Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Taking stock of what I had just done

blog-0211645001443125902.jpg...So the glow of being a new 02 owner came off almost immediately...

The good

It was complete (mostly, and it wasn't original and that was okay, I was never hoping for the lawn at Pebble, but i was hoping for the dirt at Laguna...)

It ran (mostly)

It had a new windshield

It had the short diff and a new subframe

It had a 2002 engine from a 75 (again, complete, minus he smog gear)

It had been painted in the last 5 years and i couldn't see any rust, maybe it was rust free?!?!

Magnet test said there wasn't much filler ('cept around those flares)

The dash was out of a 74 and looked new

The bad

The front seats were rubbish

The interior was pretty questionable (I started calling it the 'inferior')

Locks and door handles inside and out were questionable

None of the guages worked and the speedometer would bounce and click at any speed over 30 (which is only a guess in terms of its accuracy)

The brakes were questionable (and they were early 1600 units)

I think i saw a little bit of smoke out the back when I let off the gas on the way home

The engine bay was filthy

There was a pile of "spares" in the trunk which on detailed inspection revealed a lot of take offs that were going to be of no use to me

Deep sigh. Okay, well let's see about getting the brakes operational.

I called my local BMW mechanic in Palo Alto, decent enough guy. Immediately had a solution and a parts vendor who could likely get me a new booster, as we determined this was the issue for my extremely unpredictable brakes.

Days pass, nothing. Two weeks pass. Nothing.

Finally I call, "any luck on getting those parts?" Reply comes back "no, this is what we in the restoration world call unobtanium." There was no source for this booster, and even if there was it was largely determined that the cost to get me a part from 2002AD or Jaymic was probably not reasonable based on the complete lack of originality of my car. So I asked for a recommendation. I got one. "Replace the entire brake system." Okay, what's that going to cost me? about 500 bucks in parts and probably about 2K in labor.

Errr. Okay, plus the call came for me to get my near brakeless car out of his rather busy shop. I did as I was told.

At this point he also made a direct intro to a man named Dr. Kwan who could source me almost anything I wanted. Okay, I'll give the Dr. a call.

Kwan and I talked for an hour. We got a long well, but there was a bunch of hesitation in the interaction.

"I've seen the car. You sure you want to invest money in this particular car."

He kept saying, "this particular car." As if he had seen "this particular car", my car, somewheres else. So I pressed him on this. Turns out cars in the san franciso bay area are a lot like techology people, user experience designers...they get around A LOT and they get traded in the same circles. They go to the same brokers like the Dr. and Evan the guy i bought it from.

I decided to press on. Parts for the brakes got ordered.

While I waited I decided to take the car to a friend of mine, Luis, who is the owner of a very large constellation of body shops called Pan American AutoBody. I highly recommend Luis and his shops. More details on that some other time.

Luis puts the car up on a rack and brings it down almost as fast. "ditch this car, and i don't even feel right about saying that, it has frame damage and it isn't really safe to drive."


Now I am filled with the regret that only someone such as a noob like me can be filled with. I own it, i should have gotten a pre-purchase inspection, I should have taken one look at it and turned around, i should have taken my father the skeptical engineer, or i could have relied on my own knowledge of aircooled same period car and their issues. I didn't.

Now what?

I brought it home and put it under a cover and thought about it.

Then the Dr. called. Parts were delayed. Great, because I want to ditch this car like the bad penny it's become. So we discuss, and we decide to look for a certain kind of buyer. One that we can disclose the damage to and who will understand what they are buying.

We also decide to sell my Mk2 16v GTI, (which i now regret)...double my budget and find something decent.

Decision made. Let's find someone.


Recommended Comments

What a bummer. I feel your pain though– after debating about 10 years I decided to dive into another (my fourth) 2002 project. I sourced the car I wanted and went to look at it.. I examined the floor boards and inquired about rust and discovered it had both. Undaunted, I bought the car and had it towed home. I then spent the next 6 or 8 months sanding off layers of paint to discover gallons of bondo and some surprise frame damage. That explained why all along, every thing I'd done on the car was an epic struggle. More than I remembered being required during any of my previous '02 ownerships. In my case at that time, I didn't have any choice but to press on. However, by the time I had the car in driveable condition it was clear that the frame damage was too severe to go any further. Luckily, I stumbled on a reasonably rust-free and un-smashed tub for 300 bucks and was able to transfer all the parts I'd stocked to the new donor shell.


I'm glad I didn't just stubbornly continue to compromise my Big Plan.. every step of work on the replacement car has been exponentially easier and today it is a joy to drive.


Hang in there. Don't lose the faith.

Share this comment

Link to comment

Thanks for this. I really appreciate it. I wasn't afraid of rust, I definitely expected it. The frame was damaged and unfortunately repaired in a truly substandard way. The shop has the most sophisticated celette rack, and my friend refused to work on it.

Stay tuned if the story interests you. The 1968 gets a couple of new owners and I get some interesting parking tickets. And you'll see what lands in my garage after. I definitely didn't loose the faith. I think I might have actually found the religion.

Thanks again for the comment. I have to say, I love this community. And 02 ownership has been life changing (altering).

Share this comment

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.