Best posts made by WBizarre
Defender mounted (now with winch!)
Defender is on the wall! Initially this was out of sheer necessity and lack of shelf space, but I'm digging this display style.
Might dojust did a little anchor point for a winch so it looks like it's pulling itself up. Very happy with that!
Cost of E36 M3 ownership
March 2022 means Estoril has been with me for 5 years, and I wanted to tally up the cost of ownership.
Here it is on a frosty Indiana evening on the drive back from St. Louis where I picked it up:
In those 5 years it's been the best all-rounder I've ever had. Took 4x 2-day HPDE stints without skipping a beat, was supremely reliable, got me to work, got my friends to the airport, hauled my kayak, and put a smile on my face the whole time. I'm really not sure what I'd replace it with. Anyways, back to the numbers.
This is where keeping a detailed excel sheet pays off. So, over 5 years I've spent $8,776 on it. This is parts/labor only(all diy unless stated otherwise), no gas or insurance. That works out to $1755.20 per year on average. This was a surprisingly high number - but it does include extra stuff that wasn't strictly necessary, more of me having fun with it.
I went back and recalculated the total to be more reflective of just maintenance items, and excluding all the "optional" stuff like roof racks, exhausts, etc.. The adjusted yearly average cost came out to $1070 per year. That's much closer to my mental image, and I think an excellent number given that it includes fairly big items like complete rear rubber replacement, all new suspension front and rear, and complete cooling system overhaul.
2017 - $1726
Big items from '17 included a suspension overhaul - replacing worn shocks with OEM items, and installing Dinan springs to raise the ride height a smidge from the Eibachs that it came with. Looking back I probably should have gone with coilovers, but... eh. The other big purchase was tires ($550) and retrofitting HID beams and glass lenses ($600).
2018 - $2408
Uh oh... costs creeping up! Well, kind of. The big job that year was headliner replacement, but that was cheap, just $80 for fabric, and a bit more for adhesive. The bulk of it was spent on "fun" stuff. Tracked down an OEM roof rack. Bought a Stromung exhaust and immediately replaced it with a used Eisenmann unit - a bit of necessary trial and error to get the right sound. The final thing was replacement of all speakers - Estoril wasn't even optioned with the marginally nicer Harman Kardon system, so 20 year old "base" speakers were just awful. $400 later, the audio sounds "decent", which is a lightyear improvement, haha. So without the roof rack, exhausts, and speakers, the maintenance total is a much more reasonable $438: oil change, swaybar links, a few more headliner-related items, clutch master and slave cylinders.
2019 - $2856
Most expensive year. This included the one and only trip to the shop - wheel alignment before track day, plus I had them change the motor and trans mounts and guibo, totaling $1k. The main maintenance jobs included a preventative cooling system overhaul: beefy water pump, thermostat+housing, pulley, belts, hoses, fan clutch, totaling $478. Other big-ticket items were (unnecessary) Euro floating brake rotors and (somewhat necessary for track work) camber plates.
2020 - $1195
Pretty much that whole number was due to a pandemic-induced firing of the parts cannon at the rear suspension. No commute meant I could pull the whole rear subframe and replace every goddamn piece of rubber in the vicinity. Inspecting the rubber bits revealed they weren't shot, but I had it out and had the parts already, so might as well replace them.
2021 - $541
A big, fancy, unnecessary front strut brace drove up the cost on what would have been a very frugal year - just oil and spark plugs otherwise, would have been just $125.
We'll see what 2022 brings! The tires I got in '17 are completely used up. Plus the paint on the spoiler and mirrors is fading, so I'm guessing that'll be at least $2k at a good paint shop...
Anyways, if anyone was wondering about M3 running costs, hopefully this is a little window into that world. Basically the costs were driven up a little by track use, and a lot by messing around with exhausts, audio systems, etc., not strictly running costs. If you've got questions or want a more detailed breakdown of anything, ask away!
New Manual Idea
This is the new Koenigsegg CC850. It's styled as a throwback to the first Koenigseggs, the CC8/X. It's gorgeous, but as usual with Koenigsegg it's hiding a very interesting mechanical idea underneath.
