BMWs are my weakness. My first car was a 1974 2002 burgundy over tan, five-speed with a sunroof. At the time, it was twelve years shy of being a new model and cost all of $1000 bucks. Yet ask any high school girl what kind of car I drove and they all knew three letters. They were clueless to the many times it left me stranded and I had to push-start the car. The carburetors needed rebuilding, so I’d often kill the battery before it would run. Girls were also impervious to the rust and completely unable to fathom 140,000 miles on the clock. All of this taught me rolling with shallow girls is ok, park on a hill and find a good mechanic.
Fast forward twenty years, one ’84 533i, a ’89 535i and a ’91 M5 later, and I continue to set myself up for failure. These cars are brilliant to drive. It’s like every other car is a step down. Now hold on… I’m not going to go all “Car and Driver on you” and rate these cars the best above all the rest. I’m simply saying there is a reason manufacturers chase them. The problem is these cars break. And when they do, it’s expensive. Things you’d never expect to go wrong go wrong. Gremlins in the electrical system can take out gauges, flax discs break so you can’t shift and switches simply stop working. Heck, we had Erhard himself, owner of Erhard BMW in Birmingham, MI, try to trace down an electrical short that killed the battery every five days. He couldn’t find it, we sold the car.
They say to find your mechanic first, then buy an old classic. It’s a lot easier these days to find knowledgeable and reputable wrenchers through the internet and car clubs. Trial and error, and error had been my usual way. It took me some time to find Peter Mardikian of Mardikian Automotive in Redondo Beach. He is a master. He loves BMWs. He is the reason I bought the M5. The trouble is, now I’m ready to sell the M5 and all I keep thinking about is buying another BMW. I love all cars and want that new and different experience. But in the end, I keep thinking about the hassle it is to start a new relationship with a new mechanic. It’s comfortable, he knows me, I know him. Something new might always seems great but never really delivers. I just can’t seem to break up with Mardikian.