NEW PROJECT – Auction BMW i3

Hey Guys and welcome back to my new problem aka an auction bought BMW I3 with a broken side window, gross interior, no key and many other issues! In this video I will go over the reasons why I bought it, the very difficult process of getting a car delivered that doesn’t run and I will show you what it looks like before I start working on it.

Car History:

Before we get into why I wanted a BMW I3, let’s talk about a little bit of history and what makes it special. Anyway, the BMW I3 is very unique in the BMW world and even other brand line ups as it was specifically designed to be an electric city vehicle. The designers and engineers had lots of freedom on what they could do with it and that’s why it has such unique looks, specs and options. The i3 is a rear-wheel drive BMW hatchback that’s made out of carbon fiber which is incredibly light and yet also incredibly stiff. This car weighs only a little over 3000 pounds including the Range Extender which is 500 pounds lighter than the Nissan Leaf. It has a small foot print, but also a lot of interior space that you would just not expect from a small car like this. For what it is, it’s a surprisingly nimble, agile and fun to drive at low speeds. It doesn’t confine to a set of predefined rules on the inside either as you can see exposed carbon fiber reinforced plastics, lots of  sustainable materials and revolutionary design that many modern cars are now copying into their own models. Don’t get me wrong, there are many negatives about this car and I will make a video to talk about those in the future, but for now.. let’s talk about why I bought this BMW I3.

Why I bought it:

Of course, this isn’t the fastest or longest-range EV you can buy, but there is something about it that I always found very interesting. Not only is it very unique and quirky, but it also breaks the BMW standards that I’m so used to and I wanted to see how it feels to experience that. I’ve always liked small, fun cars and that’s why I’ve had the Mini Cooper S, the Fiat Abarth and current daily a BMW Z4. This BMW I3 perfectly fits my curiosity and now that the depreciation has done its job, I can comfortably get a project like this. Even if you were to buy one that’s in perfect condition, you can easily get it for under $20k. Of course, that isn’t cheap, but considering these sold for about $50k when new, you are getting a bargain. I got this car at auction, without a key and not knowing if it will run or even start, so I got it for less than half of what you would expect to pay for it  retail. So, in my case, it’s a $50k car that I got for cheap. Yes, I said cheap and I know people will complain that I call this car cheap, just like I had complaints on my Mini Cooper S video, but IT IS a cheap car that offers pretty cool features for the price. Of course, it was expensive when new and maintenance on these cars will be that of an expensive vehicle, but if you are willing to accept an example like I got here and do some work yourself, it is very affordable.

Another reason I wanted to get the I3 is because they are no longer selling these new! BMW has switched their concentration to the new generation of electric vehicles with the funny grills and larger SUV sizes. To each its own, but I prefer the quirky looking BMW i3 to the ‘look-at-me and my face’ BMW iX and i4. The i3 is also unique in that it has a gas generator on the rear axle and I don’t think we will see many new cars sporting this option. I find it fascinating in how it works and possibility of adding range. We’ll talk more about how cool that is in the future.

My next reason for getting this BMW I3 is that it gives me an opportunity to learn something I have no experience with. It allows me to try and experience something I haven’t had a chance to play with before. I’m also excited to see what kind of modding or ‘hacking’ possibilities an electric vehicle opens up for me and what I can learn in the process. From minimal research, I know I can increase it’s range by just coding in a larger capacity fuel tank. What else can do with simple coding? Can I increase acceleration or power output or something else like? We will find out together in future videos! That’s what makes it an interesting project for me, it’s an opportunity to learn and educate myself on something I’m not familiar with and just have fun with it!

Buying Car without a key:

Before I finish up this video, I wanted to share my experience of buying an auction car without a key and why you should avoid it if possible! I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal as I’ve purchased a car without a key before. You go to the dealer, show proof of ownership and a couple days later they hand you a key. That’s exactly what I did this time as well. However, due to chip shortage, the key was on backorder without a set date and now I had to receive the car without the key. The problem is that on this BMW I3 it is impossible to put it in neutral if you do not have a key. This may not be a problem on older cars or even many other modern cars where you can force it into neutral in some way, but on this car, you must have a key. This meant when the 18-wheeler showed up, I had to figure out how to pull it off the truck. I had to attach the i3 to my BMW Z4, chock the wheels and have the truck driver slowly drive forward dragging the car off. After that ordeal, I still had to use my rear-wheel-drive convertible to pull the car onto the driveway with the rear wheels completely locked up on the I3. So, unless you are willing to deal with this kind of delivery and hassle, avoid getting a car without a key!

Current State:

Before I finish this video, I wanted to just show you around the car and see what kind of state it came in. It was hard to tell from auction pictures what the interior looked like, but I was not expecting THIS. I was shocked when I first opened the door, to be perfectly honest.


I plan on fully recommissioning this BMW i3, so subscribe to see my next video where I will show everything that’s wrong with this car,  my plan on how I will fix all the issues and how I will get it back on the road. Of course, after everything is fixed and the car is drivable and isn’t gross, I will do all of the maintenance items on it and then start modifying it to my liking. I already have a new bigger display, CarPlay  and lots of filters and oils on the way, I’m looking for better wheels and I will most likely wrap the exterior of the car in a fun color or maybe even some graphics. I’d love to hear your suggestions as I build my plan for this car and we turn it into a fun grocery getter or even more! Thank you so much for watching and I’ll see you in the next one.