1997 BMW 840Ci
Confident in BMW as my marque of choice, I was ready buy a very special car. I've always admired big GT "super coupes" and felt the time was right. Fortunately BMW offers just such a car in the 8-series. This time I wanted to purchase an example from the last model year built, and in like-new condition.
After over a year of searching I finally found what I was looking for in September of '07: a 1997 model in a special color (Orient Blue), with grey interior, and in mostly stock condition. As a bonus, this car already had the cool CSi body kit and very low mileage.
Unfortunately the car was located over 1000 miles away. I eventually flew to pick up the car and arrived back home after a three day drive. After some remedial maintenance I soon had the car running "properly" and quickly began personalizing the car with custom additions and modifications. After all, this is what makes owning a car fun!
One of my special interests is taking a good product and making it better. This car is no exception. I soon embarked on what I called my "8 series modernization project" - an effort to modernize the 8 series while keeping a stock (tasteful) appearance - accomplished using factory parts as much as possible. Most of these projects are outlined in my DIY write-ups:
- Factory in-dash CD head unit (CD43) with Phatbox mp3 player (write-up).
- CD changer-delete trunk liner.
- Homelink transmitter installed in headliner (write-up).
- Factory wood kit replaced with standard black trim.
- Steptronic shift pattern reversal (write-up).
- Multifunction 3-spoke sport steering wheel (write-up).
- Tinted windows.
- Custom center cup/coin holder (write-up).
- 17" staggered, style 21, "throwing star" wheels with Continental Extreme Contact tires.
- Ski bag removed (trunk pass-thru now actually useable).
- Factory chrome exhaust tips.
- Custom floor mats
These cars tend to draw you in, and before you realize it you'll be spending much time and money making the car "right". I endeavoured with the following maintenance common to the 8-series:
- Headlight bucket rebuild (using copper adjuster caps)
- Front suspension rebuild (upper & lower control arms, idler bushing, center link, tie rods)
- Radiator (from 540i)
- Headliner replacement (write-up)
- Sunroof rebuild (write-up)
- General module refurbished (new capacitors)
In 2012, new opportunities and changing circumstances began calling for a new "mission profile" from my daily driver and I reluctantly sold my 840 in September 2013, after a full 6 years of ownership.
I may one day return to owning an 8-series, perhaps next time with a V12!
Willis, TX, USA