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.

1994 BMW 530i in California Junkyard, LH emblem shards - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

In fact, I do shoot some BMWs for this series; for example, we have seen this 1998 Z3, the occasional 2002, and even an über-rare 1965 BMW 700. I’ll photograph a junked E30 pretty soon, I promise.

1994 BMW 530i in California Junkyard, Sparco seat - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

This one has the look of a much-abused track-day car, with its trashed one-piece Sparco seat and rear seat that doesn’t match the rest of the upholstery (suggesting that a weight-shedding owner ditched the original rear seat and a subsequent owner picked up a replacement at the junkyard).

1994 BMW 530i in California Junkyard, gearshift lever - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

By the middle 1990s, American 3-Series buyers were still getting manual transmissions in large numbers, but few were the BMW shoppers who opted for three pedals in a bigger car.

LBW11-WinnerOverall1

Cosmetically challenged E34s are very cheap, and so we see quite a few in the 24 Hours of LeMons race series. The six-cylinder cars have done well, winning their share of races, but BMW V8s have some severe reliability problems in this sort of racing. Still, a car like today’s 530i is a lot of fun on a road course.

1994 BMW 530i in California Junkyard, V8 engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

It’s a near-certainty that someone will grab the transmission and pedal assembly from this car before it gets stuffed into The Crusher, but the engine out of a (non-wrecked) car like has about as much chance of getting rescued as a 250,000-mile Jaguar V12.

BMW pitched this car as a sensible daily driver.

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

97 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1994 BMW 530i...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I wonder how long the original owner kept it. Does anything else in life have such a degrading final trajectory as a snooty car in America?

  • avatar
    VoGo

    3 liter V8. Complex and unreliable. Makes you wonder why so many of the B&B are so opposed to its replacement: the 2.0T.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Because “soul” or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      The 2.0T didn’t replace the 3.0L V8. It replaced the I6 of varied displacements. Having owned 2 modern 2.0T engines (BMW’s latest in the Clubman and the FSI VW version), I can certainly see how someone in a 3 or 5 series would prefer a 3L I6 over a 2.0T. I know I would have a hard time plucking $50k down on 4 cylinders hauling around 3600+ lbs. It is a lot more tolerable in a $25k-$35k hatchback.

      • 0 avatar

        Thank you. I recently had a 328 loaner car when my 330 was in for minor fixing. The engine makes nice power, but at the 45-50k price point, the only sounds I want to hear are smooth thrum, not thrash.

        The fact it makes a bit more power won’t fix that.

        The big engines in German cars fall into a cultural hole. In Germany, a V6 or V8 anything is a big fat showoff. Most folks drive a four, or more likely a diesel four. Getting a gas version is a serious upgrade, and going for a big engine (never mind we see it as tiny) is a very big upgrade. You are paying, literally, for those emblems on the side, or the big top speed on your registration and ruling the left lane of the autobahn. $10 per gallon adds up quick at 18 mpg vs 30. You have cash to burn, literally, if you have those emblems on the side of your car…which is why the “de-badge” option is popular in Germany.

        Think of the Audi V8 with the notorious timing chains on the firewall side. In the US, we wonder what sort of German Crack they are smoking. To the client over there who can afford this car, his 1%-ness just tells service to “make it so”, or the car is sold East where the repair is done at third world rates, and the 1%-er gets another one.

        I am convinced the stupid maintenance rituals of German cars where you see a $19 part under three hours of labor is because of the difference in the buyers US/Euro…and these things don’t get fixed in the US because owner 2 or 3 isn’t like owner 2 or 3 in Europe…over time they add up, and the car is toast.

        Again…a 4 cylinder turbo isn’t adequate in a 50k lux ride. No matter who makes the car.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I miss the 2.5L straight six that was in my departed ’04 325i – so smooth and a great power range. A real treat to spin up.

      My current car, a turbocharged 1.6L ’09 Clubman, actually feels pretty close to that 1.6L engine though the power tops off before it hits the redline. The straight-6 pulled much better on top.

      • 0 avatar
        vvk

        > I miss the 2.5L straight six that was in my departed ’04 325i – so smooth
        > and a great power range. A real treat to spin up.

