A heartfelt memo from a courageous owner who put his heart and soul into this car for almost 6 years only to be betrayed. BMW presents the Financial Decapitation with the all old E39.
This is how the story ends. As great as this baby may have been in its heyday in a brand new condition, the opposite is true today in 2018. This monstrosity does not age well in any aspect, besides perhaps its timeless exterior design. And this brings me to another point – that latter point – that’s largely the reason I bought the damn car – and boy have I paid the price for this shortsighted outlook.
Many things come to mind when I think of the E39. Being where I am today, many of these are negative associations naturally. In 2018, the E39 is a fragile relic, a financial burden and a car you wished you never owned. It does put things in perspective though, why do I need a car anyway? Here’s a few things I pondered: a) I work from home, b) I live in the city centre, c) Carbon Tax, d) increasing and record-breaking gas prices, e) an evasive insurance plan, f) car theft and vandalism, g) congested city with bad traffic, and h) my yearly driving was way too low to justify the monthly premiums. I could add a few more, but it’s easy to understand why I’ve decided to drop all that in one go. I wanted to save my sanity before I start hating the whole automotive industry. It was time to dispose of the ticking time bomb before it blew up.
As with all trials and tribulations, I have learned many things with my experience. Some are harder to put in words, but fall more in the category of ‘life lessons’. Some are more rudimentary like the higher price tag does not always equal higher quality. I don’t regret this, because the best lessons are learnt through bad experience. Why else would I put this much effort into this page if there were no positives?
I did not change my heart on this car because I woke up one day and decided so. I defended and protected the car even after others said it was a burden not worth paying for. I tried. In the 8 months spanning all these problems, I had only driven 3,000km. Not a favourable ratio going forward. The following series of events that have unfolded in a very short span of time led me to one inevitable conclusion – to break free for good.
Sep. 5th, 2017 - Check Engine light on. Car shaking. Shop tells me to try and drive it there and while I am able to make it down a hill, I can't accelerate on even ground. Drive over! I wait over 90 minutes for the tow truck. Result: Throttle Assembly valve broke and just like that the car can't go and it's a $1,000 fix. I was not impressed at all.
Oct. 9th, 2017 - 11pm, typical weekday, a brave racoon decides to bolt across a major road, but doesn't make it. My view was obstructed by the car next to me which the racoon barely cleared just to be hit at 50 km/h. In the end, the racoon survived (at least for the night), but my bumper did not. This starts a major chain of events.
Oct. 2017 - My insurance company bails on me and makes me supply my own bumper parts for the repair because they were after market. Indescribable hassle! What would normally be a 1-week job, ultimately took 5 months from accident in October to repair in March. Any future bumper repair would also be subjected to the same process. Nightmare prospect.
Dec. 15th, 2017 - Given my recent troubles, I was driving very tenderly, when a guy next to me tells me my wheel is down to the ground. I pull over, change the tire in 25 minutes, but still wasn't able to make it to where I was going on time, big deal right? Oh, and the expensive top-of-the-line tire in question was unrepairable due to a nail, seriously?. Fuck me.
Jan. 9th, 2018 - Already decided on selling the car, I get the latest surprise. After 15 minutes of driving, engine starts to overheat. Diagnosis: the heater pipes were 'disintegrating of old age' along with bunch of other parts - that's what the shop tells me. Problem #5 in the span of just 4 months.
Jan. 19th, 2018 - The unexpected big bills became so frequent that they became expected and it was both true and scary. Many say this is normal for bimmer owners, but WHY is this normal? Why are these cars made of such poor quality and durability? I choose not to accept this widely accepted reality.
Mar. 2018 - My bank account was taking major damage at an unprecedented rate, but another thing that was common, were oil and fluid leaks. Lots of them. Apparently, this was just another normal and expected thing with these cars. My parking spot was very greasy and I still haven't been able to fully clean it.
May 6th, 2018 - At 4:10pm the final photo was taken just minutes after the paperwork was done. Taking 7 weeks to sell the car forced me to pay costly insurance while barely driving. And almost 2 extra months after that for parking fees. Even after the car was sold, it still continued to have an impact.
When I started to work for myself full time in December of 2012, I gained complete control of my schedule and have had a healthy work/life balance ever since. I can make all the decisions regarding my career and direction and I can travel whenever it best suits me without hassle. I am thankful for this every day. This is freedom.
After selling my car on May 6th, 2018, I felt what can only be described as Freedom 2.0. I had more joy in selling that car than I did when I acquired it in June 2012, which was definitely unexpected. This was my first car and I thought surely, in the end I would have some sadness to see it go no matter the circumstance. Not the case at all. The drawn out process of getting the car ready and meeting potential buyers only got me more anxious with the hopeful end. With each new meeting and test drive, the amped-up knowledgable buyer would point out all the flaws, ultimately decline to buy it and leave me with serious doubts of ever selling it.
After 7 weeks of calls, texts, emails, inquiries and scheduling, I continued to believe in the idea that there was a buyer out there for every kind of car. Much to my delight, I found that buyer and the rest is history. Or should I say the future, but someone else’s future.
Farewell my E39.
I now live harmoniously without a car and enjoy taking the subway, bus, car share and do a great amount of walking without the fear of the big bill. Vancouver is a city with plenty of options to get around, so the transition has been effortless. I’ve become the commuter, and now I can focus my time and efforts on more important things than patching up my car and worrying if it will break down next time I need to get somewhere.
E39s are still very common and when I’m out and about everyday, I can spot more than a few. My eyes lock on them almost like auto-target in a FPS video game. The lines, the shape, and the classic style is truly unmistakable. The design is still something to behold and I’m glad I can still appreciate what got me hooked years before. The thing that brings me the most joy now is that I’m no longer in the bimmer club and this allows me to enjoy the sight of one without the thought, “I wish I had one of these!”.
As for this website, I will still continue to run it and update the Bimmer History section. Given the car is now sold, there’s a few other updates to do to consolidate all that properly. I am passionate about design and this is a fantastic little project I created and I intend to keep it alive. Keep checking back for updates and thanks for reading.