So, the back story:
About a month ago I mentioned that a new project would be joining my garage soon. I also mentioned that that car was going to be very Captain '70s and very brown. That car was a one-owner 1972 Toyota Crown. A mate and I intended to go halves in the purchase of it and share the costs, and we planned a trip to Melbourne to buy it. Unfortunately, days before our intended departure, the car was sold to another party.
My friend's response was "okay, but we're still going to Melbourne."
Immediately the search began for other potential candidates. While we both agreed on the Crown, we had differences on the other options. First up came the option of an old Merc, probably a W116 or W126. My mate didn't like this idea, and was scared of Mercedes maintenance. So the search moved on. Daily searching of the classifieds uncovered a little secret - for some reason, Victoria is full to the brim of cheap 1980s BMWs. Both of us being fans of such cars, our search began to gravitate towards E28s. E30s were dismissed on the basis that they carry a sort of tax because they are E30s - they're more expensive than they probably should be due to their reputation. My mate then decided to pull out of the purchase altogether, leaving me on my own.
So a shortlist of three E28s was established, and we began the journey south. At 5am on Saturday, 6 November, me and 3 friends loaded our bags into my mates Commodore and hit the road. What ensued was one of the most enjoyable journeys ever. Great company and the excitement of a holiday we had been waiting for meant the 1000km journey flew by. That afternoon, we arrived in our accommodation for the next few days.
The requirements for our accommodation were simple: It had to be cheap. That meant we were staying in a 'Deluxe', '6-berth' cabin in a three and a half star caravan park in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs. After buying a trolley of food and alcohol from the local Aldi, I set about calling the sellers of the E28s on our shortlist.
First off the list was a 525e - high kms but it seemed to be looked after well. It sold the day before we arrived.
Next up, I phoned the owner of a maroon 528i. It was advertised as an excellent condition pensioner's car, and by the photos this could not be faulted. The car was located only 5 minutes away from our deluxe cabin. I had a good feeling about this one. That feeling continued after seeing the car in the flesh. It was immaculate. That good feeling disappeared as soon as I took it for a test drive. It had no brakes. Would have been nice of the guy to tell me this before I had to stop for a children's crossing outside a school...
So, fearing an expensive master cylinder replacement, plus the small issue of being unable to drive a car with no brakes home, it was off the list.
The next car was a 520i. The seller sounded stoned on the phone when he said that 'today.... is not a good day...' to look at the car. Unfortunately the soonest 'good day' was going to be well after we were intending to get out of Melbourne, on Melbourne Cup day.
We pretty much gave up at that point, and went to shop at the local DFO. Here we obtained many discounted clothes, and upon returning to the car came something of an epiphany. Parked next to my friend's Commodore was an immaculate E30 318i. Seeing this car made me think once again, backed by the influence of my friends, to search for E30s.
Just one decent example arose in my hasty searches. Called the owner. I could go and look at it that afternoon.
I left in the Commodore, setting the sat nav for the seller's address. 20 minute journey, no worries. I started to get confused when that 20 minute journey saw Melbourne disappear. I was in the countryside of the Yarra Valley. I skeptically followed the satnav through the green hills until I reached 'my designated road' - a private road. In other words - a driveway.
The driveway was nearly a kilometre long. Still not sure if I was in the right place, I drove past tennis courts and swimming pools until I reached what could only be described as a manor house. Out the front, a silver four-door 318i. Behind it, two classic Rolls Royces, a 1976 Silver Shadow and a 1971 Corniche drophead. Took the little Bimmer for a test drive, and while still on the private drive, I thought to myself, 'I have to buy this.'
And I did.
This was on Monday. Tuesday was Melbourne Cup day, and thus a public holiday in the garden state. So on Wednesday, we had the papers sorted out, and after a quick game of mini-golf to pass the time before we could pick up the car, we collected it and set off home.
TL;DR, I bought an E30 even though I didn't really intend to.
These photos were taken at a rest area somewhere along the Hume Highway in Victoria. As you can see, the car has no number plates. Let me tell you, if you want to get noticed when driving, forget body kits and loud exhausts; take off your number plates. Oddly enough, none of this attention came from police. Not once on the 1000km journey did I get pulled over, despite passing a number of police cars, even being overtaken by one. (I had an unregistered vehicle permit, but as it was a piece of paper in the glove box the police wouldn't have been aware of it).
The car also made the 1000km journey with no problems at all, apart from running out of petrol. This was due to my mate's incorrect estimates of the location of the next petrol station ahead of any problem of the car.
So, that's the story of how I joined the ever-growing and all-powerful FinalGear BMW club.
Anyway, the car:
It's a 1986 318i. Four-door sedan in Polaris silver with a manual gearbox, cloth seats, wind up windows and a manual sunroof.
From decoding the VIN, these are the options on the car:
S225A SPORTLICHE FAHRWERKSABSTIMMUNG - Sports suspension
S286A BMW LM RAD/BMW STYLING - BMW LA wheel BMW Styling
S300A ZENTRALVERRIEGELUNG ELEKTRISCH - Central locking with antitheft system
S311 ELEKTRISCHER BEIFAHRERSPIEGEL - Electric passenger mirror
S530A KLIMAANLAGE - Air conditioning
S545A DREHZAHLMESSER,KM/H-TACHO,AN.U - Tachometer,km/h speedo.,as with clock+EC
S682A RADIOANTENNE AUTOMATISCH - Automatic radio antenna
S687A RADIOVORBEREITUNG - Radio preparation
L810A AUSTRALIEN-AUSFUEHRUNG - National version Auatralia
S850A ZUSAETZL. TANKFUELLUNG EXPORT - Additional Export tank filling