        This! That engine is a true marvel. It feels turbine smooth and is just such a pleasure to drive. The newer I-6 engines are not nearly as good. Not bad, but just not as turbine smooth and do not sound as good.

    • 0 avatar
      Carzzi

      Had one of these (car in my avatar pic). It had a factory replaced shortblock, as it originally had the Nikasil bore-liners which fared poorly with US higher-sulphur content petrol. BMW replaced terminal-failure symptomatic engines with Alusil bore-lined blocks.

      Soul: the car had plenty of it, with the whirring, quick-revving V8, stirred with a stick. Later on, I had its rear muffler removed and straight-piped. Operatic, with no interior resonance. Handled pretty decently for a 3500 lb 4 door.

      I bought mine with 130K on the clock and it held up with no engine/trans breakdowns over 40K miles in my possession. Niggly little things like failure-prone window regs, AC and blower failures, seat mechanism shenanigans wore my patience thin, causing me to get rid it four years afterwards.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      3L BMW screams “straight six” to me, personally.

    • 0 avatar
      northern yacht

      those are not unreliable at all, and i talk from experience, i’ve had few of these, both the 3.0l 4.0l and the best of the bunch 4.4l, truly great engines

  • avatar
    skor

    Yup, BMW and Mercedes are insanely expense to repair and there is method to this madness. I’m convinced that the main reason Cadillac and Lincolns were ultimately shunned by buyers in top 1/3 of income demographic is because of all the Cadillac and Lincoln hoopties that came to infest the roads. Through the 60s and 70s, most Lincoln and Cadillac models were fairly reliable in relation to other cars of that era, and generally not too difficult/expensive to repair. The cars wound their way down through the secondary and tertiary markets, ended up parked curbside in the best ghetto and trail park communities. You rarely see a 20 year old Mercedes or BMW on the road because it costs too much to keep them running, so even though some do end up in ghettos, they are generally not rusted out, half primer with missing hub caps like you used to see with the old Lincolns and Cadillacs.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I guess it depends where you live. I don’t see a whole lot of old Lincolns and Cadillacs, but old Audis, BMWs, and Mercedes are the prime candidates for lowering kits, flashy rims, and young men who model themselves after gangsta rap aesthetics.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        Everywhere I’ve lived too. It’s been a long time since GM or Ford built durable luxury cars, but there are horrible German junkers in every project.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “You rarely see a 20 year old Mercedes or BMW on the road…”

      Yeah, not sure where you are, but I see them all the time. Still see 30 yr old BMWs all over the place and going even further back, a number of old classics (2002, 3.0, etc.). Trust me, I don’t live anywhere near the ghettos either.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        I see more really old Mercedes (think W126 S class and whatever code the old 190E is) than newer but still old mid to late 90s Mercedes.

        Hell, I’ve seen W123 wagons on occasion…

      • 0 avatar
        lon888

        Here in Oklahoma, you very rarely see 10 year-old BMW’s , M-B’s or Audi’s. Our outrageous hot-a$$ summers turn their paint, interiors and plastic components into expensive cracked and faded crap.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      This junkyard-find probably only had 110,000 on the speedometer. To expensive to keep it running so you just throw the car away.

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I work in the IT department of a plastic injection molder. Our company doesn’t pay that well for the factory workers, so I get to see a lot of cars that are being used well past their prime. Among the rusted out Caprices, beat-up Hondas, and economy cars there are a few oddballs:

      A girl who drives a rather minty E36 325i with bad aftermarket rims and an added-on M3 spoiler.

      A dude with an Audi A6 2.7T that he somehow keeps on the road.

      A silver E46 325i with rusted our quarters

      And a Mercedes ML with rusting doors.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      skor, it’s not unusual to see a 20 year old Mercedes in the Dallas suburbs, often with an elderly driver who appears to be the original owner. Older BMWs are a little more rare on the street, but I see an occasional well preserved M3.

