One of the things that’s always hard to see in photos are the slight (and not slight) imperfections in the body and paint. This was especially true of this black M5 in eBay photos, even when photographed very beautifully. The feedback I gave to the seller was that while I can appreciate the low aperture, narrow depth-of-field photos for their beauty, they can and did actually obscure the issues, even if that wasn’t their intention. The feedback was taken to heart.
I had avoided the prospect of painting this car, even though I knew that it would be the sure-fire way to make the body perfect. I felt it would be a slippery slope to euro bumpers, lights, etc., all of which I think would look great, but would probably not make financial sense as it would be unlikely I would get the money back out, especially for the windows-out paint job I would have wanted.
One step I took to mitigate my desire to turn this project into a money pit was to have the dents removed. I figured that would be on the critical path to painting anyway. I did some research and found “the” painless dent remover in the bay area. I took the car in for an examination and we agreed upon how much and how long it was going to take and how much I wanted to spend. I dropped the car off right before spring break, as we were going to be out of town for a while and he could take his time with the car.
When I returned, I found there were some panels that were a couple spots that were yet to be completed and one dent in particular was on the crease and took up a majority of his time. Originally, we agreed upon $1,000, but given that it wasn’t complete, he told me to pay what I thought it was worth. This put me in a tough spot, so I figured it was about 80% and gave him $800. We agreed to what he would do to complete it.
It does look a lot better and some panels are now perfect. That said, I always wanted this and every other car to be perfect, but after almost 30 years, sometimes that’s just not possible (same with “original”). This is one of the biggest things of which I had to let go, which also helped me avoid going down the paint rabbit hole.