Been looking for a cheap convertible or T-Top, but finally gave in on this one. Personally not a huge fan of the color scheme, but the wife is which is how I was able to buy it. Automatic, but that means my wife can drive it which means my Porsche is safe. While no roadster is going to inherently be safe, it’s much safer to carry my daughter than anything else I was looking at.
The car was posted on Craigslist last year but I didn’t have the funds. Was posted again but I was on a cruise. Find it at a dealership. I hate dealing with dealerships but they occasionally have great cars. The trick, at least with Reno Lithia Subaru, is when they take a car in on trade in, they will quickly flip it for a few hundred/thousand bucks to avoid having to auction the car. If the car doesn’t flip quickly, then they prep it for auction or a potential real sale. Once this happens, the price of the car goes from “unrealistic craigslist guy” to “dealership pricing”.
I really hate dealing with dealerships. Carmax is cool, but the rest... ugh. Go in to check it out, and Lithia has a fleet of vultures pouncing on me. I’m sure they are nice people, but they literally give off the “internet pickup artist” vibe. Most of them lose interest when I say I’m going to the back lot where the recent trade ins are. Find the Z4. Check it out, standing around for minutes until some Bela Lugosi guy finally wanders over. Doesn’t know anything about the car other than it’s blue and $14k is a “good deal”. Takes 15 minutes to get the key. I hate this. Salesman valuing his time over mine. Bad practice.
Test drive checks out. I’ve driven Z4s before, so fit/comfort/etc. wasn’t a concern. Crazy how much better IMO the Z4 is than the Z3. For pricing reasons, I really wanted a Z3. But they’re so overweight with a suspension not built to compensate for it. Better off with a Miata, but then safety if I’m going to carry my daughter becomes a concern...
Tell the guy I like the car and need to check the VIN for maintenance and make sure my wife is cool with it, both of which were true. Have to sit through the “give me all your personal info” speech, reminding me why I hate dealerships. Eventually go home and find the maintenance from the initial owner, who owned it most of its life. Wife loves it because it’s nicer and safer than the F-bodies I’ve been thinking about, automatic so she can drive it, and she really digs the color scheme.
So now it is time to try to buy it. When negotiating, I dealt with the online sales guy. Got it for $8495. Go to pick it up, but have to watch my daughter. Amazing how a two year old keeps the vultures away. Internet sales guy is busy. Meet with his partner. Plan to just pay with my credit card - no trade in. Should be quick and easy transaction, right?
And it might have been - not really. But it became especially bad once Bela Lugosi finds me. So now instead of just swiping my credit card and driving off, I have to listen to a surprisingly emotional speech from this guy. “Why would you contact internet sales? Did I do something wrong?” At first, I try to explain the whole “you are asking $15k for a car I got for $8.5k” thing, and the whole “young people prefer dealing with things online”, but that just makes him whinier. “I would have met that price!” - as if me in person could have negotiated that price from $14k. If I didn’t want the car, I would have walked out. But I did, so I was able to end the conversation by explaining that my car buying experience was with carmax, where everyone is on the same team. I didn’t realize a commission was at stake.
So the internet sales guy hands the sale over to Bela Lugosi. Despite the price being mentioned multiple times, Bela Lugosi has no idea what the negotiated price is. So I round down to $8400. He brings up the paperwork at that price. But he checks! “Oh, JasonStern911! Nice try! I’ll just slyly sneak the $95 back in...” I hate dealerships.
So then because it’s a trade in, the car hasn’t been smogged. So there’s a chance that they cannot even sell me this car, but they’ve wasted this much time. So they have to go smog check the car before we can proceed. This means I’m stuck in a small dealership with a two year old. Smogging the car takes an hour. I don’t know how or why. The “FastSmog” place down the street can do it in 5 minutes. Now buyer’s regret starts to kick in, but they smartly held onto my credit card so I couldn’t leave. You clever bastards!
Eventually Bela Lugosi comes back with more papers to sign. He puts them on the little kids table where my two year old is drawing with crayons and tells me to sit down. I really hate dealerships. Eventually all the paperwork is done, and they took my money, but they still can’t give me the car because it hasn’t passed any safety checks. “Come back Monday night!” And I mean, that’s fine, I’m not in a rush. But if I have to come back in two days, why make me spend two hours buying a car for cash?
Good news is that the car has a two month warranty. I plan on taking it to my independent Porsche/BMW mechanic and having a PPO done after-the-fact. If they find work, I’ll probably have to then have the BMW dealership check it out and verify their claims before getting any repairs done. Not looking forward to any of this, but it’s worth the hassle to get a car that should last me 10 years plus.