No, not mine. This white one, which I tried to overpay for and use emotion instead of logic when trying to get an E90. Here’s the story behind it, this all happened exactly three years ago today on Nov 23, 2013.
Some of you might be thinking, wait don’t you already have an E90 M3? The answer to that is yes, in fact I do, but I got it months after I tired to buy this one.
I should probably start with the origin of my love of cars. I had always loved things that moved when I was a kid, be it planes or trains or trucks, but never any real love of cars. This changed back on Thanksgiving day of 2003. My family and I went up to visit my grandparents up in North Georgia for thanksgiving. My uncle showed up in his 2002 E46 M3 which he had bought new. We go out for dinner because my grandparents aren’t cooking. On the way home my dad asks my uncle to give me a ride in the M3. It was alpine white with a greyish interior and a 6MT, the mental image of that car will be forever engrained in my memory. I don’t remember what exactly about the car I liked, all I knew was I had to have an M3.
I was bitten by the BMW bug, the problem was I didn’t have any of my own money to get one nor even a drivers license. I tired to convince my dad to get one for himself and when that failed one for me for my first car. It could have been a 1984 528e, I wouldn’t have cared I just wanted a car with a roundel on it. That didn’t happen, my dad bought a Buick Regal in 2005 and in 2006, I got as my first car a 1997 Ford Explorer Sport in “Portofino Blue Metallic.” I would have to buy my own BMW then.
I graduated high school in 2008 and started at Georgia Tech in fall of that same year with a declared major of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Despite some set backs, including me technically failing out of school and being technically suspended for a semester, I graduated in Fall of 2012 with a BS in Chemical and Biomoleualar Engineering, and more importantly a job. Only problem was they didn’t want me to start until August 2013; that turned into September. Anyways the M car was on hold.
Sitting at home for those few months I drooled over many BMWs, but I came to the decision that an E39 M5 would be the M car I would be able to afford, based on my salary. Therefore I’d getting an E39 M5 as soon as was reasonably possible. I even made this post about it:
When I start my job and start actually getting paid, I realize that I can actually afford an E90 M3. I wanted four doors and a stick and an E90 M3 is pretty much just a 10 year new E39 M5 without 100k miles on it, perfect. Now this is where we start talking about timing. I was a field engineer trainee at the time and in order to get promoted to the next level, I had to attend and pass an 8 week school. Now, if I passed this school I would be promoted, if not I’d be released. I didn’t need the added stress of how am I gonna pay for this expensive car on top of the pressure to not get fired, so I decided to wait until I came back from the school to get an E90. In October 2013 I signed up for a class in April and May of 2014 in Tyumen Russia; perfect I’ll get my E90 after I get back from Russia.
Fast forward a couple weeks and I’m sitting in Houston in one of my friend’s apartments browsing autotrader. There’s a manual E92 M3 at the dealer near his apartment. I’ve never driven an E92 before, I want to go drive it, he has no objection and we go take the E92 for a test drive. It’s incredible I can’t wait to own one. I fucked up, I should have waited to drive one until I was actually in the market. Now I know it’s so good, I have to have one. Now. Not in June. No, Now. Luckily the one we test drove was almost 60k, had some gaudy carbon fiber bits on it, was black (I think Texas is too hot for a black car) and missing two doors so it was easy to walk away.
Now on the walk over there, sitting in one of the dealer lots is this Alpine White E90 M3 without any license plates, looking like it had just been traded in. We walk by it and I note it’s a stick and make the comment that if that was the car we were about to test drive, I’d probably be trying to buy it.
Couple weeks go by after the test drive and I’m browsing autotrader at my hotel in Karnes City, TX. I see that this alpine white E90 with a 6MT has just been listed in Houston. It won’t hurt to go look at it, plus I got nothing else to do on days off. I call the salesman and make an apportionment to see the car on my days off.
So I’ve got a rare weekend off, Friday thru Sunday, so I drive up to Houston to go visit my friend, and to test drive the car. Well let’s be honest to probably buy the car. I knew I shouldn’t, but I wanted it so bad. Saturday morning arrives and I walk out to the explorer to head to the dealer, what am I greeted with to start my day? A flat tire, not an ominous sign. Fill it back up, and head to the dealer.
When I get there I’m greeted by the salesman who is like let me have them pull the car up. When the car is ready to be test driven, he says he’s too busy, so he hands me the keys to the car and says have fun. Did that really just happen? So you’re telling me that I’ve just been given the keys to what is probably my favorite car and free reign in Houston, holy shit I’m literally in Heaven.
After the test drive, I’m like ok, I have to have this. I know I should wait, but yeah I don’t want to; I want it now, no, I think I need it now. I’m buying this. I find the salesman and I’m like yeah, I’ll take it.
We start doing the paperwork and what not. Now this process takes forever. Like literally forever. Mind you I test drove it at about 10 AM, and it takes until about 4PM for the next part. In the meantime I call both my parents and they’re both happy for me, but it doesn’t feel right I know I shouldn’t be doing this.
When I started my job I had literally about $300 in my bank account, I had pretty much just spent all my money in the nine months I had off after school, including an European vacation (I went to the 24 hours of Le Mans and drove the Nürburgring among other things). Since I had only been working 2.5 months at this time, despite having almost no expenses, my company paid for housing, I hadn’t saved up much money. Consequently I could only put down $5k on the car.The car was $53k, about $3k more than I really wanted to spend, but it’s just money. I want it so bad, I don’t care.
