Lately, it has become increasingly difficult to visit Jalopnik. Almost every day I come across articles that list a deluge of reasonably priced cars, most of which I feel like I must own right this second.
I can barely stand it anymore.
So I did what anyone else would do - start buying a lottery ticket every single day.
Thanks to Jalopnik, instead of spending a few minutes a day browsing through Carmax and Autotrader, I started spending hours and hours browsing through all the sites that I could find selling cars which I talked about here. During this time, I kept hearing a voice inside my head that said: “You must spend money on a car, instead of saving it. Screw being financially smart. Do the dumbest thing possible, you idiot. Buy a depreciating asset!”
I tried resisting initially but eventually I gave in.
But then came the hard part - actually deciding what to get. I couldn’t make up my mind because of the sheer abundance of options. Too many cars fit my desire of owning something relatively new with a manual transmission and lots of power.
Some of the cars I started considering were the following: BMW M3, M5, M6, 911, Z06, ZL1, SRT8s, S4, RS5. In general, I would say that a BMW M3 was at the top of my list mostly because a friend of mine recently got one and I really enjoyed driving it. One of my key criteria was that I needed it to be a manual because I just can’t drive an automatic.
Driving an automatic makes me a hazard to other drivers out on the road because I have such a hard time keeping my eyes open. Just steering, accelerating and braking aren’t enough. I must shift! Unfortunately that meant that AMGs were out of the running.
Given these options, I soon came to the realization that I would have to roughly spend somewhere in between $30K-$40K to get my hands on the kind of car I wanted. Any financial planner or investment advisor would disapprovingly shake their head at me for spending so much on a car when I could be doing much better things like giving them my money to lose it for me instead.
Unfortunately, I was cursed by being born with this unexplainable love of cars which therefore means that I am destined to make some stupid financial decisions for as long as I live.
Why buy a house when you can buy a car!
I’m a terrible influence on my friends because I’m generally trying to get them to buy cars that they have no business buying. Sometimes it works, but mostly it doesn’t.
I wasn’t kidding when I mentioned that I spent hours and hours browsing for cars for sale when I could have been doing something much more productive with my life, like volunteering at a local homeless shelter or learning a new language. Who knew that after browsing through all these different sites, I would ultimately find the car I was looking for on Craigslist.
Early on during my search, I never considered a 335i because I just didn’t think it looked aggressive enough; next to an M3, a 335 looked entirely too plain. 300 hp / 300 lb-ft was good but I wanted more. That’s me - always wanting more - never satisfied. Aghh..life is going to be a struggle.
But when I came across this grey 6-speed 335i on Craigslist, I was intrigued because it was more than just a regular 335. It had a stage 2 Dinan performance tune. I knew the turbos on the 335s were extremely capable and I imagined that the Dinan tune would’ve bumped the power numbers significantly. Excited about the possibility of driving an upgraded 335, I immediately called up the owner to take a look.
For whatever reason the owner, Brian, let me (a random craigslist car buyer who could have stolen his car) test drive his car by myself. So I took advantage of that and took off with the car without ever coming back. No - of course, that didn’t happen. I can’t even get away with sneaking into a movie theater!
Luckily, unlike some Craigslist ads I’ve seen, Brian didn’t make me sign anything stating that I had to give away my first born child to him in case something happened to the car. You know you’ve seen those ads that have a line at the bottom saying, “No joy rides, no cashier’s check, $100,000 deposit before test drive.”
Once I started driving the car, it didn’t take me long to experience the difference that the tune made to the driving experience. The extra horsepower (~60 hp) and torque (~80 lb-ft) completely changed the feel of a regular 335i. There was a nice bump up in power after about 2500 rpms which felt so awesome like the car was running away from me - if that makes any sense.
After driving the 335, I forgot why I wanted the M3 in the first place! Oh that’s right - the looks. Sure, the M3 is a more attractive car and has that wonderful V8, but in terms of driving experience I couldn’t be more satisfied with the Dinan-upgraded 335.
The M3 is also much more suited for track driving anyway and since tracking the car wasn’t high on my list of priorities, this 335 would suit me just fine as a daily driver.
The owner loved the car quite a bit and took great care of it over the years. It’s always great to buy a car from a fellow auto enthusiast because you know it’s been in good hands. I took it to the BMW dealer for an inspection just to make sure that there wasn’t a $5K repair bill looming in my immediate future. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. Everything checked out and things looked good except for the front brakes which would need replacement in roughly 10K miles and cost me approximately $223,456.
Now let me address something that is probably on your mind at this point. You must be thinking: “This car will cost you so much money to maintain that you will regret the purchase and you’ll wish you got a Civic instead”.
I understand that I may have to shell out some cash for repairs but I’m ok with that. Nobody can drive one of these cars without expecting to spend any money on it. My plan with this BMW is to enjoy it for a few months and then sell it; if during this time I have to spend a couple thousand dollars on something breaking, then so be it. I’ll just roll the dice on this one.
Here is the best part about buying this car. I bought the car for $17.5K which is so much cheaper than anything else I was considering - Tavarish would be proud of me. It’s a 2009 BMW with 52K miles on it and there is so much demand for a manual 335, that I have no doubt I’ll be able to sell it quickly without taking too big of a hit in depreciation. What a tremendous value!
In the meantime, I will really enjoy driving it.