On online vehicle marketplaces based in Europe, you can see phrases like re-import from Japan, Japan market vehicle and Japan import being used with increasing frequency. So what is it about used vehicles from Japan, particularly those of European origin, that makes them so attractive? Why would anyone import a Mercedes or BMW or Porsche from Japan – how does this make financial sense? Continue reading “How and Why to Buy a Used Car from Japan”
Here is an overview, in chronological order, of all the cars I have ever owned.
BMW 316 E30 1984 – My first car ever
This was my very first car, which I bought just days after receiving my driver’s license in the mid-1990s. I paid slightly under €2000 for it, and had to rely on a loan from a friend to be able to afford it. The car was produced in 1984 and it was was somewhat too fancy a first car for an 18-year-old in those days. I obviously didn’t think so at the time, but came to realise it years later. As an aside, I feel I must add that I have historically often been criticised for owning too expensive/fancy/big/shiny/powerful/not-fuel-efficient etc cars. I don’t think this was the case with my very first car, but rather a possible characteristic of the other vehicles I have bought over the years. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn’t. I don’t let it bother myself too much.
Another quick thing I need to add concerns my understanding of the mechanical side of cars. I have been interested in cars since I was a small boy, but I’ve never much cared about knowing how to change a particular component. Were I to be the last survivor stranded on a lonely island with a fully-equipped car service and a simple car whose brake pads needed replacing, I could probably manage that by the end of the day. The very, very end of the day. If I started early.
But what I wanted to tell you about here is this: I bought the car at a mere 18 years of age. Combined with a fuel price the equivalent of roughly €0.2/L (or roughly €0.9/gallon) in today’s value, I drove around in it a lot. I easily covered over 100km+ on an average day – but I never had the car serviced. Simply because I wasn’t thinking about things like whether it might need an oil change or a quick fixup every once in a while. In those days, the BMWs had five green, one yellow and one red light on the dashboard, which served as an indicator of the mileage left until the next service. Yellow warned that the car should be serviced; red indicated that one was overdue. I bought the car when it was in the red. I also sold it still in the red.
I drove the BMW for 8-9 months before selling it to a friend who really wanted to buy it. It’s one of the two cars I have managed to sell at a similar or higher price to what I initially paid for it myself. I don’t think I really made a profit in this instance; it was more like breaking even.
As I said, I drove the BMW a lot – I don’t think a single day passed without my driving it, and as I kept it “hot” in the sense of constant use, it functioned well. The friend who bought it had a different personality; he was more of a hobby-driver. He also liked to consume spirits, probably more than an average person does or should, and so understandably had a more home-based lifestyle. Obviously, this meant the car was left sitting idly in the driveway, often for 4-5 days, sometimes even week(s) without use. Subsequently just about every single part which could break or malfunction, did. My not having ever serviced the car clearly didn’t help, and the BMW showed it. Perhaps unjustifiably, the new owner suffered the consequences – whilst I was able to spend most of my period of ownership driving around in it, in the next owner’s hands it spent most of its time either parked or in service.
I think the BMW was just keen to drive and she got upset when the new owner didn’t use her for the purpose she had been built more than a decade earlier in Bayern.
On a more serious note – it’s true that cars are made for driving. Leaving them to stand around for a long time isn’t good at all. I’m not so much talking about the experience of the next owner of my BMW, as there were clearly other factors and a few days or even a week or two cannot be considered long-term, but more generally. If You have to store Your hobby (or any other) car, find instructions on car enthusiast forums on how to prepare the car for long-term storage. For example, if you wish to keep the car alive and in good working order, it’s extremely important to fill the tank, set a high tire pressure, etc. There’s a long list of procedures to help you prep, all of which can easily be found via Google.