      Any large car that can be fitted with insanely large wheels seems to become a “ghetto cruiser” before it meets the crusher. I mostly see well worn Panther platform cars and assume that their suspension must be relatively easy to modify. All Chrysler 300s seem to get ugly chrome dubs, but seem to avoid the lift and insanely large wheels. My guess is that German suspension modification is expensive.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m in Baltimore, and old BMW’s/Mercedes are a very common sight. Along with old Lexus and Infiniti products. Usually parked in front of a bodega, check cashing store, or prepaid wireless store.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        We’re hitting all the stereotypes today.

        • 0 avatar
          Kenmore

          Reality will do that.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Olé!

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Grango!

            Everybody!

            Grang-Go! Grang-Go! Grang-Go! Grang-Go!

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Frend,-

            I had to do a look-up on a Google’s Translation service for what OLE was. Last time I thinK I saw the begin of that word, it was for Oléan! Then I think “Wow, it’s been a long time since I think of that word, what was the problems?”

            And of course, The Internet comes to “Rescue 911!”

            Looks like the chips caused a problem in a downstairs pants type region for some people, so that they had to Lay’s (ha ha) off of using it.

            Best Slippery Time,

            Grango R.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            May the Saints always smile upon you, Grango. And may You someday visit my humble village for some perch plate and kringle!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            What would happen to a vehicle like this in your village, Grango?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Frend!

            Funny you ask and inquiry, as I think there was a similar model around just about one years ago. My Cousin had know the owner. He purchased to think “Oh, it’s a Germany, very reliable and solid with such an essence of Capitalism and pride!”

            So he drive around for almost two month, showing off at the factory, and also the market in his dark green Luxury and car portable phone. Then, something happen. I ask my Cousin why he isn’t drive all day around the clock like before? But he was not informed of my inquiry.

            Now I see it beside the shed where there is a goat and a chicken. I do not think it has any of the leather armchair left – only is closed doors for keeping animal feed bags dry and tidy. A Mouse Motel, right? Like a little DisneyLand branch in my Country, ha ha!

            Hopefully your question’s is answering before up ^,
            G. Relago.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I see tons of 20 year old Mercs around here, though not quite as many BMWs.

      The W123/126 diesels, especially, are basically unkillable cockroaches in terms of basic drivability.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I never found my 1984 318i to be cost prohibitive to own. Granted, it was a Euro model with crank windows and a slick top, so not much in the way of “complex” electronics to fail. I’m kind of looking at snagging one up again to keep in the garage for weekend fun. 103 HP ain’t much to brag about, but they were fun. A few tweaks to the suspense of my E30 made for a great Sunday backroad driver.

    Compared to the V8 with all sorts of electronic doo-dads, my car was pretty plebian. Not sure I’d want to take on much more than that as far as old Bimmers go.

  • avatar
    Shawnski

    That engine (and to a lesser degree its big brother 4.0) suffered from cylinder ovallation (nikasil spray lined) due to US fuel having a high content of suffer.

    I owned a ’94 E34 530 same color as this bone yard example and 5M. It replaced a ’92 525 I had in 1999. Even though the 525 was a 4A, it was the superior car; the 3.0 V8 was a lazy pooch and heavier where as the M50 I6 had a delicious top end. Once it surpassed the 60k mi extended warranty BMW put on these engines, I dumped it. It may have been my imagination but the tell tale sign of cylinder wear was a noticeable engine rocking.

    E34s are really sweet sedans, and robust with the right engine.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Exactly. These were the worst engines BMW made pre-turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      Dsemaj

      My old M60B30 ran like a dream, and jad great power. Yours must have been a dud. A friend had a M60B40 in a E34 540i which was pretty nice… until he put a ESS supercharger and the thing blew smoke like nothing else until it eventually grenaded itself.

      Granted the M54B30 3.0 I6 was a superior engine.

      • 0 avatar
        Shawnski

        It may have been a dude, an automatic 530 that I test drove felt faster than my 5M. Either way though that M50 I6 with aging glass mufflers ripped a nicer tune.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I see plenty of E30 and E34’s in the NYC area. For some reason the E30 seems to be the new car for tuners. I guess the Civic is so past decade.

