So I finally made the jump to Oppo and I thought it was a good idea to introduce myself: I’m Eric, a Costa Rican with a couple of somewhat interesting rides which maybe justify my presence here and which I will describe below, but before that, being from a remote place with its own car quirks I thought it could be fun for you to see what I see from time to time.
So, without further ado, I present you my ‘97 supercharged, 5spd, inline 6 E39:
It has served me well for over 10 years now. I had it imported from Belgium since I could not find any manual E39s down here and of course I do have some horror stories like those you should expect with any old German car, but I came to realize most of the money pit issues show up when the car is neglected. You see, German cars like to be pampered. They will quietly let you know when something is about to break (sometimes very quietly) and unlike a Camry, they will simply stop working and leave you stranded if you don’t immediately replace said something.
Given that it was a basic 528i with the low end torque of a 90's Civic, I eventually added a stage 1 supercharger from VF Engineering. It wasn’t easy as there is no market or access to such things here so I had to basically transfer a few grand to a company I did not know in the US and hope for the best. The most difficult bit was figuring out how to send the ECU to VFE to have it reflashed and then ship it back. It’s of course not anywhere near an M5 in performance, but I like to think that I have a slightly lighter, faster and better 540i (rack and pinion!).
I did other small modifications to it, such as getting nicer wheels out of an E60, the brushed aluminum trim, the OEM aerodynamics package and assorted ///M bits (it doesn’t say M5 anywhere so shut up).
Then I also own this:
What you see above is a 1978 Toyota Corolla, better known as the KE30. Fun fact: The actual chassis name is just “E30” (same as the BMW 3 series from the late 80's). The first letter describes the engine in it (K series or T series), so mine has a 3K engine with all of 1.2 L and neck breaking 55 hp when new. Most of the ones you see in the US are TE31's since they came with the 2T 1.6 L engine and a few other changes such as massive plastic bumpers:
So what’s the story behind this one? My dad bought it new from the dealer back in ‘78. He says he wanted the same car but in wagon form but he couldn’t afford it so he ended up buying the 2 door. You have to realize he was buying this for a family of soon-to-be-5 so I always laugh when people say they need a Suburban because they have 2 kids.
My dad got a better job, he was given a company car and then he bought a Nissan van in 1990 (the one that was recalled due to fires), identical to this one:
so the Corolla got left behind, almost abandoned except to fulfill its duties as “that shitty car I learned to drive in” for a few family members.
I felt sorry for the poor thing since there were so many stories we shared together and my dad was already thinking about either selling it for pennies or having it crushed, so when got my driver’s license I offered my dad the few savings I had and was the happy owner of a neglected, 70's econobox with less hp than a lawnmower.
Restoring it to a driveable condition took more effort than I thought, especially since this is not a Mustang for which new parts are still made. It’s only getting worse and most of the parts that I need are rare finds on eBay, which to add insult to injury, are priced super high as the sellers “know what they have”.
I’m seeing myself driving it less and less to prevent stupid people from crashing into it, so it’s sort of becoming a garage queen with no value whatsoever, other than sentimental, that is.
So that’s it. I will post from time to time to show you hopefully interesting stuff about either my cars, future projects (I’m eyeing a Pathfinder R50) or just random things.