Well, they can’t get me financed with only $5k down. Before they had even tried they talked to me about loans. Now they were looking at a 5 year loan with about 5% APR. This would have made the monthly payment, so close it makes no difference, $1,000 ( I think it was like $994). Fine, whatever I can afford it, even thought I know I shouldn’t. $1000 per month for 60 months on a car, James are you crazy? This is stupid, but even then I still want it. They keep trying, but no bank wants to loan a 23 year old $50k to buy their dream car. It comes to the end of the business day and there is nothing more than can do, I leave dejected.
They vow to keep trying. Apparently BMW has a deal for recent college graduates, gotta get you hooked at an early age, so since I’m less than a year out of college, they go through that. I get approved, but with a catch, I have to put down $10K. Now I have no problem putting $10k, but I just don’t have $10k in my bank account, I haven’t been working long enough.
Shit, what am I gonna do. I remember that I have $10k in some account that my dad gave me. I guess I can borrow from that. I call my dad up to see what he thinks, to which he responds, it’s your money do with it as you please. Torn, I look into transferring the funds into my account. When I learn it’ll take at least a week, I finally get the message that this is a bad idea, I finally give up and walk away from the car. I’m going to go back to my original plan, I’m gonna get the car when I get back from Russia in June.
So that’s it for that M3, but that’s not the end of the me trying to buy an M3 saga. Logically I might as well finish out the story with me eventually getting an M3.
Somehow I manage to get a few days off over Christmas in 2013 and I go back home to Roswell, GA. (The oil field was a super busy time then and almost impossible for engineers to get time off.) While home, I see this 2008 with 49k miles on it, but it’s cheap. By cheap I mean like 35k cheap. I’m gonna go look at this. Go to test drive it with a high school friend, but before we can even talk numbers, someone buys it. Ok I really need to wait, I mean it this time.
I go to Russia in April as planned. It was a blast, I had an amazing time. Oh, and I also passed the school; I’m getting promoted, not fired.
Once I get back to the states, the search begins in earnest for an LCI E90. Now I should point out that BMW sold a total of 1055 LCI (09-11) E90s with a stick, that’s it. The car I was looking for wasn’t exactly what you’d call common.
Everyday I search the internet for an E90 that meets my specifications and is close enough for me to buy. Nothing, until one day I’m sitting at the man camp looking for M3s, well after my nap. We were at the man camp because coil tubing was having issues with toes initiators on the two well pad we were going to, so I had some time. I find this new ad, but it says the car has cloth seats and there are no pictures, does say it has a manual. The next day is my last day at work and since coil is still at our pad, we go home early. I have to be in San Antonio the next day for three days of training, but for the mean time I have a few hours in Corpus Christi.
Obviously since I now have the means to actually get the car I want, I’m looking at cars everyday. Now, that ad I saw the other day has pictures. It’s not cloth it’s leather. If you’re wondering, US spec M3s didn’t come standard with leather. Well, this car is perfect, it’s not white, but it’s not black or red. It’s got all the options I want on it, only problem is that it’s in Dallas. Still worth a call.
So I call the dealer and express my interest. I want to see the car before I buy it; however, since I have training in San Antonio on my days off I can’t make it up there until August. I’m a little hesitant to buy a car sight unseen. The salesman is eager to get the deal done before the end of the month, so to get me to buy the car, he comes up with an offer I can’t refuse. He’s like well, since you can’t see it until next month and I want to get this sold now, how about you buy the car and then we bring it to you, for free. I ask for some time to think about it.
While buying a car sight unseen over the phone might not be the best idea ever, this one still had the BMW factory warranty for another 9 months. So I figured as long as the body was good, the mechanicals would be covered under warranty. You know what that sounds like a deal to me. Plus at $49.9k this one was within my $50k budget, also had 5k less miles than the white one.
I give the dealer a call back and I’m like you know what, I’ll take it. No negotiation, just give me the car. It was at market value and the car looked immaculate. Now it’s time to get down to the financing. This time I’m not letting this car get away. They ask me how much I want to put down, I tell them $20k, plus taxes, so $23k. This time I do get financed, despite my own bank, Bank of America, turning me down. Seriously fuck those guys. I get a loan through Sun Trust for the remaining balance of the car. I put a $1k deposit on my credit card. I’ll give a check for $22k to the driver who brings the car and he will have all the nessecary paper work for me to sign.
Since I have training in San Antonio until Sunday, I schedule the delivery for Sunday July 28, 2014.
Well, Sunday comes and this shows up at my apartment complex. I guess this guy does a decent amount of work for the dealer; guess when you’re a Porsche dealer you probably have a go to guy to move your expensive cars.
The guy unloads my M3. I can’t believe it, “my M3" a phrase 10 years in the making. The dealer had done all the paperwork and all I need to do is sign. So I take care of the paperwork, hand the driver the check then park it in my garage while I add it to my insurance. Holy shit, from utter disappointment to pure ecstasy.
I love it. In fact it cost me a total of $54,290 to pay off, that including taxes, dealer fees and financing. Meaning this car in total was almost the purchase price of the white E90 alone.
I guess the moral of the story is don’t make an emotional decision on cars, it’s hard but eventually the right one will come along.
If you want to read a little more about my M3, I wrote this on my 2 year anniversary with the car: