I bought an old 1990 BMW V12 for $1500 from a low-rider who wasn't a mechanic. These things are like the space shuttle. Forget about taking it to the dealer. It's either do the work yourself or sell it to some idiot and run. The guy told me it passed the California smog test and he'd get me the paperwork, but as soon as the money changed hands he ran. He must have thought I was an idiot. I drove the car home from the DMV and parked it. It came without a maintenance history which meant I was taking a risk, that I might have to strip it to get my money back out of it. But there was an off-chance I had found a gem. The car was really straight. Not a dent in the underside. Not a speck of rust. I was convienced it had been garaged most of its life. There was a hint of cigar smoke. Maybe it had been sold at an estate sale. Strangest of all, almost everything worked. No error warnings on the computer. No dead pixels on either the dash or computer pixel displays. The all-leather power seats worked. Not a rip on the upholstery or dash. I started it up and balanced a nickel on the manifold cover. It stayed upright while the engine purred. Then I smelled gas and saw a big pool of premium spreading out from under the car. I shut it off quick. A tired hose to one of the twin fuel filters had ruptured. Scary. Easy to fix, though. There was a receipt for a full set of big Sumitomos in the glove box, but the wheels were fitted with big fat new Dunlops and there was a new Sumitomo spare in the trunk. The outside edge of the front passenger side tire had worn down to the steel mesh. Sure enough, the toe was cocked to the right. I eyeballed it back to true and took it out for a test run. Sure enough, it started shaking violently as I approached 50. Characteristic of 20-year old Beamers with worn suspensions. I had expected it. The lowrider guy had told me he had driven the car to San Francisco and back - about 800 miles. That would have done in the Sumitomos. Then he probably put on the Dunlops and drove it around town and finally took it to the BMW dealer. They would have offered to replace the front suspension for around $2800. Then he sold it to me. There's an outfit that advertises on eBay that sells full front/rear kits with the beefy aluminum lower arms for about $350, so I got one and installed it in the garage, along with air filters, fuel filters, synthetic 10-40 and filter. I was waiting on a delivery of Pentosyn for the power steering/hydraulic suspension when I had to leave for Chicago in the Smart Car to get the Shandong Pioneer, so the BMW got put on hold. http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showthread.php?t=24446&page=5 I've always wanted one of these 5-liter monsters. People tend to think they're gas hogs, and they are if you put your foot into them, but virtually no one who is not familiar with them realizes that they turn over at half the speed of a V8 or a V6 or any straight-line engine. It's all torque, baby. Smooth, smooth torque. You can cruise in the slow lane at 1200 rpm, or pass a truck on the two-lane at 1500 rpm without dropping out of overdrive (5th). It's got a set of cats. That's it. No smog control other than the cats and O2 sensors. No distributor, either. It uses a crank sensor. I took it to the Smog Check Station, expecting the worst from its 133,000 miles. But that odometer reading is deceptive. In terms of engine revolutions, it's only turned over half as much as a V8 would to garner that kind of mileage. And sure enough, the tech came back with an emissions score that shocked me. At 2500 rpm, the hydrocarbon emissions were 49 out of an allowable 140 ppm. When I returned from Chicago, I took it for a 100-mile romp on a hot day. A few days later, I went on a 400-mile overnight trip. On the return leg, I decided to try driving for mpg. It has a wonderful meter on the dash that I assume is a glorified vacuum gauge. At speeds above 20 mph, it indicates an mpg range between 0 and 50. Sure enough, I could peg 50 on the downhill sections. Overdrive engages at 60, then you can back down to the low 50s, keeping a feather touch to prevent it from dropping down into 4th. It's a heavy car so it really sucks gas going uphill. I seemed to do a little better building speed on dips and letting the momentum assist on the uphill sections. On the flats, I could maintain 24-26 mpg, but my list of errands brought it down to 22 mpg or so. Better than a lot of SUVs but... SUVs suck. I tend to compare it to the Smart Car, a sensible vehicle. Nine fewer pistons. A peppy engine smaller by 4004 cc and an amazing 3700 pounds lighter. That said, the ride of the BMW is nothing short of awesome. It doesn't seem to care how fast you go. It's limited at 155 mph, which is 35 mph faster than you can fall, and, I've been told, is capable of 185 mph without the limiter. Now, that's a car. Or is it? Perhaps it's more like an airplane with 16-inch wheels. It cost $70 to go 400 miles. The Smart Car would have taken me to Denver for that.