          I also see a fair number of W123,124 and 126 Benz’s around. They are very solid long lasting road cars that can be kept going with the occasional and pricey trip to the local Autohaus.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    A classic bodystyle that remains ever-present on the European side of Russia in battered but daily driven condition, oftentimes imported from Lithuania or elsewhere in the Baltics in the 90s (stolen or wrecked cars from Germany). Very popular in black with a certain type of ‘clientele’ but ultimately always playing second fiddle to ubiquitous W124 Mercedes.

    An E34 played lead role in a gangster spoof classic “Zhmurki” made in 2005 but set in the 90s:

    linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA5A4c6B170

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I have always loved the look of these cars. A true sports sedan.

    I’m kind of surprised some enterprising young shop hasn’t figured out how to economically stuff junkyard 5.3 Vortec LS motors in them. A 340 HP 5.3 from a suburban, I bet would be a hoot in one.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      There were only a few of the V8 530i models sold, and most of them became scrap metal over a decade ago. The 6 cylinders and latter sleeved-cylinder 4.4 liter V8s were about the most durable parts of these cars. Sticking an LS into one doesn’t do anything about all the perished seat motors, window motors, HVAC functions, wiring, or elements of the interior materials.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    I do miss the old center mount window switches on BMWs.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    These cars had aluminum blocks, lined with Nikasil plating (nickel, aluminum, silicon) to reduce weight. Sulfur in the fuel forms acid which attacks the coating, leading to cylinder wear and loss of compression.

  • avatar
    Dsemaj

    I ran an E34 530i with the M60B30 for 3 years back until 201q, apart from the usual BMW oil leaks it was pretty much faultless.

    Granted it was a careful 1 owner car until the original owner didn’t want it after the local BMW dealer here in Australia wanted $2k to replace the rear muffler and $8k to replace the catalytic converters… I got the cats done for $500 and the muffler wasn’t noisy at all.

    Compared to my friends E34 535i with the M30B35, the M60 was silky smooth and loved to rev. The 535i felt like there was a banana stuck in the exhaust, it was wheezy and hopeless. Felt just as gutless after he blew the engine and had another one put in.

    The way that car could fly up to 170km/h and feel rock solid… the 5sp ZF auto wasn’t bad either.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You know, what’s happened to Krhodes? He should be here on this.

    I test drove a similar vintage 5-Series once, and was not impressed at the condition at 10 years old, nor with the quality of the interior.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Did the super dynamic handling amaze you? The 50-50 weight dist, the German engineering all around?

      Where I reside if it aint low lifes its slow drivers that like old BMWs. They handle real well at 29mph.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        240 vs 740, which is better?

        A very clean 740/auto was brought to my attention and it seems foolish to spend $500 either on new fenders/trunk or at the body shop for my 240 when I could have a whole car for a little more. But I do like my cloth seats, working AC, and stereo system… what to do?

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          You’re smarter than to get involved with an old 740!

          And for the record @Ryoku, the Audi 90 I ended up buying which was about the same year as that 5-Series I tested felt considerably more solid, and made of better materials.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @28-Cars-Later, GAWD at least with a Jaguar (as opposed to a BMW) someone has already done all the homework for a Chevy V8 swap…

            “This is not the sedan you are looking for.”

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Buy that 740 and 302 swap it. Instant fun!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            Volvo 740

            @Dan

            There is a kit for the 240 as well, also for the Ford 302.

            @NoGoYo

            I only have room for one classic, if I had room for two (and money to blow) one of them would probably get swapped.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ohhh. VOLVO 740.

            To that I say 960 or nah, son!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You better stick to Cadillac because you don’t seem to understand Volvo.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Please tell me more about the anvil-like reliability of gen 1 XC70? :D

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Everything from them pretty much junk after the Redblock went out in MY95. Volvo AB sold the car line not long after, which is no coincidence. The money just wasn’t there any longer and I imagine the cost of development was too high for the parent to continue doing business.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            This just made me recall how awful the 850 and S40 were.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            At Corey: Honestly that sums up most older German/Swedish cars for me, great metal, poor plastic, poor electrics, Japanese typically had the opposite troubles.

            At 28C:
            89s a decent year, that gets you glass 4 headlights which can be swapped for Euro, or kept without fear of yellowing. Im not big on Volvo leather just cuz it loves to crack.

