Thanks for such a warm welcome, I felt about as welcome as a turd in a swimming pool on another site, so thought I'd share the tale of my little "is" saloon.
I wanted something BMW after dabbling with a mapped Leon, a Sierra GLS (I'm a closet Ford nut) and other weird and wonderful things. I've been lucky enough to go to the 'Ring in a track day spec E30 that me and a friend built, and also owned a nice E34 525i. My brother let me peddle his E36 4 door round Snetterton a few times,and I've always like the way they go down the road when when fettled, and are nice and easy to work on, handy when circumstances mean you've got next to bugger all to buy a cheap, reliable, interesting car. (Not that I want much for no money! )
I fancied a 318is, as they are well balanced, cheap to run and own, but prefered the idea of getting a four door. I know they are as rare as rare things, but managed to find a slightly dubious (to my eyes anyway) looking model on Gumtree.
Priced cheaply at around £700, and with a decent sounding history and condition, I made the hour and a half trip to look it over. Naturally, it started peeing down as soon as I arrived. I noted the arches were sound and the panel gaps were good. I also found the following not mentioned in the advert
1. Front passenger window off its regulator
2. Rear off side window same.
3. Interior mirror in the boot
4. Front eBay Halo were covered in glue
5. Front side lights were purple
6 ABS warning light on
7 Induction kit not secured or mounted
8 FNS wheel only had four nuts.
Not the best of starts, but it ran as sweet as a nut and aside from suspension knocks and vague steering, I knew I wanted it. I knocked the seller down to well under £700, and drove it all the way home felling quite smug.
I set about de-modding it, hoping to right the faults as cheaply as possible, in the belief I could get it fairly sorted for about a grand-twelve hundred all in. (Fat chance!)
Having got it home, in the dry I found some rot in the bottom of the front wings, and some snot under the spoiler on the boot. :(
First to go were the black wheels, refreshed in bright silver and the tangos back on.
I tried my best to salvage the headlamps, but they were beyond help
So the easy stuff was done in a few days, I then realised the handbrake was next to useless, and the wayward handling would need doing so ordered so bits and with the help of a fellow E36 fan, started a thorough look at the oily bits......