I am 67 and retired, so we are similar in that respect. In my spare time, I like to work on the BMW and other cars. It is a hobby and I truly enjoy it. However, I would never attempt to bring back to working condition a collision damaged car. There are too many suspension hard points, body fit lines, critical bolt hole alignments, etc., that must be within fractions of millimeters specifications. Hitting a ground obstruction and tearing things up underneath is probably the worst case I can think of.
Back in the day, you could pull the body off, and send a damaged frame out to be straightened, or even replaced. Afterwards, the body panels fit would usually be pretty good, and if it didn't crab-walk down the street, you'd be fine. Trying to straighten a unibody is like trying to reverse the crash forces which I think is next to impossible.
You may get lucky and get most of the critical dimensions back to spec; however, usually getting one dimension is a compromise and you lose others. In my opinion, what could have been a fun project, soon heads south and turns into a frustrating and expensive mistake. Not trying to rain on your parade, but as far as I am concerned the phrase, "Spending good money after bad." is applicable for most collision damaged, salvage projects.
2001 325xit and 2012 328i Sportwagon
Last edited by gordo325xiwagon; 10-17-2012 at 05:39 AM.