BY TOM RADOW
Three pedals, two doors, one passenger at any time, and she would have sweat equity in the car is basically what my wife and I decided for our daughter Marisa’s first car. Three series, Mustang V6, Mini, TT, and the D.E. 944S that may be ready for a clutch were contenders. Perhaps a clutch on a 944 would have been too much sweat.
I surfed the ads for a feel of the market. It was Christmas Eve 2017 when I saw this ad on Cars.com: “Black 2000 BMW 323Ci has only 87 k miles on it! I am original owner. Vehicle is in pristine condition both inside and out as it was parked in a garage the entire time I owned it. Complete maintenance records, new tires. Manual transmission makes it very fun to drive! AM/FM six speaker stereo with 6-CD changer and Harmon Kardon enhanced sound system make your driving extra enjoyable!” Grass reflected off the paint. Dusty trunk and dirty motor confirmed it wasn’t detailed for sale. I answered the ad.
Jim got back to me and we spoke on the 27th. No paintwork, newish battery, newish tires, original clutch, original brakes. He told me the dealer checks the car every year. I negotiated, and agreed to his asking price. Marisa and I flew to San Antonio the next Friday night. Saturday morning Jim picked us up at the hotel and the deal was done. It was cleaner than I thought. One key was never used. We got the VHS, Monroney, and service records. We had dinner and stayed at a hotel in Lubbock. She fell asleep, I studied the records.
On Sunday, we drove home. Sorry, no surprises on the trip!
In March Marisa changed the pads and rotors, and flushed the fluid with ATE. In June Marisa changed the cooling system, idlers, and belt. She did most of the work with me advising. It was hot and the job sucked! I am hoping when she gets a “chicken McFly” moment she will remember the job.
I read that kids today don’t care about cars. After Marisa took Street Survival in October, she whispered that she thinks it made her a better driver. And she liked the slaloms. Next is autocross school with her stock (for now) 323Ci. Maybe we will share the Cayman S or the 128i with Konis for the autocross.