I have found what looks like a sweet E30 (1990, Arctic Blue/Silver) on
eBay for a good price, but I have never bought anything on eBay before.
Does anybody have any tips for intelligent bidding? I'm new to cars but
very familiar with BMW bikes (as you can see in my e-mail address)!
My advice for a fellow Anthony is to post this question with a link to
the auction on the ebaymotors forum on ebay. The group on that forum
is good at analyzing pros and cons and things you may not think of.
They will help if asked nicely.
Just be sure and read up on all the scams and ebay policies, put in at
least a good hour of study time.
Finally intelligent bidding is called sniping, check out esnipe.com for
I just bought a e34 on ebay. I spent lots of time looking and found what I
thought was a good car. I bought from a reputable ebay seller, check the
feedback and make sure they are established in selling. If it is a private
owner, speak with them on the phone with a list of questions, Ask the same
questions if needed to get clear answers. Also, you are about to spend
thousands, spend the 20 bucks on a carfax report. It will give you a clear
idea of the cars history including accidents, recalls, type of ownership,
mileage discrepancies etc.
I live in NH and bought my car in FL. A quick test drive and I was satisfied
with the vehicles stated condition. Drove 1800 miles home and right to my
mechanics. He did a full inspection and found a few things and did some
routine maintanance adding up to about 700 bucks.
I am very happy with the car and the experience.
Best of luck.
A cautionary story.
In 2004 (October) I was in the market for a very clean 330i zhp. Found one
in an ad (not eBay, Autotrader) for Naperville Motors in Illinois. I live
300+ miles away in Michigan. I called, was told car was mint, negotiated a
price pending an inspection by an independent service. Hired a service, paid
them, they sent a guy who e-mailed me a report saying car was without a
scratch or stone chip and appeared in perfect shape except no spare. Dealer
agreed to replace the spare.
I rented a car and drove down. Met the salesman at the dealership who
assured me the car was perfect. One second after seeing the car I spotted
big gouges in both right side wheels. Turned out that had been done that
morning when they ran the car through their car-wash tracks. (The words
"completely idiotic" come to mind.) As it happened, there was a wheel repair
business gut visiting the dealership that day and he assured me he could do
a repair in a couple of hours on-site while we waited. I agreed to see what
he could do. While, waiting we looked the rest of the car over.The hood had
several stone chips in it and was well short of perfect. I pointed this out,
and they agreed to do a touch-up with a brush. The car was supposed to have
leather seats (ad said so); in fact they were Alcantara (fake suede).
Otherwise, it was in nice shape. Turned out the spare had never been
missing; the inspector did not realize it was a space-saver under a tray in
I was really PO'd at the salesman and the inspector (inspection service
later refunded my money after I sent photos of paint chips - excuse was it
was raining the day of inspection; dealership said they would have taken car
inside and wiped it down if inspector has asked). Dealership ended up
knocking $2,000 off price for lack of leather and wheel damage which was
adequately (not perfectly) repaired. Bought it and really do like it.
Although, this was months before BMW put the $5,500 incentive on remaining
330i's which REALLY pissed me off as I could have had a new car for a few
thousand more, as a result.
Moral of story: until you see it, you will not know what you have. You
cannot rely on the word of a salesman or even your paid inspector. People
lie, are incompetent, and are lazy. Expect to be disappointed and prepare a
fall-back position when you are.
By the way, my salesman ended up getting sacked and promises he made (2nd
key) were made good on by the dealership after he was gone (the SOB had been
stalling me for two months). In other words, I have nothing against
Naperville Motors other than I do wish they had not hired this particular
salesman in the first place.
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