Motor Market Misegos: Mechanics Are Like Girlfriends

Paul Grusche
by Paul Grusche

BMWs are my weakness. My first car was a 1974 2002 burgundy over tan five-speed with a sunroof. At the time, it was twelve years shy of being a new model and cost all of $1000 bucks. Yet ask any high school girl what kind of car I drove and they all knew three letters. They were clueless to the many stranded push starts I experienced. Since the carburetors needed rebuilding, I’d kill the battery before it would run. Girls were also impervious to the rust and completely unable to fathom 140,000 miles on the clock. All this taught me one thing, park on a hill and find a good mechanic.

Fast forward twenty years, one ’84 533i, a ’89 535i and a ’91 M5 later, and I continue to set myself up for failure. These cars are brilliant to drive. It’s like every other car is a step down. Now hold on . . . I’m not going to go all Car and Driver on you and rate these cars the best above all the rest. I’m simply saying there is a reason manufacturers chase them. The problem is they break. And when they do, it’s expensive. Things you’d never expect to go wrong go wrong. Gremlins in the electrical system can take out gauges, flax discs break so you can’t shift and switches simply stop working. Heck, we had Erhard himself, owner of Erhard BMW, try to trace down an electrical short that killed the battery every five days. He couldn’t find it; we sold the car.

They say to find your mechanic first, then buy an old classic. These days it’s a lot easier to find knowledgeable and reputable wrenchers through the Internet and car clubs. Trial and error, and error, had been my usual way. It took me some time to find Peter Mardikian of Mardikian Automotive in Redondo Beach. He is a master. He loves BMWs. He is the reason I bought the M5. The trouble is, now I’m ready to sell the M5 and all I keep thinking about is buying another BMW. I love all cars and want that new and different experience. But in the end, I keep thinking about the hassle it is to start a new relationship with a new mechanic . . . I just can’t seem to break up with Mardikian.

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Paul Grusche
Paul Grusche

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  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Aug 12, 2009

    A good mechanic, a good butcher, a knowledgeable wine merchant, a local fruit and vegitable vendor, a fish vendor - These are all people who make my life wonderful. If I didnt have a first rate VW mechanic, my Golf 3 would never had made it to 230,000 miles. So much so that I am not considering another car (why?). I do none of the work myself. None. I suppose that it would be cheaper to do it myself, but i dont have the tools or the interest. So my hat is off to excellent service providers everywhere. Without them (i mean us, i am a service provider of a kind), my life would be filled with stuff i dont like doing,instead of stuff that I find interesting. And yes, when and if i change cars, I would probably stay in the VW family because of my mechanic.

  • JakemonO JakemonO on Aug 12, 2009

    there's an "H" in "Mishegas"

  • Vulpine A sedan version of either car makes it no longer that car. We've already seen this with the Mustang Mach-E and almost nobody acknowledges it as a Mustang.
  • Vulpine Not just Chevy, but GM has been shooting itself in the foot for the last three decades. They've already had to be rescued once in that period, and if they keep going as they are, they will need another rescue... assuming the US govt. will willing to lose more money on them.
  • W Conrad Sedans have been fine for me, but I were getting a new car, it would be an SUV. Not only because less sedans available, but I can't see around them in my sedan!
  • Slavuta More hatchbacks
  • ED I don't know what GM is thinking.I have a 2020 one nice vehicle.Got rid of Camaro and was going to buy one.Probably won't buy another GM product.Get rid of all the head honchos at GM.This company is a bunch of cheapskates building junk that no one wants.