            I’d consider it if the interiors in decent shape, no leaks under the engine, and everything works AC aside. 740 parts can be cheaper if more scarce than a 240s, they dont get the same love.

            But then again, over at a Volvo forum someones trying to get rid of a non running 240 wagon for free, weeksweeks later and only one flip floppy taker. Even Volvo buffs don’t want a free 240!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Ryoku75

            Which Volvo forum? I need a white parts car for mine, which is what prompted this whole thing.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Fixing an AC at a shop will cost double that $500, is the 740 a sedan or a wagon? What year?

          I do like the 740s more 80s ish driving manners, and better rear suspension bushings. I completely loathe their interiors (they aren’t far from an 850s). Their skinny center console won’t fit most radios so audio upgrades will be limited, lots of cheap trim parts.

          If the AC worked on thst 740 it’d be much much better than your 240s, assuming the vents don’t randomly close up, a common issue with 7-9 series as their HVAC hoses are of poor quality. Blower motor is a MUCH easier change in a 740.

          Check the fuse box, 740s have it in the center console and use blade fuses. 240s have it in an akward spot (which Honda copied weirdly).

          740s can rust or just wear out at the front underneath, weak engine cradles too. Door handles and gas caps are notorious for breaking thanks to cheap plastics.

          I’d consider a 740 wagon if the headliners okay, the sedan will make you miss the 240s generous trunk. But honestly, I prefer the 240 in most cases. Condition matters more overall to me between both cars.

          @ CoreyDL
          As unreliable as people say old Audis are, they were very good and choosing metals and rustproofing. Caught an 80s 5000s at a lot with 213k, pretty good shape! Didnt like the $3000 price though.

          As for your Volvo lesson, let me put it this way:
          Pre 850 – Cheaper to buy and cheaper to run W123s, if built cheaper. The 740 was kinda a micro Ford Panther with a BMW interior, built by GM.

          After 850 – A cheap Audi with every wild Audi internet horror come true. Fun fact: When Volvo worked on the 850s drivetrain the used a Citation as a mule, rumor has it they used the Citation as a benchmark for quality too.

          What ruined Volvos was their budgeting, the 740 had to be cheaper to make than the 240 (while selling for more money), the 850 even cheaper to make (while introducing a lot of new designs). Didn’t help the Nissan Maxima competed with the 850 and had a MUCH better interior.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The 5000 had the advantage of great paint, thick metal of good quality, and full galvanization!

            Just everything plastic they attached to it was complete crap.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY89 Sedan/auto, and I will just make my guy fix it for much, much less.

            Headliners, yes I forgot that’s an issue on those (also cheap plastic dash). This one is leather which I really don’t want, esp if the air is out.

            @Corey

            The C3 had the disadvantage of using a Volkswagen drivetrain.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That I-5, those lifters. Wow, wat noise.

            KLALAKALKAKLAKA

            Oh, Corey’s approaching with his Audi!

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Reminds me of my sister’s old Acclaim and its Mopar 2.5 diesel clatter.

            “Oh hey, my sister’s home! That or someone with a diesel VW is visiting.”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I can tell any Chrysler passenger vehicle from say 1988 until present just by the sound the starter motor makes. They have a higher pitched sound than other cars, and sound a bit “hyper.”

            I can also tell if something is a Pontiac without seeing it upon startup, because they were all grumbly.

          • 0 avatar
            CincyDavid

            Great assessment of Volvos…my 960/V90 has some wonderful attributes but some really dumb, cheesy engineering too. I don’t even want to talk about the C70 convertible…FWD Volvos are best avoided.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Was wondering the same thing.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    The Germans have a good hustle going.

    BMW , Mercedes, etc make the car with the latest gadgets and tech-but the tech and part components are only specd to last 50,000 miles. This is the biggest divergence from the German cars of old upon which their national reputation for reliability were built.

    The first owner or leasee finishes with the car generally by the 5 year mark , so the Status-Mobile in question gets traded or turned in. The first owner/leasee is off the lot in a brand new Status Mobile E-newchassisnumber , and at this point is raving to their friends about the bulletproof reliability of German cars and the trouble free nature of the experience, minus that one time where the Oil Thingy broke and the engine stopped making engine noises on Sunset and Vine. But hey, no ones perfect and it was warrantied.

