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Life is a Series of Cars

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    Life is a Series of Cars

    :arrow: WARNING: This is not a build thread, but I promise there will be some E30 content. I hope you'll still find it entertaining and informative.

    Someone asked me recently how I ended up owning my E30 touring, knowing that I never used to care about cars at all. Once I started trying to explain, I realized it was a really long story that I thought I'd share. If you have a lot of time to kill, keep reading. ;D

    First, I’ll rewind all the way back to when I met my other half when I was in high school. A mutual friend wanted to set us up for prom since I couldn't find a date. Here’s all of the information she could tell me about him:

    Her: He has a nice car.
    Me: What kind of car?
    Her: A blue one.
    Me: Oh. Okay.

    At this point, I had pretty much no knowledge or interest in cars whatsoever. I talked to him on the phone and we set up a date. He said he was waxing his car at the moment, but he would be free later that afternoon. I thought, "Wow, this guy is really obsessed with his car..."


    We ended up going to prom together in his "blue car." :)


    I learned that his blue car was in fact a mauritius blue 1993 BMW 325iS, which I forgot about 2 seconds later.

    I should mention that I come from a family where the following is true:
    - "washing the car" consists of not garaging your vehicle and waiting for rain
    - a formerly brand-new sports car was rusting out and waiting to die in our yard
    - a tape got stuck in the cassette player in the family van that was played for years until the van was sold instead of being fixed… psychological damage was done.

    Overall, nothing in my experience had led me to enjoy cars or driving. Well, I guess taking driving lessons had been kind of fun. I still hear the instructor’s voice ringing in my head when I drive too fast:

    Him: Whoa, mon! You’re driving like a race car driva, mon!!
    Me: [ …Why is this white guy talking with a Jamaican accent? ]

    Once I had my licence, I convinced my parents to let me borrow their Dodge Caravan from time to time to get to school and work. One time when my parents were out of town, I went to drive home from my new bf's house in the middle of the night and the van was gone! The police later recovered the van, which had been stolen from the driveway, used to commit a robbery, and dumped. My parents were more upset with the bigger crime that had been committed that night -- me staying out past my curfew while borrowing their van.


    Someone else's Dodge Caravan, which I found out was one of the top 10 easiest to steal cars. This one looks like it just rolled off the assembly line compared to theirs, though.

    It was time to get my own vehicle.

    My parents recommended buying a used car from a family friend who worked for a GM dealership. The options were a GMC Jimmy that was older than time and had more mileage than I thought was even possible, or a 1994 Pontiac Sunfire. I have no idea why those were the only choices. :???: The Sunfire was less scary than the ultra-weathered Jimmy, so I went with that. Since my bf and I had just started dating and he didn’t feel it was his place to go against my family’s advice, he bit his tongue HARD and waited for me to find out what a colossally bad decision I’d made. My blue car was definitely not as sexy as his:


    Also not my picture... I don't even remember if mine was a 4 door or a coupe, which shows how little I cared about cars at the time.

    The panels on the car were so loose I'm surprised it didn't just fall into pieces while driving (don't get me wrong though, pieces of it did fall off on a regular basis while driving). I would say that it at least got me from point A to point B, but it broke down on me so often that I can't even say that. When we later ran the VIN, it turned out to have serious mileage fraud (thank you, “family friend”...). Driving the Sunfire was depressing and scary. At best, it was a piece of shit that was a completely joyless, soul-crushing experience to drive. It left me stranded more often than I care to remember, and flat broke at all times from the monthly repair bills. Did I mention I hated the Sunfire? :evil:

    One night, the Sunfire got broken into while parked in our driveway. The thief had broken in by popping out the driver's side lock cylinder with a screwdriver, then smashed the lights inside the car before stealing my aftermarket stereo, the only redeeming quality the car formerly had. They even left the screwdriver behind. Nice. I didn't have the money to fix it, so I drove it around with a hole where the stereo used to be and the lock cylinder dangling on the outside like a severed eyeball.

    My bf had managed to negotiate a $1000 trade-in deal for the Sunfire despite its massive flaws and rapidly deteriorating body that was quickly becoming more Bondo and rust than metal. I was going to trade it in when I went to pick up my next vehicle from a used car dealer later that week. But first, the Sunfire let me down one stunning, final time. It died while I was paying for my parking ticket at the main lot of my university (with a lineup of pissed off students behind me who could not get into the lot), and as far as I know, never started again. The lady in the ticket booth was not happy:

    Her: You have to move your car!
    Me: I can't!!
    Her: Call someone to move it… NOW!
    Me: I don't own a cell phone... :puppy: *wandered off to look for one of the few remaining pay phones in existence while people yelled at me* [ Note to self: I'm failing at life :( ]

    To add insult to injury, we had to call the used car dealer to tell him the news:

    Us: Umm, remember that car you just agreed to buy from us? Change of plans. You’re going to have to pick it up… with a tow truck.
    Him: ... (long pause) .... You know you're not getting $1000 for it now, right?

