coupe and the design does not look that bad. I'm not quite sure whether they have toned down a few of the annoying design cues (like the wrap-around headlights) or drawn my attention away from them with the sexy lowered suspension, low-profile rims and tweaked engine. Either way, under that exterior of questionable design breathes the racing-inspired BMW drivetrain. A 400HP V8 coming to the M3? Wow. Maybe BMW hasn't forgotten about performance after all. Now as long as they keep that iDrive crap optional and business is good to me over the next few years, I may be a repeat buyer.
Oh, and if you're wondering whether my dealer is planning to file for bankruptcy because I haven't given them any money the last six months, rest assured that I'm finding others to crack that nut for me. And it feels *really good* not to be the one writing the checks for a change. :-)
For example, a friend who owns a '98 528 with 100K miles decided it was time to do new struts and shocks. He expressed an interest to upgrade the car to the sports suspension at the same time, and I thought that would be a reasonably priced option. He was fed up dealing with the other dealers in the area so I hooked him up with my mechanic. After some difficulty in researching the parts required (due largely because BMW provides replacement parts based on VIN and this car didn't come from the factory with sports suspension), the parts guys and my mechanc managed to convert this mild-mannered premium package 528 into a tire-screeching sports package car for around $2200.
My friend's comment to me when all was said and done? "Man, [your mechanic] is such a nice guy. He actually took the time to talk to me about what I wanted." All I could say was "Hey, keep it quiet, or we'll both be waiting over a month for appointments." :-)