    The next owner of the Status Mobile E-OldChassisNumber isn’t so lucky. They’ll be sold a line of bull from the used car salesman that the depreciated, E OldChassisNumber car is both a great drive and is reliable because it’s GERMAN, and only $11,995 plus tax.

    Mr NextOwner, fresh off of a Shmee150 Gumball Rally YouTube binge, signs on the dotted line and drives off. One day, He’d get to shake hands with Maximillian Cooper. Bunch of suckers his friends are buying Hondas and Toyota econoboxes, when he just rolled off the lot with this slab of European masculinity for less then 14K.

    “EML”. Huh.

    Used car guy didn’t mention that light at the dealer, and the Buick LeSabre he had before kept running with the Service Engine Soon light on. Besides, it’s a BMW after all. He’d read his share of Car and Driver articles . This was waaaay better then that Amercian made pile of crap Buick with 205K.

    What’s the worst thing that could happen if he ignored it? It’s not like the car would ever break down on Sunset and Vine ….

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I guess it just depends. I’ve owned multiple BMWs and a couple BMWs into the 6-8 year mark (well past warranty) and they have been great. Owned one of the early X5’s for over 7 years after buying it CPO and it was one of the most reliable cars I ever owned. My wife’s BMW we’ve owned now for 6 years after buying it used. Not a single thing has ever gone wrong with that car. Granted, I never skip any maintenance or services.

      My third car is a Honda Pilot and the other two are German. I probably spend more money on the Pilot on an annual basis than I do on my two German cars.

      And really, other than the cheapest of the cheap, are there ANY cars out there that aren’t loaded with tech anymore?

      • 0 avatar
        LS1Fan

        What do you mean by “maintenance and services”?

        Do you have a full monte warranty on the cars ? If so, is it BMWs or third party? If not how much have these “maintenance and services ” costed out of pocket?

        “I’ve had zero issues” from a BMW consumer with a warranty is like saying you climbed a mountain after helicoptering to the top.

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          I realize my story is just anecdotal. But by maintenance and service I’m talking about normal wear and tear (brakes for example) and routine services recommended by the manufacturer.

          No more warranty. The current one is outside of warranty and so were the previous three by the time they were sold. I have never purchased an aftermarket warranty, although I did have a couple under BMW’s CPO program. Haven’t had warranty on my wife’s BMW since 2013.

          As far as how much the services cost, I can’t really quantify it here at work. Again, I just shared as personal experience. We’ve had great luck with BMW and don’t plan to sell my wife’s BMW any time soon.

          • 0 avatar
            bricoler1946

            energetik9, my experiences too, it must be raining out, all the green eyed monsters are on this website.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      $12K for a 5 year old German car with 50K miles on it? Sign me up all day long.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      West German cars were great.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Frequently the simplest explanation is the best…it’s a twenty-two-year-old car. Statistically, the vast majority of twenty-two-year-old cars have been sent to scrapyards.

    I know this is a shocker for the self-reinforcing opinions I see at TTAC, but the majority of Accords and Camrys of this vintage have been sent to scrapyards, too.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      That is true

      If not the junkyard, I know two shops with abandoned 4th gen Accords, all because their cheapskate owners wont pay to fix them.

      Then again…one kinda needs a headgasket, which is normal if an owner skips on coolant or water pump repair.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      Mostly true, except in my numerous travels to rust free zones, there are plenty more 92-96 Camry then there should be. I know Toyota over-built those cars, but still. It doesn’t seem to apply to the Lexus EX of the same vintage though. The Accord didn’t seem to have that luck either.

      Throw in indifferent maintenance AND the Rust Belt, all cars will meet their end faster than usual. Even worse for high-end stuff on owner #4

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        The Camry more than likely sold more than the ES, more 4 cylinders too.

        Im convinced that most Accords are killed by hooning, broken timing belts, or all of the above.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Isn’t the mean age of the us fleet around ten years old? That means plenty of twenty year old Toyotas and Hondas.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        Mean or average?
        The most common model year is always the current or previous, unless you get a huge drop in sales like in ’08/’09.

