In Reply to: Info on CSi's posted by Theodore on March 27, 2000 at 17:36:35:
Always check for rust, especially in the rocker panels. Have the seller remove the metal rocker panel covers that run along the lower edge of the body. They're usually held on with a few phillips head screws. Many times you'll see that rust has eaten holes up through the body. Taking off the front fenders can expose serious tin worm issues around the front of the car as well. And don't forget to check under the floormats and in the trunk area. Always examine the rear shock towers as some people will just Bondo the rust. A magnet or light tapping with a hammer will bear this out. Make sure that you remove the spare wheel, as a faulty trunk seal can let water through to pool up in this area. An owner might not realize this until years later, when his spare wheel well looks like Swiss cheese.
Remember to ask for receipts and examine these carefully. Proper rust repair involves removing old panels and welding on new ones, and these new parts should be accounted for in the receipts. If the car has a sunroof, try to determine if it is a factory sunroof, which has the necessary modifications to strengthen the roof structure. An unreinforced roof can lead to excessive flexing of the structure (remember, there are no B-pillars on this car), leading to hairline fractures of the paint at the corners of the sunroof opening.
In any event, it's always worth the extra expense to have a mechanic (ideally a BMW restoration specialist) check EVERYTHING out. He'll be able estimate how much rust there is and how competent the previous mechanic (or owner) was in converting a carburated car to fuel injection (there are a lot of hack jobs out there), unless this is a genuine CSi. Have the mechanic write up everything wrong with the car so you can use this as a bargaining tool. If the car is over $15K and the owner objects to any of this, take a pass on this car. At this level of investment, the owner should trust any professional examination of a car that is at least a quarter of a century old. If not, then he's probably hiding something, and you'll want to look elsewhere. Hope everything checks out for you. Good luck!