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Looking At Getting My First! Anything Experts Want Me To Pay Attention To Based On The Picture


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I've been looking at some vintage 2002's for a while and have the opportunity to check out this car. This is my first 'old' car search and want to learn as much as possible before going any further.

I notice some rust on some on the panels, but from the pictures it doesn't really look structural. Any thoughts on the extent?

I'm also not sure what the spots on the paint are - just rain spots or is it something worse?

Any other thoughts or opinions?


Also, this seemed like the best place to post but if there is another subforum that's better, please let me know.

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My search skills are failing me but this very car was thoroughly picked apart in the last couple weeks. Someone posted a link and asked for opinions, which many here are only too happy to provide if asked. :-)

It's a very 'distinctive' car with the tap handle shifter and some other unusual modifications.


Thanks for the tip. I knew from lurking for a while that sales are sometimes discussed, but for this particular car I had only seen the auto ebay post. I've done some more searching and am still coming up with nothing. Could it have been a different website/forum?

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Hey!  I found it.  Not a lot of input though, as Bento said.  Here it is anyway.



It looks like someone painted the tail lights red... including the reverse lights and yellow blinker portions.  There are a lot of funny little cosmetic issues like that, but there are three things you need to look out for, as they say.  1) Rust 2) Rust 3) Rust.  


If you look at the passenger wheel well in the trunk, you see rust bubbling through, just behind the shock tower.  This is a labor intensive fix, from what I understand.  There is a shelf like piece of metal on the underside that holds dirt and moisture and can rust through.  That doesn't look good, but I count four air freshener trees hanging from the mirror, so it probably smells nice.  ;)


It is really hard to tell much from those photos.  


I Googled images for BMW 2002 Rust, so you can get an idea of where to look when you go see it.  There are several images of the trunk issue I mentioned above.


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You found it- we'll tear apart any car, no problem!


Ok, what is missing are pictures of the inside of the trunk, as the inner spring supports in there are famous for rusting out,

and pictures of the rockers, which also rust like crazy, from the inside out.


If you go look at it, thump around underneath on the INSIDE of the rockers, as in, if the rocker wasn't there, you'd hit

yourself in the nose as you're thumping on it.  Also thump the rockers from the outside.  You're listening to see if they sound

solid, but not made of solid bondo.  Also feel 'em- if they're lumpy, there's rust in there.

Pay special attention to the seam that's supposed to follow the fenderline down to the pinch welds at the bottom, and then

look at those pinch welds along the bottom of the rockers themselves. 

Feel the rear wheelarches- there is rust in there, but it's not necessarily a dealbreaker, as long as the rest of the car's not Swiss cheeze.

Which it might be.


This car's not worth much- every piece of trim's bent, the window gaskets are as old as I am, parts are missing, the whole thing needs attention,

there are hundreds of problems (like the heater hose used for the booster vacuum line) so it really oughta be a $2500 car

IF it's not particularly rusty.  If it's rusty, keep looking- it'd be a lot smarter to pay $5k for a solid car that needs some  work than to

saddle yourself with a shell that's going to cost $7500 to make structurally sound.


Hope this helps...




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Not every 02 deserves to be restored, nor does every guy want to restore a car.  Some of us just want to spend a few thousand on something and beat the hell out of it until falls apart.  


When my car was for sale, several purists looked my car over.  They turned their noses up at every flaw, and jerked the guy around and pissed him off.  I told him I didn't care about those flaws at all, and I was just going to run the shit out of it, race it as much as possible, and offered him the only cash I had.  I've still got it 9 years later after many years of autocross, cross-country driving, track days, etc., and still daily driving.  It has gained some dents, and is uglier than when I got it.   

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