Early on the morning of Tuesday, October 10th, I started up my Dodge Ram 1500 toy hauler, left my home outside of Pittsburgh and headed off to New Jersey to look at and probably pick-up my new project, a 1975 BMW 2002. It was about a 5 hour drive. The plan was to drive to Allentown, PA, pick up a U-Haul car carrier and, since the banks were closed Monday, pick up the cash needed to pay for this car. I chose Tuesday because it was between storms. Hurricane Nate had not yet made it this far north. I got to Allentown and went into one of the two PNC branches there to get money out of my account. "You want this in cash?" Yes. "All of it?" Yes. "Normally, you need to call us a day in advance because we don't have this much cash in the bank." Oh. (I have cashed much larger checks than this at my branch in Pittsburgh and nobody ever batted an eye.) Brief wait. "My manager says we can do this, but it will have to be in $50s. Is that OK?" It wasn't like I had a choice.... "Yes, that's fine." Apparently, in order to ensure that the tellers don't make any mistakes, the bank has a "Bank Vault ATM" that counts out money to give to them. Once this happened, the tellers had to count the money 6 or 7 times because the money counters were broken and they were all miscounting by $50. After a brief panic, $50 was found stuck in the counter, which the teller tried even though it was broken. 20 minutes after entering the bank, I was on my way to the Uhaul rental about 2 miles away. Tip: ALWAYS rent car carrier trailers from a Uhaul Moving and Storage shop, not a "neighborhood" shop. The Moving and Storage places have more resources in case something is wrong with the trailer. Another tip: NEVER try to rent a car carrier trailer at the very end of or beginning of the month. Every apartment renter on the planet is trying to move that week and the rental counter line will stretch out the door. I've done this "pick up a car-carrier trailer there" thing several times and it works well as long as it isn't a month end.
The car was advertised on Autotrader classics and, unlike nearly all of the other BMW 2002s listed, this one was both reasonably priced and a one-family car. The pictures were not great, but I could tell that the car had potential and the conservative colors, silver with a marine blue interior, was exactly what I wanted. According to the seller, it was nearly rust free. The gentleman was helping to sell the car for his wife, who inherited the car from her father when he passed away in 2005 or 2006. The car was listed as complete, original and rust free but needing some work. Since my plan was to completely restore the car, an untouched original was the best possible choice.
I hauled the trailer up the long, relatively narrow drive to the house, met the husband and looked over the car, which was sitting outside a separate garage area where it had probably spent the last 11 years. It really was rust free. Looking over the entire car, I only found 2 small rust spots about the size of a quarter and that was it. My paint gauge confirmed one respray and no bondo on the car that I could find. The dash looked great with no cracks at all and the interior looked original except for a new cover on the back seat bottom. (The rest of the back seat cover, purchased from World Upholstery in 2012, was still in a box in the trunk.) The paint looked OK, but it was dull and splotchy. That was fine since I knew I would be repainting it. It was actually an original Maaco paint job from 1985. I knew this because the seller provided me with every single maintenance record and receipt, including an oil change diary, since the car was purchased new in 1976! Every single record!
The gentleman and I talked, I got a little history on the car, I met the wife, we signed the title and the bill of sale I brought and he counted the wrapped stacks of $50 bills I brought from the bank. Soon I was on my way home with another winter project.