Well, we tried to survive in Thailand with only our Honda Click motorbike (scooter), but necessity dictated that we either rent or buy a car for daily use. We rented an old red corolla (circa 1995) for a month, 5 spd, manual everything, including steering.
After renting for one month, we made the decision to buy a car of our own. To me, it was more stressful in a way to drive a rental (owned by an individual, not a company) than to drive a car I own.
After searching a bit through online classifieds, I stumbled upon an ad for an older BMW, under our budget, and seemingly well kept. It’s a 1986 BMW 316, 5 speed manual with 1.8L carb engine. Of course the age of the car concerned me, as it was nearly 10 years older than the rental. Another factor is that I’ve always owned Hondas, so getting a bimmer would be outside of my comfort zone. After talking to the owner, a British ex-pat, who is an engineer and seemed to know his way around Beemers, and then driving the car, I felt it was a good enough gamble to take on a well-kept older car, than to pay double for a mid 90s economy car (resale values for older Hondas and Toyotas were quite high).
Through the owner, I now have access to a shop that specializes in Euro cars, places to get parts, and even a place to get recycled tires if needed. Given that the purchase price was so low, I was okay with the possibility of paying a little more for parts & service.
Anyway, here is my first set of pictures, taken with my Nokia N8, of course, and edited on Picasa (yes, I know I went crazy with the editing tools..). I will, given the time, post updates on how the Bimmer is doing.