Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

That’s clean – 1993 BMW convertible

While it doesn’t fall into my usual “Neeb’s Wheel” category, I don’t think I can leave this rather nicely looked after blue BMW 318i Lux A convertible I spotted during a wander around the local streets.

BMW 318i Convertible 1993

BMW 318i Convertible 1993

This really caught my eye because it is almost identical to the one my then boss at the time bought for his wife (just to give her a company car and a wage to justify the hour or two she spent in the office).  Notably, hers was tricked up with ‘M’ badges and matching trim, but I think this one looks better with those Alpina wheels and wide rubber filling the arches.

Hers also had a second ‘keyhole’ below the normal one under the door handle – while the car may not have been a real ‘M’ it was still fitted with most of the top of the range options, and cost a packet at the time, as BMW extras were never cheap.

That keyhole was a factory alarm/immobiliser which required and electronic key to be inserted and removed before the car was unlocked – I wouldn’t say it was unreliable, but it was overly keen, and I found myself having to fiddle with, and kill it on more than one occasion.

The other surprise, given the cost of the car, was the poor quality of that soft-top. It had no lining, so sitting in the car with it up felt more like sitting in a giant pram, with all the spokes etc exposed. Nor did it offer any insulation, and the car was as noisy with it up as with it down. But it was seldom down, and was a clunky manual thing.

By way of stunning contrast, I had a Saab 9-3 convertible a few years later – what a gem it was in comparison.

First, it was a completely automatic hydraulically operated roof, other than the manual front lock, it went up and down in a few seconds at the push (or pull) of a button.

And secondly, the quality was superb. From the inside, with the roof up, it looked just a normal hardtop, as there was a clever lining that pulled into place and hid all the works. In addition, it was also loaded with soundproofing, and this made it as quiet as a hardtop – and that Saab was an eerily quiet car too.

On the other hand, I recall meeting a 318is on the road in North Wales, and that extra little ‘s’ made a real difference, and I watched it squirt past me in short order, then disappear along the road.

I stand to be corrected, but from my own experience I think the engine BMW was using in x18 models of that era was a surprisingly potent lump. I had to use a colleague’s 518se for some cross-country jaunts along A and B roads, and soon became surprised by that large (and loaded) car’s acceleration. I had expected it to be a big lumbering snail – but it wasn’t.

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June 2, 2017 - Posted by | photography, Transport | ,

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