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1995 525iT

I bought this car to get my feet wet with the idea of having an E34 touring.  I had been driving Volvo wagons since I had my license, and grew accustomed to the utility and overall design of the Volvo 245.  Not many E34 tourings show up for sale, especially compared to the sedans, so this car was interesting not only because of that, but because it was a color I hadn't seen before (Orientblau-metallic) and it also had been lowered, running MK Motorsport wheels.  In addition to the wheels, there were a couple other cosmetic choices that weren't my taste, like smoked corners, black kidney covers and a couple of vinyl decals on the window.  Overall, though, it was a neat-looking car.  Especially for the $2500 asking price.  Then add the fact it was two miles from my house, I had to have a look.  I showed up to look at the car and it was interesting.  The paint needed some help.  The clear hadn't gone, but it just seemed to be neglected.  The couple I bought the car from had recently moved to the valley from Oklahoma, so it wasn't here long.  They had spent some money on the car over the time they owned it, but the radiator needed replacing and they couldn't shell out the cash to do it, so they elected to get a newer car.

Looking at the car, it had just about every issue an E34 would have, even if it was cared for.  The headliner was sagging, the door cards were falling apart.  The front end had been done recently and everything worked, though...including everything in the tailgate.  It sat nicely and I knew I could get some money back on the wheels, as 17x8 and 17x9 MK Motorsport wheels aren't exactly common.  These needed work and would have to be sold for less, but it would recoup some cash.  After driving the car, I wasn't sure.  It felt too new (as if that's possible for a 16-year-old car).  I'm used to the E28s and E12s.  My head was near the roof and the windscreen was next to my forehead compared to what I'm used to.  That said, it's a clever wagon and it would be worth looking at perhaps fixing up and selling it on.  I decided to pass.  In my naiveté about E34 tourings, I had posted a thread on MyE28.com.  Several members had them.  The thoughts on the car were mixed.  Many said to hold out for a better one and others said to snatch it up.  It's needs are comparatively few and I'd be up to the task.  Still others said I'd hate myself for buying it as I'd want a nice car, which this could never be.  

You can imagine how it ended up.  I spoke on the phone with a couple folks and ended up changing my mind.  I bought the car for $2,000.  I filled it with water and drove it home, hiding it in my garage from my mother.  I didn't want to get into the argument about my priorities and how I didn't need three cars (look at me now).  She ended up finding it (surprised it took as long as it did).  She wasn't happy.  I got the paperwork straightened out on the car and ordered a radiator.  Everything else cooling system-wise was recent, so I got off lucky there.  With two $2500 receipts in the glovebox for suspension and headwork (car 
was overheated at 164k, necessitating cylinder head replacement), it was a solid base to work from.  I had a set of E31 style 8s that had some sticky 235/50/16 Yokohama AVS Intermediates, so I though they'd be neat to try on the car.  I took the 17s off, had the tires pulled and sold them for $650 to an E30 M3 enthusiast in the Bay Area.  I knew one was bent, but there was a second, so some money was refunded towards repair.  Brakes were getting close, but I decided to wait.  We did the valve cover gaskets, plugs, etc since it would blow a puff of smoke on start up.  The tranny seemed okay.  Slight reverse delay, but nothing serious.  Time went on and I found a sweet set of BBS RC302s courtesy of Todd at TCD.  They came on his Euro E34 M5 and were one of my favorite wheels.  He bought some M-systems for the car, so I got the RCs with tires at a fair price.  I fixed a bunch of little things inside the car and actually enjoyed driving it - especially in the summer.  Between the window tint and the AC, it was phenomenal.  At times, I'd be annoyed because it wasn't that nice of a car and my head hit the ceiling, but it had one hell of an air conditioner and a great stereo from the factory.  I started thinking about some plans for it.  

Then, October 5, 2010, my area was hit hard in a freak hail storm.  The touring was in the driveway (E12 and 533 were safe inside the garage).  It got pelted.  The glass survived, but I lost some tail lamps and dented the left side and top of the car pretty badly.  About a week or two later, the paint went.  I was bummed.  I guess it had secured it's place of never being a real project.  I half-heartedly looked for another wagon for a while, then finally decided that it was a great car that I didn't have to worry too much about.  I decided eventually, I'd rather have a car I could make into something than one where every dollar I put into it would be one I couldn't get back.  So, I eventually found another candidate and it was time to send the Orient Express down the road to it's next owner.  I sold it to a good friend, George.  I hope it serves him as well as it served me.  In fact, I miss the car so much that I regret selling it.  The grass is not always greener on the other side and the "new" touring isn't all that and a bag of chips.  I put 40k miles on this wagon and it never let me down, except for that one time the fuel pump died in front of my house.
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