Craigslist Find: Itching for Change Edition

UPDATE 2/22/17: I’m still trying to find a good time to get with the seller. We’ve traded text messages several times, but the stars aren’t aligning lately. I did ask specifically about rust, and said it is “minimal.” For me, any rust is a worry, so it would need to be nipped in the bud pretty quickly, in my opinion. As of today, the old truck and me are still together. Stay tuned . . .
For about a year now, I have toyed off and on with the idea of finding something new/fun/old/fast to replace my truck. In the last few months, that itch has gotten stronger, and I’m afraid of scratching it. Today’s Craigslist find might just put me over the edge.
I have always said that my truck would be with me till the day it dies, if not longer. When I picked it up five years ago for a song, I was happy as a redneck at the Golden Corral (I’m not judging). I have gotten a lot of use out of it, and it has plenty left to give. No matter how much I like driving it, though, I can’t avoid the fact that it’s just not the best choice for commuting, what with its bouncy ride, 5-speed, and sloppy steering. There’s also the annoying lack of air conditioning, although that could be fixed in a few days with some more sophisticated tools.
That said, here are three reasons why I am considering the sale of my old white truck. Tell me if I’m crazy.
1. The body, while old, is rust-free and straight.
One of the first things I noticed after moving to the Queen City is the astonishing amount of rusty, cancer-ridden cars and trucks. Even newer cars can be seen with bubbling paint and patches around the fender wells: it’s shocking in some ways. Conversely, my truck has spent its whole life in the western states, and the last 10 or so in Seattle, where it’s certainly wet all the time, but they don’t salt the roads, and the water lacks the high concentration of minerals that can be found in other places.
2. Everything (mostly) works.
My truck is 25 years old now, and any truck this age is going to be found with parts falling off, the interior a disaster, or both. As of today, I can proudly say that everything work like it should, with one notable exception – the AC hasn’t worked for years, and it probably never will. It’s a 1992 model, and has the R-12 refrigerant in it. Upgrading involves putting a vacuum on it, which I don’t own. If I could do this cheap, I might, which would increase its value a little.
3. The body is straight, original, and clean.
There is one spot of damage to the leading edge of the left front fender, which is highly unusual. I don’t know what could have damaged only that spot, and not the headlight surround or the hood; it had to be an awkward angle. Any ideas? Otherwise, there are no real dents, it’s never been wrecked, and even the bumper is straight. Again, if you know anything about these trucks, you know that a straight bumper is rare.
Bonus reason: it doesn’t fit in the dang garage. If I brush the passenger mirror against the garage door frame, and put the bumper against the tool shelf in the front, there are about six inches from the back bumper to the closed door. Plus, if our other car is in the garage, I can’t open the door. Getting out involves going out the other side, hopping across the bed, and sucking in my gut around the car. The house is a 1960, so I know the architect had seen a big car before: what the heck was the guy thinking?
Here’s the car that has me questioning everything I know. It’s a 1984 BMW 533i E28.
Details from the ad:

I have a 1984 BMW for sale I bought as a project car, it runs really good overall pretty good condition for its age all power windows everything works except the odometer it quit working at 149k overall no rust and it’s a solid runner or a good project car if interested please call or txt $2300 obo

Interestingly, it produces almost the same power figures that my truck’s 5.0 does, but it weighs almost a ton less than the heavy pickup. By comparison, this would feel like a Miata.
Am I crazy? Let me know in the comments.
Copyright 2017 Hooniverse/Marcal Eilenstein
[Source: Springfield Craigslist]

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16 responses to “Craigslist Find: Itching for Change Edition”

  1. Alff Avatar

    I’d buy the BMW and hold on to the truck, at least through the inevitable teething period associated with putting an older car into daily duty. If circumstances require its sale later, you’ve at least got it to see you through some initial repairs to the E28.
    Who am I kidding. I’d keep both forever.

  2. Tiberiuswise Avatar

    The price seems too good to be true.

  3. stigshift Avatar

    Yes, you are crazy. Obviously. So what? I am in the same position you are. I have an NA Miata with 212K on it. And an ’05 Accord EX 4cyl 5 speed with 188K. Love them both. Tired of the Accord. My current potential replacements are a ’96 Trans Am convertible 6-speed for $2000, with, ahem, 284K on it, and a ’64 Imperial Crown for $4000. If I won the lottery, I’d probably a hundred different $1000 cars…

    1. mve Avatar

      That’s my problem. I don’t necessarily want to get rid of the truck, but I necessarily do want a new set of wheels.

  4. 0A5599 Avatar

    1. 32 year old German cars aren’t particularly better than 25 year old American trucks at fighting rust.
    2. 32 year old German cars probably break stuff at a similar rate as a 25 year old American truck, but the truck has less stuff that might get broken, and when it does break, replacement parts are about $29 at your nearest Wal Mart. If you watch modern commercials, the truck ads all talk about durability and reliability, while the German car ads talk about their newest technology. Which do you think will be cheaper to own in 2037?
    Did you notice the BMW owner bought the car as a project car, and the last line of the ad called it a good project car? Project cars are not the same as reliable transportation.
    3. Auto parts stores used to rent out vacuum pumps for no charge if you leave a deposit. Fewer do that today, but some are still around.
    Or you can buy one that runs off compressed air and has no moving parts. Ebay should have something for less than it would cost you to take your wife to dinner at TGIFriday. Do you know the problem with the a/c?
    4. Move the tool shelf from the back wall of the garage. Back into the space so the driver’s door has room to open.

    1. mve Avatar

      You’re talking sense.
      The a/c system runs on the old R22 Freon, and has simply run out at some point in its history. It wasn’t working when I bought it, and I’ve never fixed it. It just needs to retrofitted with R134 or whatever it’s called today.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        The old stuff is R12. You can still buy it if you have a license.

        1. mve Avatar

          Thanks for the correction. I have considered getting a license, but I’d like less government touching my truck, not more. It’s bad enough that the state wants their pound of flesh every year.

  5. gerberbaby Avatar

    I like the idea. The E28 has quite a lot less tech than todays cars to worry about. Heck the HVAC looks like it runs on cables. I would inquire with the owner about their definition of ‘project’ maybe they were thinking museum piece and you are thinking reliable DD. I also would talk to someone who does undercoating/rustproofing. I think every vehicle could benefit from this. Look at all the less than 10 year old chev or ram full size trucks rear wheel wells.

    1. mve Avatar

      Bottom line: I need to put my eyeballs on this car before anything else. And the owner.

  6. Zentropy Avatar

    Ha! I knew when I saw the pic that this was the same car. I’ve talked to this guy already. I’m also in the market for an E28. Problem is, at 11 hours, it’s just a bit too far for me to go just to look at the car. I’ve already driven 3+ hours for what turned out to be a rusty heap. If this 5er was a bit closer, it might be mine already. 🙂

    1. mve Avatar

      Well he’s about 25 minutes from me, if he’ll just return my texts. He claims he’s always busy. Lately, I’m not sure he even wants to sell. He’s clearly had few/no bites, even after dropping the price several times. It’s odd.

  7. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    is this to be your only car? if yes….i mean, don’t. if no, why are you waiting?

    1. Zentropy Avatar

      That’s actually a good point. I was looking at the E28 as a fun personal alternative to driving our reliable (but boring) family minivan. I drove an E30 for years as my main car, and while it was dependable, maintenance isn’t cheap on any BMW. And any old car will require something once in a while.
      That said, the M30 and Getrag manual combo is extremely durable. Rust, worn driveshaft/giubo, and shot rear subframe bushings seem to be the more common problems with the E28s.

      1. wunno sev Avatar
        wunno sev

        yep. i also tried the two-old-cars strategy reasoning that they’d probably both be working most of the time. as it turned out, when i have two cars and one breaks, i tend not to fix it until the other breaks too, at which point my life becomes miserable.
        having one relatively new (or at least known-reliable) car makes buying an old car you want more enjoyable.

  8. Manxman Avatar

    I think if you buy the BMW you will for sure need those “more sophisticated tools”. But I owned an older BMW and it never gave me grief that I couldn’t handle. Even changing out motor mounts was pretty easy. But I would keep the pickup to make runs to the BMW store.