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Thread: Tips on how to find and buy your ZHP.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Lincoln, NE
    Posts
    246

    Tips on how to find and buy your ZHP.

    2003 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2004 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2005 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2006 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    OK, here are some tips on how to find your perfect ZHP. This is written to help with long distance purchase but can be easily adapted to a local one.

    1. Do your research. Read up on the ZHP package and other available options. Start here: http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showthread.php?1789-Frequently-Asked-Questions-%28FAQ%29-About-the-BMW-E46-330-ZHP-Performance-Package-Option

    This will help you figure out what you want vs. what you need. Example, if you want a sedan with heated seats and fold down rear seats you must find a car with the cold weather package. Heated seats alone will not get you what you're after. Learn how to identify a ZHP visually. From my experience wheels are not a good clue. They are too easy to be swapped.

    2. Get familiar with a good BMW vin decoder. Learn how to identify a ZHP by the build code. I like http://www.bmwarchive.org/vin/bmw-vin-decoder.html. It allows you to save the report as a PDF.

    3. Determine your budget. ZHP prices are all over the place. A car is worth whatever the seller and buyer agree it is worth. If you want to looking for benchmarks, use kbb.com, edmunds.com nada.com and truecar.com. I found Trucar to have the most realistic pricing for ZHPs. List prices really mean very little. My experience in buying unique BMWs has been that sometimes it is possible to negotiate thousands of the asking price of a car. It doesn't happen all the time but it is possible, especially when both parties are genuinely interested in closing a deal. That said, be realistic and don't waste a seller's time by low-balling him on a price. Insulting the seller will not get you the car. Don't forget to factor in costs to title, transport and/or retrieve the car in your over all budget. So once you figure out what you are willing to pay for the car add $500 - $1000 to that number and then look for all cars that are at or below that number.

    4. Get your funding lined up BEFORE you start your search. If you are going to finance the car, talk to your bank/lender. You don't need to get your loan at this point but if you have everything in place, funding can happen much faster later. This should eliminate any surprises at the bank unless your financial situation changes before you find your car. If you need to sell a car, do that first or get a bridge loan lined up. Basically you need funding in place to close the deal once you have found your car.

    5. Now you are ready to start looking. Use technology to your advantage. That is the key. I suggest creating searches on the following sites: zhpmafia.com, bmwusa.com, Autotrader.com, Cars.com, ebay.com, CarMax, cargurus.com, carsdirect.com, autotempest.com and set up instant notification (email & text if possible). On some of these sites you should search for every 330 built in the relevant years. This varies based upon sedan, coupe or convertible. If you've done your homework, you will be able to quickly evaluate a car based upon pictures and exclude the ones that are not ZHPs. Then use the VIN decoder to check the others or verify what you think is a ZHP truly is. If you can't determine if the car is a ZHP or not, but the price, mileage and condition are appealing, then contact the owner immediately and ask for the VIN. Don't ask them if they have a ZHP. Get the VIN and figure it out for yourself. If the seller won' t provide the VIN, move on. While there are some paranoid sellers that think giving out the VIN will somehow allow you to make a voodoo doll of them, generally it is people that are trying to hide something. It really isn't worth your time to convince them otherwise. Focus your efforts on finding the right car and the right seller.

    6. Once you have identified a ZHP that fits your search criteria contact the seller. Use the seller's preferred contact method if it is listed. If they list a phone number, call, don't text unless directed to do so. This shows you are serious. Don't come across as a virtual tire kicker.

    7. Discuss the condition of the car; ask about length of ownership, their reasons for selling. Specifically asks about accidents, paint work and maintenance. Ask them what maintenance records they have? Not if they have them. These cars are old enough that age is as much of an issue as mileage. In my opinion a low mileage car without verifiable maintenance is not worth a premium. I'm perfectly fine with a car that has been owner maintained if I can verify that. And if I’m comfortable the owner is a competent wrench. Ask if the seller has the title in hand. Ask is the car was a lemon or every had a salvage title. Talk to the owner about his other cars. Find out if he is an enthusiast.

    If a BMW dealer is selling the car, ask them for the build sheet, in service date and maintenance records. Ask if the seller will take the car to a shop to have a PPI done. Let them know you will pay the cost of the PPI. Don't rush this stage of your search. It may take several conversations. But, if you are interested let the seller know. Also let him know where you are in your process and what your next steps will be. Using this approach you can simultaneously pursue multiple cars. But be sure to follow through with what you've said you will do. If you say you will call back later today. Do it. Even if you didn't have chance to look at option 2 or make contact with seller 2. Your objective at this stage is to demonstrate you are a serious buyer. But don't be overly anxious. Remember, serious not excited. If you come across as too excited you will pay more.

    7a. If you have a local contact that can look at the car, have that done now.