Remember the "robotized" manual transmissions from the E46 M3 and others? Where it's a conventional manual with hydraulic actuators for the shifter and clutch, making it an "automatic"? Well, this is the inverse of that. It's a 9-speed automatic transmission, with "reverse" and "drive" in the far right forward and rearward gates respectively. BUT, throw it into one of the 6 gates to the left, and it behaves like a 6-speed manual. There's a clutch pedal that does control the auto's clutches, and it's possible to stall it if you get it wrong. As far as I can tell the gear selector has a nice mechanism for tactility, but it's not physically tethered to the gears inside (actually, according to Christian it does "provide real feedback from the transmission, so maybe it's linked in some way?) - it's just sending the signal for the trans to engage a gear. Since there are 9 gear ratios and only 6 gates, the gear selection for each gate is determined by the drive mode. Something like Track Mode will give you shorter gears (maybe 1,2,3,4,5,6), while something like Cruise Mode will give you longer legs (maybe 2,4,5,7,8,9).
On initial read, this is brilliant. Sure, the gear lever is not physically linked to a grabber that literally moves gears around, but it's not entirely inauthentic. And the variable gear choice for the 6 gates seems like a great solution, as shifting through 9 gates would have been ridiculous, and even the Porsche 7-speed is a bit awkward to use from what people say. This essentially gives you instantly swappable "gear sets" at the press of a button. Also, it doesn't seem that much more expensive to add to a performance automatic transmission: just the cost of adding a clutch pedal, a tactile gear lever and some programming. Everything else is just ... the things the transmission already does. I'm sure it all comes down to the tuning, but it seems possible to get it to feel "right".
What do you think about it, oppo?
It also has a beautiful analog gauge cluster.
E30 Storytime (and morphs)
Ok, finally getting around to sharing the story of my E30's trials, tribulations, and silver linings during the pandemic.
This is my 1989 325is in the summer of 2020:
And here it is a little bit later in the summer of 2020:
The culprit was a teenager who thought to turn onto a road right into traffic. Thankfully it was a very low-speed impact, and I was only a mile from home, so I could drive home with just a little tire rub. The teen was scared shitless and was very apologetic, so at least the scene of the accident was conflict-free. The accident turned out to be the least emotionally trying part of the process.
This is the boring and infuriating insurance part:
No, the car was not on classic insurance - so the following is basically my own fault, but I just didn't know better at the time. I call my insurance to open a claim, and the friendly agent gets the process started problem-free. They don't send an adjuster to look at the car in person because covid, so I just send a bunch of pictures. A few days later they call back saying the damage estimate is about $4500 (raised my eyebrow at that one), and that my vehicle is valued at $13,000 so insurance would cover repairs up to that amount if teardown reveals more damage. I'm thinking ok, $13k is maybe a little below market, but still pretty good, and should be enough to cover the repair. Except a few days later again, a different agent calls back and says that after doing some research my car's "book value" is actually $2500. Gut punch. I ask how they got to that number and they said they called 3 dealers to research the value. I ask for documentation. They send the list of "dealers" they called. One place was literally called "Autos Under 5000", another was a similar shitty used lot, and the last one was basically a salvage yard. I break out laughing on the phone at how ridiculous this is. My car's not perfect, but it's clean with nearly no rust and in a good spec, and they don't change hands at dealers like this. I mean, what value would you expect a place called "Autos Under 5000" to assign to ... any car? I go on autotrader while on the phone with the agent and find only 2 e30s of my spec for sale - one listed for $15k, another for $19k. The agent tries to weasel out of it, but it's clear as day that the value gap is real. I sent them online auction results but they refused to count those as they "don't represent the market". What?! For something that's not on dealer lots by the thousand, auctions are the real market! I make it clear that I won't accept anything near $2500 as valuation.
At the same time I'm searching for a shop. Through BMWCCA I find Convenience Collision out in Bangor PA. I call them up and say I've got a 1989 325 that needs repairs. the guy on the phone says "ok, '89 so that's a slim-bumper car... is it an 'i' or 'is'?" Good God, he actually knows what he's talking about! After a month of dealing with ignorant insurance agents, just hearing this question was like a shot of soothing morphine. I send the car off to them, and keep banging on with insurance about value. Of course the real repair estimate turned out to be nowhere near the initial $4500 estimate - the whole rear quarterpanel and some of the inner skin would need to be cut out and replaced with a new one. The shop was a huge help with the value negotiation. Between myself and the shop we elevated the claim to a higher-up who, in a climactic 3-way phone call, finally agreed on a realistic payout. At last, after 2 months of negotiations we could start the repairs.
