Sunday, 20 April 2008

The Beast 2.0

2008 BMW 330i M Sport Coupe, originally uploaded by Me (?).

For the past 18 months I have been 'almost' buying a new car. My E46 BMW 330i (a.k.a. "The Beast") was fantastic but I always intended it to be an interim car whilst I waited for the new shape Coupe M Sport model to come out. The sport model came out and I ummed and ahhed about changing for about 12 months and then eventually in March I ordered one.

After lots of phone calls and messing about with LeasePlan I eventually got a call 2 weeks ago from the dealer telling me the car would be delivered on the afternoon of Friday 18 April. w00t!
That was almost a month quicker than I had been led to believe what the lead time was. w00t!
That also presented a problem...

I live in a street with permit parking and we are limited to two permits per house. If I did not sell The Beast before I got my new car that would mean having three cars. And three cars would be a pain. Here starts the problem...

It turns out that 3 litre sports cars are not exactly hot sellers at the moment. I have come up with the following factors that made selling a problem:
  • Global Credit Crunch - who wants to buy an expensive second hand car when the news is all doom and gloom about the economy
  • Petrol Prices - with petrol at 111p a litre large engined cars are not popular
  • Old shape - The Beast was the old E46 shape BMW and the new shape has been around for about 18 months meaning there are some new shape second handers for not much more than I was asking
  • No Sat Nav - I rang around a number of garages to see if they wanted to buy it and all but 2 said they were not interested because the car did not have sat nav
So regardless of those factors I needed to sell in a hurry.

First step Autotrader. I spent £50 on an advert for the magazine and internet for three weeks of advertising. I put it on at £500 more than the guide price I had bought (£3.50). After a week I had had one phone call from a chap from Scotland who never called me back. A week later I dropped the price by £1000. Not a sniff of interest.

Next step eBay. I spent £15 on an advert for eBay. Took lots of new pictures and gave a very detailed summary of the car. I put a reserve on of £1000 less than the new lower Autotrader price. I had some minor interest but the car did not sell, it got within £400 of the reserve but none of the bidders I emailed got in touch.

Getting a bit worried now. Contingency plans involved leaving the old car at work so as to avoid parking permit problems but that was going to be a faff.

Next step second hand car dealers. I rang around and had a few low offers over the phone. Hampshire Sports and Prestige Cars offered me the same amount as the eBay reserve but wanted to see the car to discuss formal price. When I went over there the chap spotted I had two very worn tyres and was concerned about the proximity of a service. We agreed on a price and I sold. It was a bit lower than I was hoping but the hassle of selling was over and I was finally car-less two days before the new one.

Friday. Afternoon. Working from home. Waiting for the phone to ring to be told about delivery time. 13:00 get call from Darren the delivery driver. Darren says he does not think he will get up my street in his 65 foot long car transporter so can I meet him somewhere in an hour. Oh yes!

2008 BMW 330i M Sport Coupe, originally uploaded by Me (?).

I meet up with Darren and he hands over the car to me. Worryingly I did not have to show any ID but then I guess who else would be hanging around outside Vines Mini in Guildford waiting for a 65 foot car transporter.

2008 BMW 330i M Sport Coupe, originally uploaded by Me (?).

Got the car and drove home. Now I had been planning this day for a long time, the idea was to take the afternoon off work and go somewhere picturesque and take some photos of the new car. Problem was the weather was rubbish. I went for a drive but it ended up being school chucking out traffic and so I got hacked off being stuck in traffic so I went home.

BMW Remote Control, originally uploaded by Me (?).

Eventually the weather was dry this morning so Alison and I popped over to Farnborough to go somewhere I had scoped out already. We went to Farnborough Air Sciences Museum where they have a load of historic aircraft that fortunately you can park right next to. I parked up next to a Harrier jet and set up my tripod etc. Within a few minutes a chap comes out and politely asks me what I am doing. I apologised and assured him I was doing non-commercial photography and I am just an amateur with a new car that I want to take some interesting pictures of. I made a donation of £5 to cover the fact that we were not going into the museum but were still making use of the outdoor parts. The guy was very friendly and introduced himself as Brian.

2008 BMW 330i M Sport Coupe, originally uploaded by Me (?).

After a load of 'photofaffing' around the Harrier, Brian pops out and asks me if I want to take some pictures through the barriers and with a load of additional planes - i.e. special access. Of course I said yes and spent another 30 mins photofaffing around an ex-Red Arrows plane whilst Brian's colleague Malcolm supervised. Excellent stuff :-)

2008 BMW 330i M Sport Coupe, originally uploaded by Me (?).

So I have the car, it is filthy already from the rubbish weather but the car is FANTASTIC! Well worth the wait (and money!). I am looking forward to a driving holiday to Reims in May and then another driving holiday to the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales in July. This is all practice for another European Grand Tour in 2009 or 2010. Can't wait!

I have created a PictoBrowser gallery below. Click on the image to move to the next picture and move the mouse over the bar at the bottom where it says PictoBrowser to select other images.

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