By on July 11, 2016

1994 BMW 530i in California Junkyard, RH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Because BMWs of the last quarter-century tend to be complex machines, intolerant of owners who flake on maintenance and expensive to fix once all those deferred problems result in a major failure, American self-service junkyards are full of Bavarian machinery. I see dozens of discarded E30s, E28s, and E36s every year, and hundreds of scrapped 7 Series cars. I’m not sufficiently interested to raise my camera and document their demise most of the time. However, an E34 5 Series with V8 and manual transmission isn’t something you see every day in the junkyard.

Here’s a ’94 that I shot in a yard in California’s Central Valley last week. (Read More…)

By on December 21, 2015

2000 BMW 540i

The kids have been getting on my nerves lately, with all of their, “Santa, please bring me this toy I’ll lose by Sunday” and “Daddy, don’t forget me at soccer practice again” and all that. I’ve decided to spite them, and that I need to spend their college fund on vehicle maintenance. So I’m looking at used, high performance, family sedans this week.

If I were so inclined to spend a public-school semester tuition every year on car repairs and general upkeep, an older BMW would be at the top of my list.

(For the nice folks at child protective services that may be reading, I never forget my children anywhere. I keep them safely chained in the basement at all times.)

I’ve always admired the styling of the E39 5-series; restrained, with just the slightest hint of aggression in the wheel arches and wide alloys. The M5 certainly appeals to me, but the asking price just seems a bit much. However, I’ve been told that the 540i with the M-Sport package is a great budget alternative to the M5, so I went shopping.

(Read More…)

By on November 24, 2015

BMW 318is

TTAC commentator tedward writes:

Hey Steejeev,

I thought I’d finally throw my hat into the ring as my wife and I are on the hunt for a second family car.

We currently own a ’91 BMW 318is and a ’13 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen 2.5 — both manual, of course. In our previous lives as NYC residents, this was an extravagant stable that required personal sacrifice and demanded constant justification in casual conversation.

On one hand, we find ourselves with one real life car that fits us all; on the other, a relatively unsafe car that shouldn’t be relied upon (at 200,000+ miles) for day-to-day duties.

(Read More…)

By on April 14, 2014

IMG_20140405_144902

Friend of TTAC Anand Ram writes about getting more than he bargained for at the Avis counter.

There’s an explosive truth I want to share: We writers don’t make a lot of money. While you gather yourself from the recoil of that bullet, here’s another: It doesn’t really stop us from wanting nice things.

Perhaps, then, the choice for this young writer’s first ever rental car makes little sense: Luxury.

Well, “luxury.” I’m not a car guy. I can name several pricey models, but I’ve driven around in my dad’s Toyota Corolla for most of my life. I know how a BMW 328i differs from a 335i in literal terms, but not on the road.

(Read More…)

By on November 6, 2013

bmw

 

A reader writes:

Steve –

So glad to see you back at TTAC.  I’ve learned so much more about auctions to go along with what you and I discussed a year-and-a-half (!) ago.

I have a question of a personal nature. Well, it’s still car-related, but it has to do with MY car, so I guess that’s what makes it personal.

(Read More…)

By on January 9, 2012

I’ve seen quite a few BMW E12s in wrecking yards over the last couple of decades, but they haven’t really quite caught my eye the way Detroit and Japanese cars of the same era tend to do. But what other Middle Malaise Era machine gave you rear-wheel-drive, independent rear suspension, a manual transmission, and a fuel-injected overhead-cam six-cylinder engine making close to 170 horsepower? (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2011

We’ve seen a BMW 5 Series take the overall win at a LeMons race before, but that was about 50 races back. Today, the If It’s Not Punk It’s Junk 525i put a big BMW back into the winner’s circle. (Read More…)

By on December 4, 2011

The checkered flag waved, the sun went down, the traditional delivery of lost bumpers and mufflers got dumped off the safety truck in front of LeMons HQ, and the Buttonwillow paddock went into the usual LeMons Saturday Night party mode. With the top five teams all grouped into a three-lap spread, there’ll be a long night of beer-fueled bench racing ahead. (Read More…)

By on October 23, 2011

It was a long, hot, crazy, metal-crunching day at Infineon Raceway today, with cars bashing into walls and each other, shooting rods through hoods, catching on fire, and generally reducing the world’s stock of sub-$500 beaters. Still, some of the 171 Skankaway Anti-Toe-Fungal 500 24 Hours of LeMons teams managed to keep running, and when the session ended we had some familiar faces in the top five. (Read More…)

By on June 27, 2011


A BMW has taken the overall win at the Pacific Northworst 24 Hours of LeMons, but it wasn’t yet another dime-a-dozen E30. Nope, the winner this time was the bigger and more dignified E28 5 Series. (Read More…)

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