Lemons E30 Build Part Three… Buy! Sell!
In parts one and two, I documented our entry into the world of e30’s as we began building a budget race car for Lemons or Chump. Keen to have two functioning transmissions, I was making my way to San Jose to pick up a transmission with a rear housing to replace our broken one from the “driveshaft incident”.
It turned out the seller was having to clear his e30 parts and cars collection because his parents’ house is in an HOA, and the HOA were fed up of their front yard, which was basically a collection of e30s and site of constant wrenching. They’d been told to get rid of the cars ASAP or face legal action.
One of the cars facing disposal was a non-running, ratty-looking 1990 325i coupe. The seller purchased it because it had been fitted with a bunch of fancy racing parts (it was a local drifting car before its engine failed). He’d slowly swapped parts from the coupe to his e30 sedan with the intention of getting the coupe back on the road and running, but there wasn’t much time left before the HOA had promised to take legal action…
This was intriguing. The 1990 has ABS. And, while it’s in much worse condition than our original 1987 e, there have been a bunch of performance parts fitted to it. Plus, we have a running engine from our 325is that we could swap into it… We asked ourselves, “Why don’t we sell the e and buy the i?”
Back to Craigslist! We listed the e for $800.00 (unbelievably, e30 values had risen in the year that had passed since we bought it) with what were likely the world’s crappiest Craigslist photos. As you can tell, we literally made no effort with the photography:
After MANY, MANY annoying Craigslist conversations, we found a buyer from San Jose who paid $750.00. When it came down to it, we made a $250.00 profit for storing the car for a year.
With the sale completed, we headed back down to San Jose to try and do a sweet deal for the HOA infracting, non-running, salvage title, former drift-car e30…
After a few hours’ work, trying to get it to run (including swapping the battery and pushing it down the street numerous times), we negotiated a deal:
We had another e30, for $500.00 of your finest U.S. dollars!
By the time we got it on the trailer and prioritized getting ourselves some well-deserved (Greek?) food, it was dark. For that reason, we only have this terrible photo to share:
Dinner was devoured by the three musketeers (Julien, Adam and myself). We were celebrating a little, feeling proud that we’d made some (better?) decisions and (luckily) profited from our first mistake!
Total spend to date:
1987 325e: $500.00 purchase
1987 325is: $450.00 purchase
1987 325e: -$750.00 sale
1990 325i: $500.00 purchase
Total spend on two cars: $700.00