Project BMW update: I fought the car…

…and the car won. Some time ago, actually. It was mid-September when I finally said “enough is enough” with this rare BMW touring. In my case, realizing I’d be lucky to get $3500 out of a car I had nearly $10k dumped into incentivized me to walk away the next time something went wrong. I continues losing the faith when it was discovered that the behemoth was loo long to fit in the garage of our rented urban cottage…and then stuff happened.

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Project BMW update: Expensive Maintenance Likely

Since purchasing the 528it, it would occasionally have the traction control and check engine lights come on along with a small light that simply said “EML.” When this happened, the car would immediately start running rough, stall out, or otherwise become kind of a pain to drive. Initially stopping the car and restarting seemed to solve the problem, but it began occurring with such frequency (and at completely random times) that I had to dive in and fix it. Turns out “EML” stands for “Elektronische Motorleistungsregelung;” translated as “Electronic Engine Power Control,” I soon found out that “Expensive Maintenance Likely” is also a pretty close translation.

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Just like Mom’s: 80’s Subarus

I’ve got a lot of fond memories of bouncing around in the passenger seats of old Subarus. My mother, bless her soul, almost always drove older 4WD Subaru wagons and even had two at one point! They were practical, rugged, and she could fix them herself with some basic tools and a shop manual, if need be. Those cars left an impression on me, so I’ve ended up owning and wrenching on quite a few of them, including an engine-swapped BRAT and a very 1980’s XT Turbo.

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Weird spinning triangles: Early 80’s Mazda RX-7s

A weird and wonderful technical innovation thrown into a charming little sports car is exactly the kind of thing I’m into, which is why I’ve always been a big fan of the Mazda RX-cars. The Mazda rotary engine is a really interesting product; much easier to work on than a typical piston engine, while providing explosive power for its size with an astronomical rev limit. The 1st generation RX-7s depreciated pretty heavily in the 2000’s, and I’ve had a couple of them.

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Imported from Kenosha: 1984 Renault Encore

In 2006, I discovered the so-called BABE Rally, where each team had to purchase a vehicle for $250 or less and complete a maniacal cross-country road trip from New York to New Orleans (or, the Big Apple to the Big Easy, hence the acronym). Somehow, I convinced my parents to let me participate as a high-school graduation present and got two friends to come with me. So we started looking for a car; I had already developed an odd taste, so I demanded something more interesting than a Civic or Corolla. Then, one day, a running 1984 Renault Encore showed up on Craigslist. The asking price? $175. Thus began my journey of growing to love one of the most hated compact cars ever sold on U.S. soil.

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