Junior buys a fixer-upper and restores it to glory

By Brock Herberghs, Staff Writer — Most teenagers when thinking about their first car, would think about something that runs. That was not the case for junior Elliot Rose. When Elliot bought his 1992 BMW 325 IS it did not run, needed thousands of dollars of work, and had a rat living in the engine.

While most people saw a piece of junk headed for the dump, Elliot saw a diamond in the rough.

“Some people had their doubts when I bought the car,” Rose said. “I knew when I was buying it, it could be fixed.”

Elliot bought the car from a private seller for $300 and managed to talk the owner down from a starting price of $500. The previous owner had not touched the car for two years. There were numerous problems, with the main problem being that it did not run. A little critter had also made its new home in the car’s engine: a rat. The rat had destroyed the majority of the cars wiring, forcing Elliot to rewire most of the cars electrical system. Happily the rat had found its way out before Elliot got under the hood. The car needed all new tires, a new battery, new head gaskets, a new radiator, and a new fuel pump. It was also leaking oil, and had rust spots all over it. Despite all the problems, Rose was still drawn to the car.

“I have always been drawn to BMW’s,” Rose said. “They’re reliable and you can do a lot to them.”

Rose focused on all of the mechanical problems first then he went to cosmetics. It took Elliot a long six months to restore the car and get it on the road again.

But his love for tinkering with cars did not just come over night.

“Elliot has always been tinkering with things,” mother Melissa Rose said. “When he was younger he took his nerf guns, tore them apart, and put new, more powerful springs in them. He would also put custom paint jobs on them to make them look cool.”

One of the contributors for his love of tinkering would be his father, David Rose. When David was just 15 he started flipping cars. He would buy a car for cheap, fix it up, and sell it for a profit.

Inspired by his dad’s ability to flip cars, Elliot began selling at the age of three according to his mother. He cleaned up rocks and seashells and sold them to neighborhood kids. He would often set up meetings to sell the items. However as Elliot grew older he turned towards his dad’s love of tinkering with cars.

“I have always been around cars,” Elliot said. “Most of what I have learned has come from my dad and online videos.”

When Elliot turned 16 he flipped his first car. It was a newer BMW that he bought for $1,000. He then sold it for $3,000 making a profit of $2,000.

On top of the work the car needed, Rose put his own little touches on the car. He put in a new tune, which made the car faster and more responsive, a cold air intake, racing exhaust, racing seats and harnesses, weight reduction, new suspension, sway bars, control arms, new rims and a headliner.

Elliot has a couple of ways he comes up with the money for all of his tinkering. He is a soccer referee, while also fixing and modifying cars on the side. All of his parts for the car came from online sources, since BMW parts are not easy to find. Many of the extras he put on his car were for performance and looks.

Elliot also spends some time at the race track. He likes to test out the modifications he has made to his car. While he is permitted to take the car at a high rate of speed on the track, he currently is not allowed to race the car until he turns 18. His goal is one day to buy another car and fix it up for driving and have the BMW be just a racing vehicle. However, he will have to convince his mom first.

For most fixing up a car would seem like a huge project, costing a lot of money, and taking a lot of time. But for the Rose family it is just a normal thing. Tinkering is in their blood.

[Updated Aug. 18, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]