What to Look for When Buying a Used BMW 3 Series

Owning a BMW is a fantastic experience, but for most of us, buying a new one off the lot isn’t an option because of the cost. Luckily, plenty of used BMWs are on the market just waiting for you to pick them up. If you’re want to purchase a used BMW 3 series, what should you be on the lookout for? Here are four things.

  1. Cooling System Problems

The BMW 3 series is an excellent line of vehicles, but it’s notorious for coolant system failures between 80,000 and 100,000 miles. The 3 series has three main failure points: the expansion tank, the thermostat and the water pump.

If you’re getting a BMW that has more than 100,000 miles on the odometer, find out if the cooling system has ever been serviced, and how long ago the service happened. If it hasn’t been, expect to replace all three of those parts at the same time to prevent cooling system failure.

  1. Frame Damage

Older cars are always at risk for rust or frame damage, and 3 Series BMWs are no exception. If you’ve found a good car you’re interested in purchasing, make sure to have it inspected at a BMW shop or a shop that has a BMW specialist on staff.

It isn’t a deal-breaker — especially if you’ve found your dream BMW — but it is an expensive repair, so make sure you keep that in mind.

  1. Too Many Stickers

The fact that stickers are on the car isn’t going to be a huge deal. However, it could be a clue into how the car was handled in the past. If the car is covered with racing stickers, chances are it was at least autocrossed. Again, this may not be a bad thing if it was done right, but it could also mean the car was driven hard. If the car has a snarky “eat my dust” or middle finger bumper sticker, chances are it wasn’t driven at exactly the speed limit everywhere it went.

Don’t worry, though — with the right tools, removing decals and stickers is simple. All you need is a razor blade and an adhesive remover. Slide the razor blade under the edges of the sticker, then spray beneath it with the adhesive remover. Repeat as necessary until the label comes off, then use the adhesive remover again to get rid of any remaining residue.

  1. Car History

This is a given for any used car — you should always write down the VIN and research the car’s history before you buy it. A site like CarFax or other similar resources will help you discover how many owners the vehicle had, whether the mileage is accurate and how well past owners have maintained it over the course of its life. It will also let you know if the car has ever been damaged or totaled. If anything in the car’s history doesn’t add up, you know this is probably a car you should avoid.

Picking up a used BMW 3 Series is a fantastic way to get your feet wet, so to speak, in the vast pool that is owning a BMW. Just do your research before you sign on the dotted line to make sure you’re getting the most for your money and aren’t buying a piece of junk.

How to Take Your Car to Its First Show

Car shows offer a fantastic way to see some amazing cars or show off your own car, but if you’ve never gone to one before, taking the plunge to present your car at its first show can be intimidating. Whether you’ve got a classic BMW that you want to showcase or a modded race car that you want to show off at the track, it’s essential to find out what you need to do before you take your BMW to its first show.

Wash Everything

If you’re going to show your car — no matter what model of car it is — you want it to be as clean as possible. Give the car a good wash to remove any dirt or debris and make it look shiny and new. Don’t neglect the interior of the car or under the hood. If you’re showing your BMW, you’ll want to give your engine a good cleaning. It doesn’t have to appear off-the-assembly-line new, but you want to make it look like you at least made an effort!

Once everything is washed, add a good coat of wax, and polish your car so that you’re sure it looks its best when you’re on the showroom floor.

Pick Your Class

Before you enter a show, you’ll want to make sure you pick the right show class. There are generally three classes — street, stock and modified — but each show might have its own classes. Be careful to read up on the individual show before you enter.

Stock cars are cars that, other than being in good shape, are basically the same car that rolled off the assembly line when it was new. It might have some replacement parts, depending on the car’s mileage, but it hasn’t been modified at all.

Streetcars fall in the middle and might contain some aftermarket parts or paint jobs. They still look like their classic stock counterparts, but they pack a few extra secrets under the hood.

Modified cars, as their name suggests, have been heavily modified and may have a lot more power than street or stock cars.

Keep All Your Paperwork

It’s not just the car that the judges are going to look at. Make sure you have all your paperwork in order, including your license, registration, proof of insurance and receipt for your entry fees. You can and probably should also have some process photos of your car, especially if you’re entering in the modded class. Having some before and after pictures can help show the judges all the work you’ve put into your favorite BMW.

Finally, the most important thing to remember is to have fun — win or lose, car shows are a great place to network and find some new friends or reconnect with old ones while you enjoy a few brews over the hoods of your favorite cars. You can enter your BMW in nearly any car show, but you might want to pick a BMW-only show if you really want some competition.

Monterey Car Week, Only a Month Away!

A Preview to Monterey Car Week

Words by Mitchell Weitzman

It’s that time again. Next month (can you believe we’re in July already?), the Monterey Peninsula will once again play host to one of the largest car gatherings in the world. It’s time for Monterey Car Week. For those that have not been that are even remotely interested in cars, it  really is something beyond your wildest imagination. Every street corner hosts a legion of all your favorites exotics from the world over, be it Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Porsche, or our beloved BMWs, they’re all there. Then there are the shows.

So I’ve spliced together some articles from last year’s events as a preview for what is to come August 22-26 in CARmel.

Pebble Beach

Even in its 68th year, the annual Concours D’elegance, hosted at the spectacular Lodge at Pebble Beach across the 18th fairway, does not need a prescription to keep going strong. Just when you think the show could be dying out with the changing times, it keeps growing and growing. At the 2017 edition, the crowd was one of the all-time largest in the storied history of this event. This trend looks certain to continue into 2018.

Niki Lauda Ferrari’s. Photo by Daniel Blodgett

What is Pebble Beach Concours? It’s become one of the most renowned classic car shows in not just the United States, but in the entire world. It is a celebration of the automobile, not a eulogy to the past or excessive nostalgia. The prestige carried here is truly world-class. One will struggle to find a better, more exotic, and diverse selection of classics anywhere in the world. And then there’s the atmosphere. Ambience is an understatement. Everywhere in sight are automotive celebrities with their entourage in tow. Nearly all attendee’s are dressed to impress. It’s a bit like the Kentucky Derby. There’s a sense of specialness from just being in the vicinity, a priceless accord of extravagance. Most importantly, you are part of it all.

Every year at Pebble Beach Concours a brand is featured. 2017 celebrated none other than the Prancing Horse from Maranello: Ferrari. Hard to believe, but Ferrari has been a carmaker for 70 years already. Ferrari brought a mammoth display of 70 cars to commemorate plus those that were in the show itself. When Ferrari brings 70 cars of the richest heritage halfway around the world, that’s when you know that this is a serious car event.

Pebble Beach congregation. Photo by Daniel Blodgett

2018 will celebrate French manufacturer Citroen. While not sold in America for nearly half a century, their classic DS was a benchmark for luxury and comfort in the 1950s with a hydro-pneumatic suspension system. Classic Citroen’s remain an increasingly elegant proposition, showcasing the absolute best in not only French engineering and design, but in the world.

The Concept car lawn in front the Lodge each year brings the best in future automobiles, from the next great BMW’s, to the latest from Aston Martin. The Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance is an experience not to be missed.  Concours represents an escape to a day that you never want to end. The 2018 edition takes place Sunday, August 26th, 2018.

The Quail

The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering has been an event during Monterey Car Week since 2003, hosted at the eponymous Quail Lodge and Golf Course. This might lack the established pedigree and formality of the Pebble Beach Concours, but it makes up for it in so many ways and, in my humble opinion, even surpasses Pebble. Put it this way: I didn’t want to leave. The Quail is not just about the cars, but everything. It’s a royal tournament and everyone wants to be there. For car people, this is Cinderella’s royal ball.

Bottom’s up! Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

Let’s see, who was there representing the automobile aristocracy: Sir Jackie Stewart, Jay Leno, Horacio Pagani, Christian von Koenigsegg, John Hennessey, Bruno SENNA, Gil de Ferran, Dario Franchitti, Marino Franchitti, and Magnus Walker. Michael Strahan was walking about as well as boxer Amir Khan and likely many others who were more incognito. I mean, where else would you expect to see and bump into such automotive and racing elite? Maybe Monte Carlo.

Inside the Quail on the beautiful, lush fairway, you’ll find several (I think I counted five?) large tents sporadically about. Your entry includes whatever variety of food you desire and as much as you want. Food from the Far East, to Italian treats, to the seafood, including caviar and oysters.

3.0CSL. Proper stuff. Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

Oh, and there’s also drinks, the booze: Wine, champagne, cocktails, you name it. And they weren’t mixing with the bottom-shelf specials from Bevmo either. Though it is wise to control one’s self in such an environment, but seeing champagne flutes in ever other person’s hand is enticing.

Huayra. Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

This is what makes the Quail so special: even if you’re a Nobody there, it makes you feel special.

Concorso Italiano

Lamborghini Centenario. Photo by Daniel Blodgett

Oh, so you like Italian cars? Then this is your place. Get prepared for a sea of rosso. Ferrari there, Ferrari over there, Ferrari right in front of me. Ferrar everywhere. This is heaven for fans of La Scuderia. A barrage of Lamborghini’s and Alfa Romeo’s join too, but the almost crimson tide can’t be beat. The car corral plays host to many interesting machines, too. Last year there was an absolutely astonishing M1 parked on display as well as a Z8 and several newer M4’s.

Magnum PI must be here somewhere. Photo by Daniel Blodgett

Monterey Historic Races

Besides the usual car shows that engulf the Monterey Peninsula, there is one jewel that seems to grow in popularity each year: The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. What is it? Historic racing at its very finest. All the famous racing cars you read about or see pictures and videos of head to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to prove they’re not just museum pieces. Sure, some do cruise in their prized collectibles, but some truly are there to race.

It looks good. Sounds even better. Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

BMW is built upon its storied racing heritage, so of course a legion of Bavarian bombers take to the Corkscrew. We’re talking 2002’s, CSLs, and M1 Procars. These are simply the best of the best. Seeing them in person, to be brutally frank, is SO much better than a YouTube video. Compressed audio and even HD can’t come close to capturing the magic of one of these beasts. Here in person, the sound alone of the screaming ‘sixes raises hairs all over.

Circa $50,000,000 being thrashed on track. Photo by Daniel Blodgett

Almost as good as the racing itself is the paddock. Here, no special passes are needed to wander through the garages and racing cars while they’re being prepped. It’s a brilliant chance to see all the legendary cars up close. Owners and drivers are of the utmost friendly nature too. Vendors are out in full-force too with racing memorabilia and apparel. I even bumped into sportscar superstar Marino Franchitti and his wife Holly, a racer of vintage cars herself, at the Nicolas Hunziker tent.

Mazda 767b. THAT sound. Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

The best part, though, is the price. While events like the Concours D’elegance, Italiano, and Quail run hundreds of dollars, the Historic’s are only double-digits. How’s that for bang for your buck?

Is this 2017, or 1975? Photo by Daniel Blodgett

Other Sights

Singer 911. Photo by Mitchell Weitzman

The greatest part about Monterey Car Week though is, even if the prices for tickets seem to high, one can still go and have a great time. Why is that? People from all over flock to Monterey and Carmel for this one week. Each street and parking lot becomes a car show of its own, as every Lamborghini and Ferrari passes by. It is an atmosphere and ambience like little else this side of Monaco. If you like cars any small decent amount, trust me, you’ll be in heaven.

Favorite restaurants include: Baja Cantina for the supreme car and racing themed venue, Vesuvio in Carmel, and the Forge in the Forest. The Spanish Bay Inn, also down the historic 17 Mile Drive, is a great place to spot hypercars as well as Cannery Row. If it’s your first time at Monterey Car Week, it won’t be your last.