Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Winter" Car Dilemma

I love driving my E93 and find it a great way to get to and from work everyday, but there are days I'd rather just leave it parked in the garage away from the rain and snow. A couple months back, I started searching Craigslist and AutoTrader for an used E36 or even an E30 BMW 3-series model to use as my 'winter' car.

I finally found a perfect example last weekend in a 1993 318is 5 speed manual coupe that I bought for $3,000. It is in great shape, though it has 182k miles on it. Everything runs well, it had a recent tune up about 3k miles back and was being used as a commuter car for a family in a neighboring upscale town that took good care of it. One of the things I really liked hearing from the prior owner was how they replaced the leather on the driver's seat a couple years ago because it was heavily worn. Now that's someone who takes care of their cars.

Unfortunately, this nice little find may be short lived for me. I had a hell of a time convincing my wife I needed another car to keep my E93 baby even more flawless and preserved. So, the agreement was that I was looking for a car for her brother and that if he didn't want to take the car I bought then I get to keep it. My brother in-law is coming down this weekend to check the 318is out and I'm certain he will drive off with it.

So my question to you is what would you do? Should I do a little side deal with the brother in-law and possibly risk the side deal coming out and biting me in the ass if my wife finds out? Should I just let him look at it and hope he doesn't go with it? Should I just park it under a tree and feed the birds a lot?

Any other thoughts?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The competition heats up

Rumors of an Infiniti G37 hardtop convertible have been around for at least a good year now and finally Infiniti has released the first official photo of the car, shown top down. The interesting part will be seeing the car top up. We all know the 335i convertible looks amazing top down but there is a lot of criticism of it top up, especially from E92 coupe

From Edmunds Inside Line: "The world got its first official look at the 2009 Infiniti G37 convertible on Saturday, as the automaker unveiled a photo of the car at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The G37 convertible, with a three-piece automatic retractable hardtop, will go on sale in the spring of 2009."

I'll be sure to take a bunch of photos of the G37 convertible next year when it makes its pass at the 2009 Detroit International Auto Show.

So, what are some of your thoughts on the design of the G37 convertible? Do you like it? Think the E93 has a formidable challenger? more.

Monday, August 11, 2008

BMW Performance: Why do you torment me?

I was at the dealership last friday getting a radiator fluid top off as my fluid level apparently evaporated just enough to send me a nasty warning light last week. Wondering around the dealership, I looked into the parts cabinet display and noticed a very nice looking steering wheel with cutouts for the paddle shifters on my 335i steptronic. The new part was the BMW Performance Steering Wheel which I held in my hands and felt a dramatic difference than the stock wheel with it's beefier feel and of course the whole light up display showing 1/4 mile timer, lap timer, section timer, lat/long g force, oil/water temp, and stopwatch.

Of course there is a member on who has some great shots of the steering wheel, photos galore. I'm thinking with the alcantara trim on the wheel, adding a few alcantara pieces would tie the wheel together beautifully in the interior. After a quick look, I found alcantara shift boot and e-brake pieces that would like quite nice with the performance wheel and pricing is fairly affordable which is nice since the Performance Steering Wheel is in the ~$1,000 price point (I found it for $995 from Tischer BMW online.)

While I have no set timing on when I'll add this modification, I do expect to get it installed with the additional alcantara pieces some time time around September or October. The new steering wheel looks and feels very nice; though, like anything else BMW I wish it was a little easier on the wallet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Convertible Top Maintenance Demo Video

I have been wondering how best to maintain the functionality of my hardtop convertible. Fortunately, Pat Goss of Motorweek covered a couple tips on proper lubrication of the movable parts using White Lithium Grease. He also shows how to apply the grease using a Q-Tip. The video also shows how to treat the rubber trim around the windows and sections of a collapsable roof.

Basically, this video is a great resource for those of us wondering how best to do proper care of this complex roof system.

Let me know if you have any other tips or suggestions.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Solzhenitsyn Passes On

While not E93 related, I just had to share how this world lost one of its greatest authors - Alexander Solzhenitsyn. His contribution to literature is amazing. The Gulag Archipelago trilogy is one of my favorite reads of all time; it covered his experiences in the Russian prison camps in Siberia -- simply amazing, horrific, and inspiring! Anyway, I thought I'd share my respect for him and highly recommend his words. more.

BMW Communicates with Flickr Photo Users

I was on vacation last week when out of the blue a nice couple emails came across from BMW North America asking if I could sign a release form to be considered for their using my photos on Flickr for a new 3-series web site effort. Here is the text from the email I received:

Dear BMW enthusiast,

We are reaching out to owners of past and current 3 Series
models for photography, videos, and stories to be included
in the new 3 Series interactive showcase on as
we get ready to launch the new 2009 3 Series Sedan. One or
more of your images was found on Flickr and identified as
possible content to be used on this site:

--URL of Image on Flickr--

Your image will be displayed anonymously and your name will
not be associated with them, although you may allow us to
use a screen name if you wish. Your image will be linked
back to your Flickr page.

If you agree to give us permission to use your material, we
will need your signature on a release form, submitted by
Aug. 6.

Please visit to download and submit
your release form. All submission directions are included
in the form. If you have additional questions, please

Thank you in advance for your participation.

So, I signed my waivers and hope to have a picture or two showcased in the upcoming site. Anyone else receive one of these?