My Personal Side

By Craig Hastings
Remember me telling you that I have been searching for just the right project car? It’s difficult because the car I’m after is a 60’s or 70’s era Detroit manufactured sports car. I’m looking for something manufactured by one of the Big Three American auto manufacturers. Since I have nothing else to do with my life after I leave my present occupation of Police Officer, I think maybe this would give me something to do. The search is difficult because the cars of the 60’s and 70’s were prone to rust and corrosion either by quality of metal at the time or by plan. By plan I mean, so we would all be forced to replace our cars because they rusted apart as we drove them. Anyway, finding one that won’t require metal work has been a challenge. The mechanical problems I should be able to figure out myself, but the most expensive part of any restoration is usually the metal and paint work which I can not do either.

So why am I telling all of you this again? Because my oldest son told me a couple of weeks ago he wanted to purchase a “project car.” I knew this would be “our” project car whether I was all in or not. But, why wouldn’t I just do one with him and not one of my own? So I asked him what he was looking for, old Camaro, old Mustang, Chevelle, Challenger, what was he thinking? “BMW 335,” he replied. I took a deep breath before I asked him why, but I was sure I already knew. The gear head Fast and Furious crowd he hangs with in Champaign drive these 335 cars, Nissan 350 and 370Zs, Porsche, about anything foreign. Understand that these older 335 BMWs are reasonably cheap to buy. He told me he had located a 2008 335 that was near Tuscola, and it was priced at $6,500. Had I found what I wanted, that car would have been at least twice that if not more and; wouldn’t even be drivable. Not only this, in order for him to buy the BMW the Yamaha 650 crazy dangerous sport bike had to be sold. Something I really wanted to happen.

So began my problem. I know nothing about these German made cars! The first day Payton owned the car it set two repair codes. Ok, easy enough I thought, just plug in a diagnostic scanner into the service port and we will know exactly where to look. Nope. Payton has a close friend that has one of these 335 cars and also has the scanner we needed to see what was up with the “project car.” Unfortunately for me anyway, when the codes translated to two service parts I had never heard of I was reminded I knew nothing about these cars. Remember the German Sergeant on the old “Hogan’s Heroes” sitcom? Whenever this Sergeant was in a bind he would continually repeat: “I know nothing, I know nothing!” Well, this is exactly what I was thinking but too embarrassed to say. For several nights now I’ve sat in a quiet room and Googled many, many videos and repair articles on old BMWs. Every other night Payton and I are in my garage figuring out a new repair or replacing parts to avoid another.

I’ve gotten to know my 40-year-old tools again and had to purchase a few more because of course the BMWs use metric measurement tools and most all of mine are SAE standard tools. Forever I could pretty much look at an SAE fastener and tell you what wrench I needed without having to size it up by grabbing two or three different size wrenches. I’m learning this all over again, but this time in metric scale. I can’t say I‘m not enjoying it, but I will also tell you I’m very intimidated working on something so foreign to me. Each repair is unlike anything my old friend and mentor Kenny Nelson tutored me with back in the 70’s. I admit I’m a rookie today.

It could be Payton will tire of the repair after repair of his “project car” and put it on the internet for sale. It will then become someone else’s project car. Or….maybe, he will abandon his project car in my driveway and leave it there for me to carry on with his project as my own or; I’ll call a wrecker and have the driver meet me at my house at 2 a.m. some early morning and quietly tow it to his mom’s and drop it off in her driveway!!!! Then it could be her “project car”!

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