Boring and infuriating insurance part over.
Since the E30 was now in a great shop with a good chunk of change towards repairs, it was the perfect time for "while you're in there's". Half of the car was going to have to be repainted, so might as well go for a full glass-out repaint of the whole thing, right? Then there was some rust repair near the battery box, a couple other things... What started out as an annoying collision turned out to be a subsidized kickstarted restoration!
And here it is as I picked it up in April 2021, gleaming in Schwarz.
Another happy incidence is that the rear wheel had to be replaced, but I couldn't find a new Ronal LS in exactly the same spec as mine. What I found was an even better spec, one that's more native to the car. When I originally got the (used) Ronal set, it needed spacers and hubcentric rings all around. The new rear spec has the same width but a deeper dish, so no spacer is needed. I kept the old fronts but replaced both rears, so it now has a staggered look with a deeper dish at the back even though it's still a 7.5" square setup!
Lessons learned: GET CLASSIC INSURANCE. This whole headache with valuation would have been avoided with agreed-upon-value insurance. I have the E30 on Hagerty now, and feel much safer. Lesson 2: Convenience Collision is fantastic, can't recommend them enough. They do a lot of German/European restorations, truly beautiful work. I took a walk around the shop and saw 356's being fully restored, Audi urQuattros, 993 race cars, 2002's... felt like a kid in Santa's workshop.
This summer has been about keeping up with maintenance and enjoying the hell out of the car. Before the collision the car was a nice driver-quality example with high miles, and I don't think I would have pulled the trigger on a restoration like this if I didn't get this kick in the pants. I look at it now and can't believe it - it's like the Bavarian Gods smiled upon the car and said "this one - this one will rise again".
TLDR; a minor collision kickstarted a restoration!
AMA if you'd like.
Watkins Glen Recap
Not the racetrack this time, just the canyon. This one:
A spectacular hike through a fascinating natural formation. Highly recommend if you're ever in the Finger Lakes area.
Probably the most stairs I've climbed in one day since the Notre Dame.
Changing leaves only enhanced the views. What's not captured in the photos are yellow leaves gently fluttering down.
Wouldn't leave you without some car pictures:
Drove through Hawks nest on my way back, always a good time.
Latest posts made by WBizarre
RE: I Want a New Car (and I want some help)
@hayzer911 It seems a post-2K XJR is fairly attainable! I've always wanted my dad to buy one, so I could occasionally get to drive it, but not have to live with an auto lol.
RE: I Want a New Car (and I want some help)
I like what you're thinking, but how about a little "R" in the ol' alphabet soup:
Not the videogame, the car genre, to which Maserati lays a pretty legitimate claim. Here's the A6 1500 and the new Folgore.
How about this Atimaser F6? I could see it as a competitor to the Bentley Conti GT, a more luxury-focused grand tourer. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad move for Maserati to make, actually. They tend to go very sporty with things like their new mid-engined thing whose name escapes me right now, which pushes them up against Ferrari etc.. Or they go way downmarket with things like the Levante, Ghibli, and Grecale. But a more pure luxury cruiser might suit them well.
The Folgore is slowly trickling around the various auto review sites, after a very strange introduction featuring Sebastian Maniscalco. At first sight I thought "wow, did they literally just put a new fascia on the 15 year old Gran Turismo design?" But it's not quite as lazy as it seems. Comparing to the original, every piece of bodywork is new, and even the daylight opening has been tweaked. The B-pillar seems to have been moved back slightly, enlarging the already-enormous coupe doors, which takes it beyond a simple facelift. And of course there's likely a huge amount of reworking of the chassis itself to make it suitable for EV and ICE versions.
Also, how awesome were those original Gran Turismo trident wheels? If I were a Folgore buyer I'd immediately start trolling craigslist for a nice set of tridents.
RE: Tesla Semi Delivery Event Livestream
Yes, that's my biggest question as well. I think it's no coincidence that it's first delivery was a container full of Lay's chips - basically bags of air. However, I imagine there are a lot of trucks on the road that aren't loaded right up to the weight limit (maybe even a majority?) I'd love to see some research on actual average/median container weights being carried on the roads. Even if the Tesla's weight gain is disappointingly large (and rest assured if it's even a kilo more than a diesel truck, the internet will flame up with shit-takes), it will probably still have a lot of usability for container loads that are within it's limitations.