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Garage Illogic


We recently took part in a multi-family garage sale hoping to lessen the content load of our oversized, though somewhat cluttered, car hole. While I know we sold a bunch of household items – we made a few hundred dollars, after all – I swear there isn’t any less stuff. My shelves are still pretty full and some of the larger items clearly haven’t moved.

I’m going to have to pay someone to take that dead television, as I’m fairly certain our usually gracious garbage haulers would draw the line at a Sony 27-inch CRT.

The remaining car parts, consisting mostly of somewhat rare Bavaria/other E3 parts, will have to be cataloged and sold through more car-friendly venues like eBay and the Senior Six Registry email list. Or shuttled off to the ever-expanding inventory in my friend Dale Olson’s pole shed. Or unceremoniously donated to the local landfill.

At that point, or shortly thereafter, I’ll scrape the popcorn coating off the walls and give everything a fresh coat of paint. I’ll trim the lower edges where the sheetrock meets the concrete floor, and maybe rebuild the steps going into the house. The new garage doors and openers should be installed by then.

Strangely – or not – and despite the fact I really enjoy having only two cars from a storage and use standpoint, I still find myself scanning the local and national online classifieds via and


The soupy part of my reptile brain is casually looking for that cheap convertible to play with. After the initial Spring spike, droptop prices in the North Woods are retreating to more normal dollar amounts. BMW project cars that are not disastrously cancerous, a rarity here, have been relatively thick on the ground.

Life while rapidly approaching (or passed by the time you read this) forty years on this small blue planet is all about self-discovery, and my most recent detour took about 12 hours.

My newfound knowledge came in the form of two Craigslist deals which I would have normally pounced all over. But I now know I was meant to own neither a neglected and unloved 1987 BMW 325iC nor a 1981 BMW 633CSI with a completely disassembled interior that hadn’t run in several years.

Because, and this is the important part, I learned I no longer have the energy for deep restoration work.

A younger, more ambitious me would have found the time and space for either or both of these cars. That idiot would have worked out where the car(s) would be stored for the winter, trading money and favors and bottles of single malt Scotch for a clean, dry stall. He would have somehow found the parts to make the car(s) presentable and fun, breathing new life into their old bones. Those parts would have filled up the shelves not yet emptied from the last 15 years of automotive silliness.

The seller’s photo cropping prowess, not mine.

In addition to being an automatic, the E30 was just a disaster. Come to think of it, the automatic transmission was the least of its problems. All seating surfaces were completely rotten and/or bent. The convertible top was garbage, and the sad remains of Bronzit beige looked flat and uninspiring. Despite not being completely crusty, there was rust present in the spare tire well and under “one of the back seats” (?).

Oil was escaping from the valve cover gasket. “Or, not from there,” according to the owner. It didn’t run very well until the engine warmed up. While actually having four tires, only some of them matched and none had tread.

I speak from experience when I say I’m sure the interior and trunk were a moldy quagmire, and that every piece under car was worn out and/or covered in oil. The registration was good through the end of the month, but “you can’t drive it because the insurance is expired.”

Is the convertible top made entirely of duct tape?

It was cheap, too, but not cheap enough. This car at $500 was probably too much, and the owner was asking twice that amount. However, if it was a rare Baur top, it would be in my garage right now. Because I’m an idiot savant, but without the savant.

Seriously, this was the only photo in the ad.

The 1981 633CSi looked straight and clean in the one picture provided. The silver paint glowed faintly even though the car was sitting in a garage. Being a Georgia car most of its life, it was said to be virtually free of rust. Early E24s don’t look as bad as some other US-spec BMWs of the same era with their gigantic, battering-ram bumpers. This 6er wore neither a chin nor a deck spoiler, adding to the clean visage, though the aftermarket wheels were questionable at best.

Downsides? Well, the car wasn’t really nearby, a distance made greater by the fact it didn’t run. Coaxing an L-Jetronic-fed big-six to life isn’t that hard, but it’s still some amount of work. So is installing an entire interior, though the seller claimed the only major missing bit was the carpet. At least it was a 5-speed. And only $600.00, or reasonable offer.

I want to believe it was fate the guy never returned our phone calls. I guess I’ll go back to cleaning up the garage now.

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