    We ended up getting $500 for the Sunfire, and it was towed to the shadier dealer next door to them called Rough Riders. Most of their used vehicles relied on duct tape for structural integrity, so the Sunfire fit right in.

    It turns out that I didn't do too badly with that deal. When I was looking for a picture, I found that you can easily pick up a Sunfire in the $300- 400 range today that run! And I found this disturbing commercial:


    :shock: Wow.... WTF?

    My bf helped me get my next car with the following requirement: it had to be a standard. His reasoning was that a car with a manual transmission would be more reliable, less expensive to maintain, and more fun. I was game, but a bit scared, especially since he planned to teach me on his 325iS (he must have really liked me by that point!). That was not an easy car to learn to drive standard on - the clutch was extremely heavy, and I felt like I would accelerate out of control into a nearby house or something until I got the hang of driving it.

    My next car was a 2002 Hyundai Elantra. I'd done my research this time - my bf steered me in the right direction, recommended a used car buying guide to read, showed me how to search for cars, went on test drives with me, and showed me how to do a VIN check. I still didn't really know what my preference in cars was, but I was determined not to end up with another lemon, and the Elantra did not disappoint. No crazy stories, just reliable transportation day after day. It was reliable and functioned like a well-made appliance. The most exciting thing about the car was that it was manual, which I was starting to like more than driving an automatic.


    The only picture I have of the Elantra – well, you can kind of see it in the background. So much for keeping you guessing about my next car, though.

    When it was time to start looking for a new car, my bf tried to get me to consider looking at German cars since he’d be able to do some of the work himself. The idea of owning a BMW was still ridiculous to me. I couldn't see myself owning (or being able to afford) some rich dude's used luxury car, and the kind of BMWs my bf liked that were rare and could double as race cars would never work as a daily driver.

    I ended up getting a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta. The interior was so nice that I seriously could not believe it was my car. While the Elantra had been a reliable daily, the Jetta was a huge step up. I even joined my first car forum! ;) The Volkswagen scene was not my thing, but I found a nice pair of wheels that was a big upgrade from the set of steel wheel covers it came with. I'd never cared about my previous cars enough to try to improve their appearance.


    The Jetta hanging out with its new friends. Don’t ask about the Ford Probe – I guess I wasn’t the only one making questionable car decisions. :giggle:

    I was on my way home in the Jetta one night after we had just moved into our first house together, when a huge chunk of concrete fell off right in front of my car as I drove past a bridge on the highway (the overpass was deteriorating and scheduled to be repaired). My car got nailed by the falling debris, which ‘poped’ ;) one of my tires and bent the wheel, but I managed to get the car safely over to the shoulder. It was late at night in the dead of winter, but my bf came to my rescue to change the dead tire so I could limp the car home. My relief when we got there did not last long: we were locked out of the house! Somehow neither of us had the key. I was too tired to mess around, so I picked the lock to break in to our own house. Problem solved. :devil:

    A couple of my bf's cars around that time started to change my opinion of driving a BMW. Out of all of the cars he'd owned over the years, my favourites had both been E30s. I could start to appreciate the appeal of driving a classic car. The first was a white 1991 318iS, which we took on a road trip around the east coast of Canada and the US before he sold it.


    The 318iS in Maine. So it's not just Canadians who feel the need to park *right next* to your nice car when there are plenty of other parking spaces available.

    The second was a red 1991 318iS, which was in damn near mint condition, especially after he put a lot of time into restoring it. That was, until a buddy of his backed into it in the driveway of our office and it was considered totalled. He fought the insurance company to get a fair settlement and won (read about that here), but it was still sad to lose that car.


    We both still miss that car. :(

    I'd put a ton of mileage on the Jetta and had become somewhat attached to it when I was faced with a serious decision. My other half had just found a 1988 320i touring that was in great condition, and explained that it was way too rare and special to flip – we’d never find another one like it if he did. He’d have loved to have kept it himself, but he already had too many cars. I eventually decided to sell the Jetta so that we could keep it.

    It took a while for the touring to feel like “my” car. Part of it was the awareness that I was driving a very special car. I wasn’t used to getting the kind of attention that came with it. What do you say to someone who professes their love for your car when you’re out getting groceries? I was afraid that I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to answer any questions someone might have about it. My biggest fear was, “What if someone asks me about the engine?!” Who knew I'd be talking to people about my car on purpose for fun before too long? ;)


    The touring at my first car show. ;D

    I started to appreciate the touring more and more as I kept driving it. I realized that I didn’t have to know everything about the car to fully enjoy it and take ownership of it. The biggest shift happened when I started to work on the car myself (with plenty of help and support from my man). Before that, I don’t think I’d ever picked up a wrench, but it was easier than I thought to start learning. You can read the whole story about the touring in my project thread here.


    Working on the touring myself helped me gain a new appreciation for how well engineered it was (with a few notable exceptions like those ****ing shear bolts… I’m still pissed off about those).

