This has been a big week for me as a long thought-about change in my modest car stable finally happened. I’ve been thinking of replacing my Triumph TR4 that’s been with me for close to ten years (and thereby by far the car I’ve owned the longest!) since it didn’t really fit the bill any longer and spent far too much time in the garage.
In my post about oldtimers guaranteed to increase in value (see here if you missed it), I made the point of thinking through the purchase well in terms of how much you will be able to use the car, as you otherwise risk ending up in my situation. I wouldn’t claim that I thought through the purchase along those lines ten years ago, but it’s also true that needs change and in my specific case, this has meant the kids now being grown up and my wife and I dbeing in the phase of life where we can drive down to Tuscany or southern France over a long weekend. You don’t do that in a TR4 from -65.
It took a while to find a buyer, but I finally sold the Triumph at a reasonable price which was around 20% more than what I paid for it ten years ago. In parallel, the brief for what was to replace it was beginning to take shape. I imagined a GT car that could seat four but was really made for two, preferably a convertible, modern enough for the weekend escapes mentioned above, with enough power and sound to put a smile on my face and with enough luggage space to handle the surprising number of things my better half thinks are necessary for a few days.
I thought long and hard about both a 996 Turbo and a 997.2 4S, but they neither transport four, nor have enough luggage space. I met a perfect gentleman with a perfect XJS V12, but again, the back seats don’t work and there was a risk I would always have been nervous about that V12. A few other, classic candidates were also considered but then it got complicated, also because of the increase in value many classics or future classics have seen these last years. So maybe it was time to think about something newer, something where the second-hand value is a true disaster, and the value for money is truly spectacular. I guess it also gives some credibility to what we write on this blog to know that we follow our recommendations… (see here). Anyway, that’s how yesterday a BMW 650i convertible ended up in my garage!
My new car has had one owner since new in 2013 and over the 57.000 kms he has driven it, he must have spent at least as much time cleaning, polishing and speaking kindly to it, because the car is truly in mint condition. Importantly, being a 2013 model, it has the improved V8, double-turbo 450 hp engine, which hasn’t had the problems that were quite common with the previous 408 hp version. As mentioned in my post I’ve always liked the design, which i think is truly beautiful both with the top and without it, and i liked the color combination (the so called citrin black, which is a softer, brown-black color, with the white interior) and the equipment which is quite complete. Rounding it off were good summer and winter tires on alloy wheels and a one-year complete warranty. And for all this, I paid exactly 20% of the price new price of CHF 180.000 in 2013, or if you will, a couple of thousand more than I got for my TR4.
That’s how I left the classic car scene for now, but honestly I don’t see it as very dramatic. I will always have a heart for beautiful automobiles but as long as both time and space are limited, it’s about that brief and usability. And to be perfectly frank, something else is worth considering as well: things were not better before, which also includes cars, and for the kind of usage we plan, it actually feels quite re-comforting to have a modern car. Yeah, I know, I’ve grown old…
The 650 is not a future classic and not a car that will increase in value (although the downside at that starting point and with free maintenance until 2023 is rather limited!), but it’s a great car that perfectly fits our current needs and can of course be used as my summer daily driver. The first 70-80 kms have been great. Being too big and too heavy, the 650 is not a sports car, yet it sticks to the road in a very capable way, with just enough of the V8 bass tones coming through on acceleration. The kids had enough room in the back seat with minor adjustments to my ideal driving position, and luggage space is sufficient. So far I love it and really look forward to a couple of those trips a bit later this autumn!