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Buying a E30 without physically being there

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    Buying a E30 without physically being there

    Has anyone bought a car without going to look at it first? I am in the process of making an offer on a car listed here that I would pay for and have shipped. I wanted to get tips from anyone that's done this in the past.

    1.Whats the best/cheapest way to ship the car?
    2.Whats the best way to get the documents signed?
    3.Whats the best way to pay in order to protect both parties? (Escrow, Paypal,Etc..)
    4.Any other tips or suggestions?

    No bueno

    It all depends on what you’re wanting and if the seller is truthful. If you’re doing a full frame strip and restore like I am and don’t care if it runs, just ask for pictures of every possible rust spot and pictures with bumpers off to see any hidden impact damage. If you’re wanting something as a daily, I don’t suggest buying it unless you see it in person.. I bought a 74 corvette 2 years ago without seeing the car, looked wonderful, got the car and well... It’s been 2 years and the body is still off the frame and I’ve got 300+ labor hours and $7000 to go just to get it running and together, not even the way I want it. Don’t do it.
    Last edited by C0CAlNE_E30; 08-17-2018, 05:27 PM.


      I just bought one, the key is to ask all the right questions and get detailed pictures if possible.


        The seller has been great. We've talked and he has sent me tons of photos/videos. I truly believe the car is fine. I just want to know the best way to conduct the transfer of funds and shipping?


          I did this 15 years ago with my e30.
          Only advice I can give is NEVER TRUST ANYTHING THE SELLER SAYS.

          My situation turned out great. The car was everything (and more) that I was looking for. This was because I made sure to get an INDEPENDANT inspection from a reputable shop (one the owner is not familiar with). Once I got the report AND the wife of the shop informed me that "this is a great car to make a first impression", I booked a one way flight to pick up my new car.

          Mind you, this was in the early 00's when most ppl in Canada didn't own a digital camera, and cell phones didn't have cameras (yes, I'm very old).

          As for shipping, I'd rather fly out and drive home. No better way to enjoy your new ride than with a road trip. Also protects you from any shenanigan's the seller might pull.
          And with payment, simply send them a deposit of a few hundo. Then bring a bank draft for the remainder when you arrive to pick it up.
          If it's got tits or tires, it's gonna cost ya!


            Where is it? I work all over the country and I drive, never fly. I could trailer your car if the stars line up.
            My son has the 1987 325e, 2 door, 5speed
            I daily the 1989 325i, 4 door, 5speed


              Originally posted by 325e '87 View Post
              Where is it? I work all over the country and I drive, never fly. I could trailer your car if the stars line up.

              The car is in CT I believe. I’ll have to double check. PM me if it’s something your interested in.

              Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


                Thats not too bad of a distance! I would much rather fly with the cash in hand and be ready to have to buy a last minute ticket back rather than have a surprise dumped on me...
                Current Car:
                -2017 i3 REx, 21st Century E30
                -1975 Alfa Romeo Giulia Nuova Super 1300, the never-ending name & project

                Make R3V Great Again -2020


                  Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                  Thats not too bad of a distance! I would much rather fly with the cash in hand and be ready to have to buy a last minute ticket back rather than have a surprise dumped on me...

                  Or more locally just rent a car, drive there and be prepared to walk. Even that ~$200 expense, including travel costs, is cheap compared to just about any repair.


                    I recently bought another e30 on eBay. I won the car for cheap and eBay has their buyer protection so I didn't have too much at risk. It worked out for me because the seller was very honest about the car besides a few minor things. He told me he had never registered or driven the car and that I should have it towed home. I attempted to drive it home but the seller did not mention the terrible fuel leak or that the engine was running on 3 cylinders. I had it towed instead.

                    As far as the money, I sent a $500 deposit through Paypal and did the rest through a bank wire transfer. I signed the bill of sale in person. And he sent me the title through the mail after it was transferred into his name.

                    In the past, I have considered using UShip for shipping cars long distances. I have no personal experience with them however.

                    This is my experience. eBay is a lot different than sending money to a random guy. So proceed with caution.
                    '90 325i - 5 speed coupe
                    '05 330ci 6MT ZHP


                      If it's an E30, and since you are here on this forum, try to find someone from the area and pay that person to go and inspect the car, I've done this a few times and it have save me, find a member that has been a member of the this forum for a long time, the last time I did it was a car in Seattle, the person who did it for me charged me $100,he made an appointment with the seller, got under the car took many pictures and gave me his personal opinion, sure enough I didn't buy the car and saw listed for less than half the original asking price later on.


                        I've bought four cars over the past year without seeing them in person before.

                        The touring was bought from the importer, but he sent me any photo or video I asked for, provided answers to every question I had and I got a great deal. The car was exactly as described and there was no surprises.

                        My newer X3 I bought from a dealer on eBay out of LA. He was a dealer and included lots of photos and videos of the car as well. He highlighted most of the issues and it had a solid history. Again, it was a chassis I am familiar with and so knew the issues an E83 has when 10+ years and 100K+ miles.

                        Both cars, the biggest PITA was shipping. I tried both U-ship and other leads I got from friends who are dealers. Most often, you get harassed by brokers, who post the shipping job at way below the going rate, and then you either stuck waiting until a driver bids on it at that amount, or they come back and tell you it's going to be more.

                        The bigger issue with shipping the touring was that the location I was shipping from was far off the usual shipping routes, so it cost more to have a truck go up there and grab it.

                        As for the X3 - @#$%#$ California! Seriously, in the arse and from the bottom of my heart - I hate you so much. Their anti-car, tax everyone out the wazoo attitude makes buying a car a PITA. Most any other state, I could have bought the car, flown down, and just drove it home. Or maybe had to get a trip permit from my home state and drive it back. But because California has spending problem, they want to tax everything. So if you buy the car from a dealer in California and intend to fly in and drive it back, you pay 10% tax. The only way to not pay the 10% is for a licensed shipper to pick it up. And it's on the dealer if they don't have a record of it.

                        I also bought the previous X3 I had from an auction one state over and had it shipped. It was cheap to ship from Washington to Oregon, and the auction site (Copart) handled the middle man duties. It was painless..

                        Several of my buddies are low volume specialty dealers here in Portland and regularly ship cars in and out. They have their usual shippers, but tend to still throw stuff on the boards to see what they bid out to.

                        As for payment - depending on the amount, I've done it through Paypal, and wire transfer. Both work and have some safety nets.

                        Never, NEVER, NEVER - send money on Paypal using the Send Money to a Friend option. I don't care if it's cars or parts. Eat the 3% Paypal cost if you have to, but the added protection from handling it as paying for services or sales is worth the 3%.

                        Hope that helps.
                        1984 Alpina B6 2.8/1 #35
                        1991 325i MT2 Touring (JDM bro)
                        1991 Racecar (Chase Schmidt's former drift car - M30)
                        2006 BMW X3
                        2011 Audi A3 - wife's other German car



                          Patience is another option. I see you in Upstate SC and with all of the BMW people in that region there's tons of E30s running around all over the place there, so if you afford to just sit tight for a little while, I'm supremely confident a good one will turn up close to you before too long. Here in Atlanta there's also lots of cars, which are much closer to you than CT!


                            I would fly up there to drive it back, and be ready to bail out if something's horribly wrong with the car. Save some $ on shipping the car, bring cashier's check maybe - see the car and talk in person with the seller. Road Trip!


                              Get a PPI if travel isn't an option.
                              My previous build (currently E30-less)

                              A 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 Offroad in Inferno is my newest obsession