Thursday, April 22, 2010

Adventures With My 85 BMW

I love my 85 BMW. It's my Baby. Here you see the next to the last thing that almost caused its demise--brand new wheels fitted with Michelin tires, which of course are the best kind of tires. The wheels are gorgeous, as you can see.

All right. You say you want a better picture of the car. I just wanted to show off those brand new wheels before we got to a full fledged picture of my gorgeous automobile.

Some background: we've had this car since 1985. We are the original owners; as such, we have put a lot of miles on it. How many? About 250,000, that's all. That, my friend, is the reason this car has nearly been history more times than I care to admit.

Oh--the wheels--the second to the last thing that almost caused its demise. I took it in to my garage, H and B, for its regular check-up, which happened to be an expensive one. That was the first problem. The second came when George, the Manager of H and B, called and said the car needed new wheels all the way around. I deal with George a lot and also a lot with Allan, who owns H and B. They've great guys. They know the car.

"Well, so we'll get new tires," I said--not quite understanding.

"It does need new tires but we
can't buy tires to fit on the existing wheels. We have to get new wheels and that's expensive. We can skirt on the tires a little but not the wheels."

"How much will those new wheels cost?" I asked.

"With an OK set of tires about $1100," he said.

I'm dead in the water, I'm thinking to myself. Jerry will not want to spend all that money, plus there's that expensive service which I was told would cost around $800.

I told George I'd have to talk to
Jerry. My husband has had a number of conversations about the car with George.

George called me back the next day (I hadn't had the guts to tell Jerry yet).

"I've talked to Allan and he has a slightly used set of wheels already fitted with four brand new Michelin tires left here by a customer who didn't want them anymore. He told us to just get what we could for them--he'd be satisfied. He has a 75 BMW and he wanted to go with 75 wheels so we can offer these to you. They only have about 100 miles on them. We think we can offer everything to you for $800."

Of course I said yes, without thinking. Didn't ask Jerry. Why should I? Those tires were probably worth $800 all on their own when they were new.

Well, the car came back looking so proud of itself. Total cost was $1600--$800 for the wheels and the tires and $800 for the service.

Jerry was so impressed with how my baby looked he said "Well, we have to fix up the upholstery (in shreds) and re-carpet the floors (holes in said carpeting). It deserves it."

Everything was fine until we were out on the freeway about a month ago with Jerry driving and the clutch sank to the floor and just sat there. I had forgotten we needed to have that little problem checked. It had happened to me right after I took it in for a small something--don't even remember what--and after using my foot to raise it from the floor I drove it right back down to the garage. Allan looked at it and said "No biggie. Just make an appointment and we'll fix it."

Well, I forgot about the problem--totally. Jerry was not happy. Here we were stuck on the freeway with a clutch stuck to the floor. Luckily I knew what to do; I told him just to put his foot under the clutch and push up--it had happened to me years ago and out of desperation that's what I did, and it worked. Voila--up the clutch came and off we went--only to have it happen again right after we exited the freeway. He tried the foot routine--didn't work.

"You'll have to get out of the car and raise it by hand," I said.

Without saying a word but with his mouth churning he got out of the car and raised the clutch with his hand.

It worked; he got back in the car. "We're parking this (explicative deleted) car and taking it down to H and B first thing in the morning to get this problem fixed."

All of this said between clenched teeth.

Next morning back to H and B we went where instead of the problem being a "No biggie" it's more like $1200. Being a conscientious guy Allan had recommended a new clutch as it already had 13,000 miles on it. I said we couldn't do that. What else could we do?

George called back and offered various and sundry scotch-tape-type repairs, one of which George felt would be very important for safety but would cost in the neighborhood of $500. I bring Jerry back to H and B the next day.

George looks at him and says "You want to kill the car."

Jerry just nods.

A week later I drive out with the immediate problem fixed--the clutch will no longer collapse to the floor but the clutch may go--anytime. It already has 13,000 miles on it.

I can't wait. We're sure to be on the freeway.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention. That brand new (well, almost brand new) set of wheels already fitted with nearly brand new Michelin tires belonged to Allan. He took them off his own car. He was the customer George talked about. He had stood proudly by me when I went to inspect my Baby with the new wheels and tires. I was so excited I hugged him.

Have I got a good garage or not? They are the best.

In front of our house right now sits a 2003 Passat which will soon be donated to some charity. It had $7,000 worth of needed repairs before I found it not starting one afternoon and it's only worth $6000. It has been the proverbial lemon. Luckily it's the company car.

Jerry drove my wonderful 85 BMW to the Oakland airport about two weeks ago and it actually started when Jerry turned on the ignition.
It's been known not to--I was praying--it had been sitting there for over a week. It actually purred. It sits in front of our house so proud with those new tires and gorgeous new wheels. I'm going to see about getting the upholstery and carpet replaced next.