2002 BMW M3: Sold to Buyer Who Says it is "Car of My Dreams"
July 22, 2009
A few days ago when I posted about the 20-year-old who wanted to buy our 2002 BMW M3 I got quite a few comments.
Most of you said in no uncertain terms that it was too much car for someone that age. Others felt it was inappropriate for his family to fund this purchase. Still others were very negative about the outcome of putting a car like this in a young driver's hands.
But one commentor said something I really liked: "This kid's been in love with that model of M3 since he was 13. My guess is he'll be very careful with it. If anything, the worst that can happen is he'll damage the paint from over polishing it."
I'm not sure if this is true, but I'm going to keep this in mind. Because the kid bought the car.
Here's what happened.
When the kid came last Sunday, he asked a million questions about how the car had been driven and serviced. Looking back through records and blog posts I found it had been maintained better than I realized. I emailed him Monday morning with followup info but I didn't hear anything back all day long.
Fine, I thought, I really wanted to wholesale it anyway. And $16,000 (minus a $500 broker's fee) wasn't bad. In my Craigslist ad I had listed it for $18,000.
But then on my drive home my phone rang. It was the kid. We talked about the service records and I said I would be willing to deduct a certain amount for various issues. "I want to negotiate face-to-face," he told me. Okay.
An hour later my wife looked out the front window and said, "Here comes the committee." The kid came with his mother and uncle. Standing by the M3, we talked about maintenance and other issues. The uncle test drove the car. And then he said, "We want to make an offer."
This is always an interesting moment since you have no idea what will come next. But I was thinking that if I could get $17K it would be a $1,500 improvement over the wholesaler.
"We'd like to offer you $17,000," the uncle said.
Now, it would be a mistake to say, "Great! I'll take it." Instead, I winced and said, "I was hoping to get a bit more than that. But there are a few outstanding issues. And I know how much he wants the car. So, okay, I'll accept $17,000."
We drove to the bank where the mother got a cashier's check for the full amount. As we drove back the kid was really babying the car (which is hard to do). I couldn't help being like a dad either, and said, "You know, in a car like this it's easy to go way faster than you realize. And keep an eye out for cops."
He dropped me off at my house and I watched the black BMW disappear around the corner. I'm hoping he takes great care of it. And I hope the worst he does is damage the paint by overpolishing it. Good luck and safe driving.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @73,900 miles