At $8,500, Could This Rebuilt-Title 04 BMW 330i Be A Good Deal?

Nice Price or No Dice 2004 BMW 330i ZHP

I was going to ask you if you wanted the good news or the bad news first on today’s Nice Price or No Dice Bimmer, but I already let the cat out of the bag up top about it rebuilt title. Let’s see if the rest of the car, and its price, can overcome that black mark.

Chaos reigned last Friday when the seller of our candidate 1984 Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon lowered the car’s price in the ad from $4,500 to $3,750 right in the middle of our contest† Damn you, motivated seller! Regardless, few of you were having it at either the original or new improved price, with a few of you averring in the comments that the Toyota was a $500 car, at best. That opinion flowed over to the votes where the Tercel toppled in a 73 percent no dice loss.

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As rough and tumble as last Friday’s Toyota may have been, it still managed to maintain a clean title, apparently existing unencumbered by major accidents, insurer buy-backs, or voodoo hexes. The same can’t be said for today’s 2004 BMW 330i† Instead, as is noted in the ad, this Bimmer has a rebuilt title, albeit one that is apparently not accident related. It also sports 150,000 miles on the clock, which is a distance that can wear on things like bushings, brake lines, and the like.

That’s all too bad since this 330i is really well equipped, sporting the ZHP performance and appearance package and a six-speed manual transmission. It’s also painted in arrest-me red and wears handsome 18-inch M Double-Spoke wheels. Inside, the cabin is festooned with leather on the sport seats and rear bench and that is accented by a band of carbon-fiber pattern trim that spans the dash and door tops and extends down to the shift surround.

Image for article titled At $8,500, Could This Rebuilt-Title 2004 BMW 330i ZHP Build Any Confidence?

Everything about the car looks to be in pretty remarkable condition although it’s possible that it no longer evidences that “new car smell” since apparently it requires fully three air freshener trees in the cabin to keep the funk at bay.

According to the ad, the car “Runs and drives smooth.” The ad also allays fears about the car’s cooling system, a vexing reliability issue on the six-cylinder E46 cars. Here, pretty much everything has been replaced, with a new radiator, water pump, and thermostat keeping the car’s cool intact.

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That’s all good because these are really cars you want to just get in and drive. The ZHP package imbues the 330i with near M3 levels of performance via a remapped ECU, the available six-speed row-yer-own, and a shorter final drive in the limited-slip rear end. With the ZHP option box checked, the 3 liter M54 straight-six bumps its output from 227 to 235 horsepower and pushes its redline 300 rpm higher than the standard 330i. That made it good for zero to sixty runs of about five and half seconds and handling that will still impress today.

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Aesthetically, the package added a deeper front valance, rocker panel extenders, and those exceedingly handsome M wheels. With all that rolled together, the 330i is a car that talks the talk and walks the walk.

But is that all for naught? This car, after all, has that rebuilt title. that’s owed to some unexplained former malfeasance that wasn’t apparently an accident. Perhaps it was a theft recovery? Maybe it was in a flood? Who knows? The thing of it is, a rebuilt title can seriously impact a car’s value. Heck, some insurers won’t offer comprehensive coverage on a rebuilt title car meaning that should you get in a serious accident, you could be on the hook for a big hit financially.

Image for article titled At $8,500, Could This Rebuilt-Title 2004 BMW 330i ZHP Build Any Confidence?

Still, that’s all a risk that some are willing to take — as long as that risk is reflected in a reasonably low price for the tainted title car. In the case of this otherwise wildly desirable 330i, that price is $8,500. Now, as a point of reference, there’s a lower-mileage and different color example of this same model up on Bring a Trailer that already has bids totaling more than double this car’s asking. Yes, that’s a bit of an apples and a slightly different type of apples comparison, but you get the point.

Let’s now get to the point of this discussion: is this 330i worth that $8,500 asking with its rebuilt title? Or, does that price just feel way too risky?

you decide!

Seattle, Washington, Craigslistor go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.

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