Piston Slap: Self Worth Vs. The $8000 Flagship
TTAC commentator zamoti writes:
I have successfully nursed along my aging Maxima without replacing the transmission, but now sans muffler, balding tires and growing rust, I feel it may finally be time to part ways. Though it is fun to offer my fellow motorists a dose of the sound and the fury of the delightful 3.0 VQ, I have decided that it is time to grow up and select a more dignified form of transportation. Plus my wife calls me a hillbilly.
In the quest for dignified wheels, I am a bit hamstrung by the fact that I’ve just purchased a (second) house and probably not looking very good on paper. As such, my task is to seek a gentleman’s car on a cash basis maybe even at a BHPH lot. I have about $9k to spend and the Maxima to sell. Long ago when Murilee was seeking out a 1st gen Q45, I though that a hyper-depreciated luxury barge would be a great idea if I ever needed something of the sort. Well, that time is now; I occasionally need room for five, three of those are car seats. I have been nosing around and narrowed the choices to a 2001 BMW 740il and maybe a 2003 Infiniti Q45. I don’t think it’s going to be much of a choice since there aren’t many Q45s available, so I’m leaning toward the ample supply of e38s.
I’m willing to spin my own wrenches on whatever I get, but this does need to be my sole DD so it can’t be a flatbed queen. Is this a horrible idea to seek out an $8000 used luxury flagship? A sampling of BMW forums state that the later variants of e38 were fairly reliable, but that’s a fairly narrow band of people to expect an unbiased opinion from. I’m aware that any premium brand is going to require a bit of money socked away for maintenance and willing to live with that as the downside. I’ve looked at the common issues and feel that I can handle most of them on my own.
I am not against other choices, but I do like the idea of that 7-series. It has room for all, looks good, and above all else, it is a gentleman’s car.
Murilee drives a Honda Civic on a daily basis, and he bought a Lexus LS for a luxurious play toy! You, however, completely lost your mind!
Wise up and get something better than an $8000 flagship.
BMW E38s–while unbelievably pleasant to drive with styling that gets better with age–are fragile and expensive “flatbed queens” as you so eloquently put it. Take it from someone who worked on his father’s 750iL, which had more problems from the E38 underpinnings than the unique bits associated with the V-12 engine.
But I still miss that eggplant-hued, unquestioned “King of the Road” from 1996…yet I still want to burn it to the ground!
So the lesson is that you cannot buy dignity for $8000. Q45?
A little (lot?) better, ditto a Lexus LS a la Murilee. But not good enough, since you have a wife, kids and no spare vehicle! Find dignity and self-worth elsewhere…force your kids into sports even if they hate it, and absolutely do not buy an $8000 flagship!
Drive a normal, boring or even shitty car and get motivated to become the next self-made bazillionaire who ignores the folly of wealth and drives a Ford truck. Or some hyper-motivated, soul sucking Gordon Gekko type.
Either way, whatever works for you.Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
Kyngfish on Sep 04, 2013
I've owned an 04 Mercedes SLK32 AMG for 3 years - and so far - it's been great. But there's a difference between reliable and durable. So far I've replaced the engine mounts, the drive-shaft rubber thingy, the crankshaft position sensor, a battery and terminal cable (in a 100 degree parking lot on a Sunday) and the connector between the transmission and the TCU which was causing a leak. I DIY as much as I can, and I've done the filters, oil changes, battery work, brake replacements, CPS sensor on my own. On deck is replacing the tail-lights (the bulb panel is warped - but some nice LED replacements can be had or 250) and the dome light housing (MB wants 260!!! dollars for it). If i needed to do a 30+ mile commute daily, I wouldn't use it, but in a pinch, I can bike to my office - so I prefer having a car I love. I've always loved that 7-series, but if I couldn't spend close to 20k on a car for myself, I'd worry that I am getting something that is a bit older with a lot of baggage from previous owners that may not be as crazy about maintenance as me.
Hihosilver on Sep 08, 2013
Swallow your pride and for the sake of your children and bank account buy a large family vehicle that can handle what you have to carry with minimal repair and maintenance/luxury. I.e. a large wagon, Honda Pilot, or something similar. Once your kids are out of the house, you can get the car of your dreams.....
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