    8. Once you are comfortable with the car and the seller, it’s time make an offer contingent upon a clean Pre Purchase Inspection. So let's assume the car is presented as 100% up to date maintenance, no mechanical issues and in perfect cosmetic condition. Let's assume you offer $15000 contingent a clean PPI. If the PPI comes back as needing something, say control arm bushings quoted at $350, then take $350 off, so offer becomes $14650. Discuss this with the seller before you spend the money on the PPI. If they aren't agreeable, you need to decide whether it is worth spending the money on the PPI or moving on to the next car. The PPI should be at a shop of your choice not the seller’s.

    9. If the seller and I have agreed to a price contingent on the PPI, I discuss making a deposit ($500 - $1000). I recommend sending the deposit after the PPI. Not before. If the car doesn't check out you may never get your money back. Discussing it at this stage shows that you are serious. You may even want to discuss the deposit before or at the same time that you make your offer. If a dealer is selling the car, I have no issues sending the deposit before the PPI. Just write up the sales contract, which states you agree to purchase the car for X pending a clean PPI and are offering a good faith fully refundable deposit. Be sure to write the sales contract with dealers. Otherwise there is the risk another salesperson at the dealership may sell the car. BTDT.

    10. Before paying for and having the PPI done, run a Carfax or AutoCheck. If there are issues stop the process and move on.

    11. Call the shop and schedule the PPI. Be sure to discuss your expectations. If you are particular about some aspect of the car let them know and ask them to specifically evaluate it and give you a report. Depending on the car you may also want to have a leakdown and compression test done in addition to their standard PPI. My experience is that a thorough PPI is generally 2 hours of shop time. Add another 1 - 1.5 hours for the additional tests. So budget $150 - $400 for the inspection based upon if you want the extra tests. I am very explicit about cosmetic items that would result in the car being rejected. I ask them to check that first. That way if they know your shop stoppers they'll check those before spending time on the other stuff. If the car fails the show stopper tests you probably won't have spent a lot on the PPI. Reputable and experienced BMW shops want you to be satisfied. If they pull a car in and determine it's a POS in the first 10-15 min, most will only charge you a fraction of their standard PPI fee.

    12. OK, if the PPI is clean, complete the deal. If not decide whether you want to renegotiate price, have the seller fix the issues or move on to the next car. If you have done all the previous steps it is highly unlike you'll find the car is so bad that you need to move on.

    13. I like to personally retrieve the car. This gives me one more chance to evaluate the car before paying for it. I've done at least 7 long distance purchases. Only the 2nd one didn't meet all my expectations. And that was because I wasn't clear about my cosmetic expectations with the shop that did the PPI. I still bought the car for the agreed price. The interior just wasn’t what as I expected. Every other long distance purchase has met or exceeded my expectations.

    So there you have it. Happy hunting.

    t.
    Last edited by tkundhi; 02-22-2014 at 08:26 AM.

  2. #2
    Mods, pin this one.

    +1

    (and ... enjoy the new ZHP tkundhi, I was this close to pulling the trigger on that one myself. She's a beauty!)

  3. #3
    [5] I would add cargurus.com, carsdirect.com ... and autotempest.com which will allow you to search every Craigslist site across the country by keywords (like "BMW ZHP").

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lincoln,NE
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    1,757
    Great write up!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    2005 BMW 330i ZHP A08
    Dinan Stage 1
    ~ Garry Murphy

  5. #5
    Maybe add a section about having the car shipped, for folks too far to drive it back? I know there are some family members who have gotten their ZHPs that way ...

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Location
    VA/DC
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    Tips on how to find and buy your ZHP.

    Sticky? - Ah, I see it is.
    (Great idea and write up)

    Thumbs, iPhone, Tapatalk.
    Last edited by ELCID86; 02-22-2014 at 06:22 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    VA/DC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dearg-due View Post
    [5] I would add cargurus.com, carsdirect.com ... and autotempest.com which will allow you to search every Craigslist site across the country by keywords (like "BMW ZHP").
    I wasn't aware of autotempest -thanks. Just be warmed that some ppl won't put ZHP in the description so you may want to broaden the search and look for the identifying features like mtech2 front bumper and style 135 wheels, etc. I have also had pretty good luck searching for "bmw zhp" with the cPRO Craigslist smartphone app.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Lincoln,NE
    Posts
    1,757
    I found mine using the BMW preowned search on their website. Useful tool too. http://www.bmwusa.com/standard/conte...ry_search.aspx


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    2005 BMW 330i ZHP A08
    Dinan Stage 1
    ~ Garry Murphy

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Racine,WI
    Posts
    389
    What about financing? Where you live or where the cars being sold?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Long Beach, CA
    Posts
    1,636
    Great write up. Though I notice you say if you want a sedan with fold down rear seats you need to find one with the cold weather package. I have a sedan with fold down rear seats and I don't see cold weather package on my VIN decoder (KM08662).


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    2005 BMW 330i ZHP 6MT. Built 11-19-04. Bought 4-2012.
    Stock: Nav, leather, PDC, Xenon
    Added by me: OEM Alarm, OEM heated seats, OEM aux kit, OEM Bluetooth, intravee, M3 strut brace, BMW Performance Intake, Nappa leather arm rest, updated LCM (triple blink, euro hazards, trifecta lighting, 3 stage brakes), temp gauge

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