AUTOart’s 1/18 BMW M3 (E46) in a slightly darker-than-usual Laguna Seca Blue. Still a bomb.
This is a model I never thought would cross my hands because I wasn’t hunting for one in the first place. But when I saw this pop up on the ‘Bay in an auction-style listing, I added it to my watch list out of curiosity, as is customary for the eBay stalker in me. As the days and minutes wound down, it was still sitting at a very reasonable price, so I gave it a shot. Quite literally. I sniped (also a common occurence with me) with my max bid of ~$130 and won it for ~$120.
Worth it. But here’s where it gets interesting. You see, as a used, boxless model, it ended up getting damaged during shipping. The front license plate, one side window, and a taillight fell off. The left-side exhaust was bent out of shape. The rear lip spoiler is loose, and the steering is no longer connected to the wheel. You can’t tell because I essentially fixed all the cosmetic issues.
The important factor here: insurance. It’s something I never imagined would come into play. The seller fully insured this model. I filed a claim with the carrier (USPS) and they so far have offered to cover $50. He’s pressing the issue further and trying to get a full refund for me. So at the end of the day, we’re talking about a rare model+color combo for ~$80 including shipping. Possibly less, possibly free depending on how it goes.
What was once a deal turned into a steal. And that’s what makes hunting these gems so satisfyingly exciting. I thought I was done with the E46 after acquiring Otto’s CSL, a rather fine model in itself. Something about this one is just so much more awesome. Perhaps it’s the color, the second best shade of BMW blue behind, you know it, Silverstone. Perhaps it’s the stock E46 wheels, which I think look better than those on the CSL. Perhaps it’s because it’s diecast and has all the functional goodies that the resin model doesn’t have.
Oh, and the rarity doesn’t hurt either. Suddenly, I’ve become a grail chaser.