I thought I should write a blog posting about the final chapter in the history of my 85 BMW but somehow I couldn't do it. My BMW was going to be broken up in chunks for parts and that was all it was good for and I just couldn't write that. That all changed this week and do I have a story to tell!
A little back information. Before we took our recent trip to the East coast, Jerry and I left the 85 in a parking lot at the San Francisco Airport for ten days. It got there beautifully; it made the trip back beautifully. It balked a little when Jerry turned the key in the ignition but hey it started! I was very proud of it, never thinking that it would be one of the last times either of us would drive it.
I had it out the next day or so when there was a recurrence of a nasty noise which I thought had been dealt with by my trusty garage at little cost, so I called up to arrange for a time for them to check it over again.
They told me to bring it right in. On the way to H and B the noise stopped. George said he'd drive it around and hope the noise would come back; I then thought to tell him that besides the noise reoccurring, it had been very slow and cranky when it was backing up.
On returning, George said he heard no noise but he was not at all happy about the way the car acted in reverse. He was wondering whether the brakes had dropped down--which made no sense to me but hey, he's the expert mechanic.
They kept it for the day; later he called me with some bad news. The Master Cylinder was the culprit and needed to be replaced. With the cost of the part and the labor we're up to $700. That on top of some $500 to $700 we had just spent on a new gas pump, not to speak of some $1500 we had spend on the new wheels and new tires and an expensive service earlier this year.
I called Jerry and he said no. A final, unequivocal no. The expense on the car was getting out of hand. I agreed--there was no question it was costing us a lot of money. I pointed out that it was still cheaper than buying a new car, but that made no impact as we have a perfectly good Passat for me to drive and he has the brand new Audi--although it's a company car. I didn't even mention that the guy doing the last smog check had said it was a great car. I begged but Jerry was adamant.
I could not stand the thought of donating it. It would have to sit in front of the house and that was not to be borne. I guess it's silly to feel that way about a car but there it is. We're the original owners; we've owned it 25 years. There's an amazing amount of history with that car.
I asked George whether anyone at H and B might want it. With all the work still to be done on it--new rear brakes, a new clutch assembly, not to speak of the shocks which had never been replaced--all things that all cars need but still...
George asked around at the garage. No one wanted it but George said they could really use it for a parts car. They'd tear it apart--there would go my wonderful car--but I figured it would be of some use for the parts so I said yes. It would be something like a person willing over their organs, because my 85 would be dying.
Yesterday I went down to H and B to pick up the registration for the car, which I needed. I cleaned out 25 years worth of junk out of the glove compartment and the trunk--the glove compartment had to be forced open--another thing wrong with it. In there I found the missing registration, which you may remember was a problem from the previous blog posting on the 85. Oh well. That made the second one I found after-the-fact, which is a mystery.
I cleaned out the trunk and ended up spilling oil all over myself. Strange things are left in the trunk of a car, including cans of oil with holes in them from being there for years and years. One thing I had no idea was there was a jumper cable, which I could learn to use when the car wouldn't start... Oh well.
As we'd need to sell the car to H and B and I had no pink slip down I went down to AAA with the registration, as AAA can do a lot of things that need doing around automobiles and that saves a lot of standing in line at a DMV office. I was told I could simply transfer ownership and perhaps H and B could do all the work as they probably did a fair amount of this sort of thing.
Had trouble reaching Allan, the owner of H and B, who was supposed to be the expert on such things, but left my message with the powers to be.
Allan called back later that afternoon. I started with my spiel but he cut me off.
"Before you say that I want to ask you a question," he said. "Would you consider keeping the car if we made the repair on the house? You've been such great customers over the years and it's hard to see a car that's nearly drivable go down this way. Anyway, ask Jerry."
I started to cry. He also told me they were planning on fixing it up and trying to find a good home for it but he'd rather have us keep it. Of course that meant it wouldn't be a parts car! He loved the car!
I somehow managed to tell him I'd ask Jerry. I tell you, I was crying so hard I could hardly talk.
Allan is nuts about BMW's. He has two or three old ones himself--plus of course he's a great guy.
I called Jerry and told him the story. He said, "That's amazing!"
"Please say yes!" I said.
He said yes.
The car is being repaired! It will not be in pieces! I'll drive it again!
The Turnabout Shop is located in El Cerrito, California, at 10052 San Pablo Avenue—our telephone number is 510-525-7844. We are open Wednesday through Saturday from noon to four. The shop has a very interesting background and I plan to devote one of my upcoming blogs to that history. I was born in Minnesota in 1933, moved to Wisconsin with my family in my twenties, collected a Bachelor of Science degree in Childhood Education, left for California for a teaching job and met my husband. We have been married for 47 years and have two sons and two grandsons, age six and a half and almost three. I love thrift stores. Where else could you find a grotesque Paper Mache mask with weird decorations? Weird can be wonderful! This one nearly caused a divorce: "Either that goes or you go!" We have a dog—an Akita mix called Plato—named for the philosopher. He is a very bright dog. I still have family in Wisconsin and the memories of a wonderful brother who I'm grieving. Take some time out of your busy day and come visit me.