        I always wonder how they calculate those stats. Is one 50-year-old car worth fifty 1-year-old cars? There are plenty of ways to get the numbers wrong.

        Here in the salt belt, the vast majority of cars and trucks on the road are less than 10 years old.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          Mean and average are the same thing. Are you referring to median?

          One thing to keep in mind is that what you see on the road isn’t necessarily a full sample size. A lot of older cars stay at home, either because they are precious (an early Mustang or Spitfire that only comes out on sunny days in May) or because they are third cars no one wants to drive unless they have to.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          The average age of US cars and trucks are both up to 11.4 years. Sure, there are cars that are older than ever every year, but they’re actually a smaller percentage of all cars. The average age has grown by three years in the past twenty mostly because cars are remaining in daily use longer.

          http://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_26.html_mfd

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      This. I happen to spend some time each week tooling around in a 21-year old Mercury Sable, and it’s incredibly rare to see another Sable or Taurus of this vintage, and I live in an area where these were very popular and prevalent cars (IE, flyover country). Not that many ’95 Accords or Camrys around either. Most people don’t drive 20-year-old cars by choice, nor do most people drive the same car for more than 5-6 years. I know plenty of people that get excited when they finally pay off their note, because it’s “time to get a new car.” People are easily bored, and if they have the means they move on.

      Also, in addition to being easily bored, most people put “automotive maintenance” right up there with getting their teeth drilled…only when they absolutely have to.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I guess I was influenced by my parents to keep cars. They did it, and they could buy a new house every five years if that’s what turned them on. I went through ten cars in my first few years of driving, many paid for by said parents. Once ruination stopped being my calling card, I enjoyed not constantly shopping for cars to replace the ones I’d inverted or my girlfriends had abbreviated. I’ve had lots of cars supplied by my employers come and go, but I keep the cars I buy with my own money until they no longer do what I want them to do.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    I bought a ’95 530 with an automatic from the original owner in Highland Park in 1999. It’s the only V8 I’ve owned, and it was a sad day to see it go. The engine made some great noise, had a, smooth, quick shifting slushbox and handled beautifully, especially considering the time. It’s interior was dated by 1999 but still well designed and it had great seats. Excellent car around town and eating up freeway miles. I loved it. It was the first car I owned that I emotionally connected with.

    Until the 3rd year of ownership. That’s when it overheated seemingly every few months, hoses needing replacing, the AC decided when it would work, and it became an expense more than a source of enjoyment.

    It had 70k miles by the time I sold it and had probably escaped the well documented Nikasil fiasco, but it nagged me that I might have a problem down the road.

    I sold it and got an E39 with an inline 6 figuring I’d have fewer issues with it. Turns out I was right, until that car hit 110k. The E39 was a great car with far fewer problems, better handling, better interior and a better stereo. But it didn’t have a V8.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I get to watch these at Chump car quite a bit, expensive road cars but great budget racers when you can throw out the electrical crap.

    Given some local recent events involving armed robbers, driving a BMW, and targeting kids via Pokemon Go, and a certain Matthew Brodrick incident.
    I dont have a favorable outlook on BMWs.

    But then again I never liked cars that require special brand sourced tools.

  • avatar
    northern yacht

    old mercs and bmw’s are “the shit” those days this side of the pond, or in the pond really in my case,

    olds mercs have always bin.. from the 50’s to the 90’s they made some of highest quality cars ever made, and therefore they take there time to die, there are Sh*tloads of old w124’s, w210’s w201 still around over here, if you go out.. you will see at least few of them,

    many of the old beemers seem to hold up fine,

    my family car is and old E320 4matic, at the moment it is making me crazy, but it still is a sweet car

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Lie2me: Lol, autocorrect is more intuitive then I thought
  • namesakeone: Emissions requirements? I thought a more logical answer (at least if it were an American company, which...
  • STS_Endeavour: Buy and drive the Japanese cars – doesn’t matter which you do with either. It pains me to...
  • dal20402: Having actually owned an ’89 Taurus SHO, I would have traded it in a heartbeat for the 190-hp Maxima...
  • EBFlex: I meant more the name than the actual package. Although I agree. But Ford loves doing this crap. Remember the...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber