First thing, new plates! I got 005YEK when I first got the car registered in my state, and that annoyed the hell out of me every time I saw it. So when it was time to renew my registration I went to the office and told the woman that the word ‘yek’ was a swear in my language. Total bullshit but she bought it, and I only paid the like $20 fee for the plates. I’m fairly certain that changing registration normally costs more than that 🙃.
Other than that I’ve loved every minute. At this point in my life, I can’t think of a single car I’d rather own. I love that for most of the time I’m driving the most powerful car in the traffic around me (and among the oldest), and yet it’s just about fuel efficient even by today’s standards. Though if I had an auto that would be a different story.
And that amount of power is just right.
The car is no drag racer and I don’t like driving it like that. I love easing it through first and second and then letting it open in third — magic third — where it pulls so smooooth and the bass of the exhaust comes through the cabin, and just sings.
Then there’s the look. It comes from the era of cleanly styled German cars I grew up with. From when BMW stood for the driver, and the joy of driving first. 14 years later, in an ocean of bulky ugly crossovers it sits small and sharp and straight.
This is a forever car.
It’s totally unmodified save for an awesome Bavarian Soundwerks audio system, and is in as good a condition as an E46 gets. Inside there isn’t a stitch out of place.
It was incredibly lucky actually finding it. It took a patient two years since I started chasing one. It had to be a facelift and they only ran for three model years. I wanted the 6 speed and I wanted the updated lights. The used car market for European cars here is pretty small and distances are vast. If you set out for a very particular rare spec the chances aren’t great.
Additionally, the high markups on any new European car generally puts them in a different target market. Those buyers aren’t the ones looking for manual cars. Especially in the top range.
I even considered an M3 for a while, but they’re still considerably more expensive to buy and would cost me much more to keep on the road as a daily. I also think M-sport 330s actually sound better.
I’ve kept the alert on for new cars for sale since, and in that time there have been all of two cars. One was black (ew) with 250k and looked battered to hell. The other was a convertible. Both were listed for several grand more than I paid. A week ago a pre-facelift convertible came up listed for AUD40k. No chance that guy will get it, but hopefully it shows where the market is heading :).
As for maintenance... my fuel pump is dying so I don’t let it run under half full before I get a new one ordered and in. I’ll probably do the filter while I’m at it and it’ll be a good time to take a good look over that notorious rear subframe and see where we stand. There’s a guy locally who manufactures reinforcement kits that I’ve had my eye on. I’ll just have to find a competent shop to do it. In any case that was an expense I prepared for before I even bought the car.
So that’s that. Six months down, hopefully many more to come.