Sunday, November 27, 2011

Curious looking at a car on craigslist

A couple weeks ago Richard told me he was looking at old BMW's on craigslist for fun. We both adore craigslist, sometimes we'll look at postings for furniture or houses and laugh our asses off at the picture, description, or the actual object itself.  Here is one example of what I am talking about.  My favorites are where the seller is yelling at you in all caps.  "PRICE FIRM. NO NEGOTIATING. DON'T CALL UNLESS YOU'RE SERIOUS. DON'T WASTE MY TIME." I wonder if anyone calls those people.

Richard refers to himself as "certified".  Certified means you are an experienced buyer and seller, you post clear pictures facing in the right direction, and you're not selling crap that should be in the trash or set out on the street for the taking.  When he comes across gems like the ones above he'll say, "they're not certified" with obvious disdain.

Anyway, back to old BMW's.  Richard found a 1991 318is about 40 minutes away.  He asked me to come along and look at it.  "I don't want to buy it, I'm just curious about it." I'm usually up for a drive in the country on a sunny afternoonm, so  I said sure.

As we were driving in the Jeep to Timbuktu, um, I mean Alamance, I asked Richard about my role in this adventure.

"What do you mean?"

"Can I be chatty? Am I supposed to be quiet?  Ask questions? Am I the good cop or the bad cop?"

"You can say whatever you want!"

"Ok. Just checking."

We get there and see this sweet little car (I did say it's cute even though that's possibly not a cool way to describe a potential man mobile). The guy selling the car and did the work on it is a BMW nut and had four or five others he was in the process of restoring/collecting.  Richard asks questions about the car, we look at the inside (very nice interior), the exterior, under the hood where the guy replaced all the hoses, etc. There's more man talk and heartwarming stories of shadetree mechanic adventure and then the guy asks if we'd like to take it for a drive. Of course, why on earth did we drive all the way out here but to ride in this little chariot?!

As we get into the car and pull the doors shut I remember my fondness for substantial car doors.    Unlike most cars now, which might be big, the steel is so thin it reminds me of riding in a tin can. The car sits low to the ground, there's plenty of leg room and as Richard turns the key the engine rumbles to life. We both look at each other and grin, "Listen to her growl!" When we get out of the gravel driveway and onto the road Richard says, "This is fantastic!" And it truly is.  We talk about how great it is, how much fun it is to drive, and how they don't make cars like it anymore. 

When we get back to the guy's house, we both tell him how sweet it is and Richard asks more questions about the shape of the car.  The guy is totally upfront and says there's a small oil leak he can't figure out, the odometer is broken but his estimate of the mileage is such and such and he shows us every mark on the body of the car.

Before we leave I walk over to the car, lean down and pet it and say to them, "I vote yes!"  The guy and Richard laugh.  Richard tells the guy he's interested, but he has to think about it and he'll call him in a day or so.

We get in the car and Richard looks at me smiling and says, "What the hell was that?  'I vote yes!'"

"You told me I could say anything I wanted!"

"Well, I changed my mind. From now on you keep quiet!" he laughed. "Now I have a dilemma, I really like the car.  I was hoping we'd get here and there would be something seriously wrong with it."

"Ah, that way it wouldn't be an issue. Now what are you going to do?"

Richard sighs, "I have to think about it."

After agonizing deliberation on Richard's part, a week later we picked up the car. Her name is Buttah because of her amazing smooth shifting ability. Right now she's getting her pin striping removed, but her favorite past time is driving on back country roads with her sun roof open.

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