Germany has always meant a great deal to me for a variety of reasons. I admire the culture of the country, the passion in the pursuit of mechanical perfection, absolute efficiency and precision; these are just some of the stones that make up the foundation of what is the most stable country in all of Europe. Granted, my heart belongs to the Italians especially with cars, but there is a part of my soul that is tinted the colors that are all over this website.
Ryan has always been a BMW fan, that is not the case for me. I started out more as a Mercedes and Ferrari man, but that was how I was raised. My grandfather’s 1997 Mercedes-Benz E420 must have left the impression in my head of what a car of that class should be. However, ever since the M5 came into Ryan’s life and thus mine, things began to change. I became entranced by that intoxicating engine, the perfect handling, the high level of build quality and so on for a million pages. So, Mercedes faded out giving way to a more performance focused brand. On top of all the attributes that support the E39 M5, one of the most attractive in my eyes was the price. So, when the time came for me to find my first car, I started from the top.
I looked for months at the E39 specifically, all across the model line. The M5 was very expensive to maintain and my parents didn’t want my first car to have 394 horsepower; the 540i was a better choice, but the V8 is thirsty, and Colton had already had plenty of trouble with maintaining his; the 530i was a solid choice, but finding one with a manual is a chore, not impossible, but certainly difficult; the 528i would require a lot of cosmetic work to become post facelift and most are green automatics; the 525i would also be a solid choice, but again, not many were manuals. And so the hunt began. I looked at a 1997 540i, but it was deemed “too expensive”. The next car was a 540i M Tech at Dave Walter BMW which was less but, alas, “too expensive”. We then looked at an E46 M3 Convertible, another 540i M Tech, two 530is, an E46 330Ci, and finally, after pouring over Cars.com for countless hours and talking to many salespeople, one of my connections paid off.
I awoke one morning to find that one of the many people I had out on the hunt had found a possible match for me. All I knew about the car was that it was an ’01 525i with a 5-speed and that, to my pleasant surprise, it was blue. We quickly set up a meeting and that afternoon, Ryan and I went on a test drive. The car passed Ryan and my vigorous inspection and I knew that this was the right car for me. Not long after, the papers were signed, the temporary tags put on, and the car was mine, a dream had come true then and there.
Nearly two months have passed since that glorious day, and already the car feels more like the E39 that I had always envisioned. The car has had the headlight bulbs, halos, and fog lights updated with 6000K bulbs, wet-sanded and restored the headlights, the Silverlight bulbs have been installed in the rear turn signals, the center console handle trim has been replaced, the cup holders have been replaced, and the trunk BMW roundel and 525i badges have been replaced. Aside from those cosmetic changes, no mechanical components aside from the oil, the oil filter, and the engine air filter have been replaced. In the future, I plan to replace the thermostat, add the M front bumper, shadow-line trim, add M5 trim, have the front repainted, add M5 grills, replace the interior carpets, add style 66 M Sport wheels, and change the steering wheel to an M5 steering wheel. This car is not going to be an M5 by any means, but I prefer these tasteful upgrades over the standard car’s equipment.
At this point in my ownership, I have to say that the 525i has become an intricate part of my life, a close friend. It is fun to drive, economical, practical, high quality, friendly; it’s just the perfect first car for me. Yes, I am aware of the issues that could arrive at any given second with this car, however I am prepared to handle those and enjoy this car for everything that it has to offer. After all, the Germans designed this mechanical masterpiece to last for a very long time and under the proper car, my car, lovingly referred to as “Old Blue”, will be on the road for many years to come.