What is it that compels us to make impulse purchases on eBay? Sat in front of the computer I knew I was being sucked into something a little reckless. Actually, make that very reckless: A sight-unseen purchase of a car sold by someone I’d never even spoken to. To make matters worse, I’d been sucked into a last minute bidding war and spent getting on for twice my intended budget. Somehow I was now the owner of an E46 BMW 330 CI.
Stories like this usually begin late at night after a couple of large glasses of wine. But I have no such excuses. Stone cold sober and at a perfectly reasonable hour of the evening, I had broken almost every rule about buying a second-hand car.
In fairness, I had HPI checked it before taking the plunge and searched the MOT history for any hidden nasties. The advert was also a credit to the car’s owner, detailing work that included new VANOS seals, polybushes for the front suspension and a full set of (mostly main dealer) service stamps. Throw in a stack of paperwork several inches thick and it all looked rather promising.
Sadly, I’d only noticed the car a few hours before the auction ended, so there was no time to arrange a viewing. Instead, I popped a couple of brave pills and set a reminder on my phone to get bidding at 6pm.
And now here it is. The car in question is a low-mileage manual 330 CI Sport; arguably the most sought-after of all the non-M E46s. It may be a long way off the motorsport-bred pedigree of an M3, but it’s as close as you’ll get without doubling or trebling the budget once more.
Touch wood, my gamble appears to have paid off – it polishes up beautifully, drives nicely and delivers a discretely potent six-cylinder howl. Nonetheless, I’ve vowed to stay away from auction sites for a while.