Found the perfect car at Alhambra BMW in the LA, CA area: Imola Red 2000 M Coupe with black interior and 8,000 miles on it. CPO warranty out until 100,000 miles or 2006. When I called the dealership and started to deal on the price his "final" offer was something like $600 below what they were asking. I told him to get real...
How surprising... Alhambra BMW called me back with a counter offer. I told them it was too much. After more negotiating and call backs, we agree on a price (that is less than what I offered him yesterday since I was now pissed off). Now starts the process of getting a shipper for the car. Unfortunately California has a really dumb law that says even if I'm going to register the car in Oregon (where there's no sales tax), if I pick up the car in California I have to pay sales tax on it! The dealer told me this and I couldn't believe it, so I called the California DMV, and they confirmed, but told me to call the California Board of Equalization. I did, and they confirmed that if the car touches the road in California after the sale I have to pay sales tax. How STUPID! The title expert at my credit union told me that she has helped several people buy cars in California and never had any of them have this problem with sales tax. It apparently IS a law (since I checked on multiple fronts), but I guess most dealers just aren't hard asses about it like mine was.
I got the shipper all lined up. The car should be picked up soon and will be on its way to me.
It's finally here! Received a call from the shipper this morning that he'd be in my area around 7am. He didn't want to drive the truck through the neighborhood, so he met me down the street in a parking lot. Since I bought this car sight unseen, when he pulled back the side of the truck this was the first peek I ever had of my car (the dealer didn't even have pictures of it online). It was perfect seeing just the front of it like that... almost like a strip show. :-)
What's up with that beater above my car, though? This trailer was full of Jaguars and BMWs. Yet above my car was this POS. It dripped oil and WAX (don't ask me where that came from) all over my new (to me) car! Grrr... Oh well. There wasn't much time to take it all in, as I was late for work! I signed the paper work, and drove the 'coupe for the first time, to work. I couldn't resist taking it out for an hour drive at lunch. Even though the streets were soaked I had a blast just being in it. I remember getting out and thinking, "Is this really my car?" Didn't quite seem real... It goes without saying that right when I got home that night I washed it (in the dark).
Went out for my first Portland meet! There were a total of 4 'Coupes there, and 3 that went for a drive afterwards. It was nice getting out and meeting some of the local 'Coupe owners. I look forward to many more meetings and drives.
I went and saw a movie with my dad. Afterwards as we're driving home and I was about to turn left into the neighborhood, my dad grabs onto the Oh Shit bar, as if I'm going to really whip around the corner. Well, I wasn't planning on it, but I figured I'd humor him. Problem was, I guess while the main street was dry, the street I was turning onto was still wet from rain the day before. And dumbass me really slammed on the gas. I was at mid corner when the back end started sliding out. Knowing that if I lift, the car will flip around the other direction, I see that the street is wide enough to continue the slide through the corner, so I countersteared to do so. It was just then that the ASC came in, cutting power from the engine, and the car shot off in the direction I now had the wheels pointed, and we went slamming into the curb. This slowed me from around 35mph to 5 or so. At that speed I could tell something was seriously wrong. At least the rear wheel was no longer round, as the car rose and sunk as we continued the 3 blocks to the house. Back at the house I looked at the damage. I hoped that I just needed new wheels, but in the morning (it was dark when we got home) it became quite clear that something more was wrong. As you can see from the pictures below, not only is the rear wheel fractured in multiple places, but the whole rear wheel is set in a few inches. It should be nearly even with the fender. Suspension damage must have occurred.
Fracture in right rear
The wheel is certainly set in
The 'coupe was towed to Active Autobody in NW Portland. Total for the damages was around $5,500, including 4 new wheels. Replacement factory wheels were about the same cost as some pretty nice after-market wheels, so I decided to get some SSR GT3 wheels. They will be shipped from Tire Rack directly to the repair shop. Tires will be Kumho ECSTA Supra 712s. 235/40/18 for the front and 265/35/18 for the rear.
As suspected, suspension damage was done to both the right and left lower control arms, plus the right rear shock.
I've had the car back for a bit over a week now, and really like the new wheels. The larger wheels (therefore shorter sidewalls) do have a bit rougher ride, but I love the look of the wheels. I just got done washing the car before heading off for a wedding, so I decided to grab some pictures before I took off.
My first visit to Portland International Raceway for a BMW track day. I just wanted to take in the whole experience without actually driving my car on the track. I did bum several rides with my friend Roy in his Estoril Blue M Coupe, as well as a ride with his son in his Ford Focus. A very fun time indeed. The complete writeup can be found here. Unfortunately an E36 M3 didn't fair so well on the very first lapping session:
Track day #2, just visiting again. ScottN was there with his new R compound tires mounted on SSR Comps. Too bad he drove to the track with them on, because then we couldn't see his new street wheels, ACS Type III Racing. Oh well. Again, another fun day. No major mishaps this time. A Ferrari 360 Modena showed up and was running in the Novice group. Sure is a pretty car. Read the short writeup here, which includes a picture index.
My first track day actually driving! Wow, what fun! It was a BMW club day and very full. I tried to register in the novice group a few weeks before the event but was told that they were already over-booked for the number of instructors they had. I asked if a friend of mine who knew the track well could instruct me. They agreed, so it was on. The first session was a bit nervous getting used to where to turn and where to slow, but after that first session I was dying to get out there again. By the third session I was clearly the fastest car in the novice group and traffic was really becoming a drag (there were probably ~30 cars on the track at once). After three runs I was feeling pretty comfortable. My fourth run was scheduled for after the advanced driver's fourth run. However, there wouldn't be a fourth run for the novices. During the last advanced session my good friend Roy hit the wall on the back straight and the day was over. The most amazing part is he didn't have a single scratch on him! These truly are awesome cars. Not only do they nearly provide $100k performance at a fraction of the cost, but they're one of the safest cars on the road. Hopefully Roy will get another coupe to bring to the track soon. At least it died doing what it loved. Pictures can be found here.
Second track day was just a week after my first! This time a Lotus club event, which is in conjunction with the all British Field Meet, which was also this weekend. Lotus club only runs Intermediate, Advanced, and race car groups. Naturally I ran in intermediate. Since this was my first time in the next level up I figured I'd just take it really easy and accept the fact that I would probably be passed quite a bit. The first session I was just trying to get back into the flow of things. By the second session I realized that it was I who was doing all the passing. Very surprising indeed. I got a grand total of 5 sessions in and most of the time I was the fastest guy on the track (except when that darn F50 blew past me at 150mph on the front straight). During my fourth session I spun in turn 4, but was able to keep the car on the track. Problem was I lifted for a second right at corner entrance. Instead of getting back on the gas I lifted even more, and out came the back end. Hopefully I'll do the right thing and get back on the gas next time.
I've been told by others that the Lotus club events are the best track days at PIR. I must agree that they are the best that I've attended. The emphasis is on maximizing track time. Also, the coolest cars show up. Seeing a Ferrari F50 blasting down the front straight ~30mph faster than everyone else on the track is awesome. The guy who owns the F50 also owns the orange Lotus Exige below.