    And now the touring is for sale. I’m going to miss it, but it makes me happy to know that it will find a great new home soon. :up:



    I can’t wait to let you guys in on my next project! Now that I’ve fallen in love with E30s, there’s no turning back. :mrgreen:
    1994 E30 316i Design Edition Touring / 1991 E30 318is / 1992 E34 M5
    Instagram: @ro4d_runn3r

    #2
    Nice story and bravo for working on your own car! Maybe I missed it but why are you selling the touring?

    COTM

    Comment


      #3
      Nice story.
      AWD > RWD

      Comment


        #4
        Love the backstory! What's next?

        My Build Threads:
        '87 BMW E30 325is (restomod)
        '90 Mazda Miata NA
        '04 Jeep TJ
        '05 Yamaha R6

        Comment


          #5
          Cool story!

          OBDI M62B44/6 swap
          Transaction feedback
          - jpod999

          Comment


            #6
            *thumbs up*. Would read again. :D

            Comment


              #7
              so the real question is, has this awesome guy who got you into cars manned up and asked you to married him yet?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by N2MYE30 View Post
                Nice story and bravo for working on your own car! Maybe I missed it but why are you selling the touring?
                Thanks, the touring has been a lot of fun to work on! An unexpected opportunity that I couldn't turn down pushed me to sell it, even though I'd intended to keep it long term and still wish I could. It wasn't an easy decision given how much I love the touring and all of the work we put into it, but it'll be worth it for what we have planned next. :mrgreen:

                Originally posted by Kershaw View Post
                Nice story.
                Originally posted by jpod999 View Post
                Cool story!
                Thanks, guys. :)

                Originally posted by Panici View Post
                Love the backstory! What's next?
                Glad you enjoyed it! I'll have a new project thread up about my next car once the deal goes through and it's officially mine, so you'll find out soon. ;)

                Originally posted by mike.bmw View Post
                *thumbs up*. Would read again. :D
                Aw, thanks! Happy to to hear that.

                Originally posted by straight6pwr View Post
                so the real question is, has this awesome guy who got you into cars manned up and asked you to married him yet?
                Haha... he actually asked me about 12 years ago.
                Last edited by Roadrunner; 10-31-2016, 11:32 PM.
                1994 E30 316i Design Edition Touring / 1991 E30 318is / 1992 E34 M5
                Instagram: @ro4d_runn3r

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  He said he was waxing his car at the moment, but he would be free later that afternoon. I thought, "Wow, this guy is really obsessed with his car..."
                  It was literally halfway through machine polishing the paint! :o

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  I love this picture - that was a knockout prom dress. Couldn't keep my hands off of it... :twisted:

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  I should mention that I come from a family where the following is true:
                  - "washing the car" consists of not garaging your vehicle and waiting for rain
                  - a formerly brand-new sports car was rusting out and waiting to die in our yard
                  A Nissan 300ZX twin turbo - gold, naturally - that was so disgusting inside I don't think a homeless person would sleep in it, and was as rusty as I've ever seen one. :-|

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  My parents were more upset with the bigger crime that had been committed that night -- me staying out past my curfew while borrowing their van.


                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  My parents recommended buying a used car from a family friend who worked for a GM dealership. The options were a GMC Jimmy that was older than time and had more mileage than I thought was even possible, or a 1994 Pontiac Sunfire.
                  That Jimmy had a blue velour interior and over 400,000 km on it if I remember correctly. I remember asking you if that was really the vehicle you saw yourself driving, and you thankfully had the confidence to say no, because there was no way in hell I was letting that guy push that thing on you.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  The Sunfire was less scary than the ultra-weathered Jimmy, so I went with that. Since my bf and I had just started dating and he didn’t feel it was his place to go against my family’s advice, he bit his tongue HARD and waited for me to find out what a colossally bad decision I’d made.
                  What a colossal pile of shit that thing was. :shock:

                  Hideously styled inside and out. As many ancient parts as possible anywhere they could use them. Seats with no lower back support whatsoever. Plastic buttons that wore through easily to reveal red lighting underneath. Clunky transmission. Gutless motor. Mushy brakes. Vague Steering. Its one redeeming quality was that it was so poorly assembled of such cheap materials that it would be easy to crush and recycle.

                  My first car was a 1988 CRX Si, and that was brilliant. There's a reason your enjoyment of cars was delayed...

                  I think my first thought when I saw the car was actually "Please tell me that shitbox isn't what he's suggesting she buy." followed by "No!!! NOOOOO!!!!!" once it was confirmed.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  To add insult to injury, we had to call the used car dealer to tell him the news:

                  Us: Umm, remember that car you just agreed to buy from us? Change of plans. You’re going to have to pick it up… with a tow truck.
                  Him: ... (long pause) .... You know you're not getting $1000 for it now, right?
                  That was a fun call to make, and after I'd negotiated a great deal on the new car and trade in, too.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  My bf helped me get my next car with the following requirement: it had to be a standard.
                  One of my better decisions - and best investments! :)

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  When it was time to start looking for a new car, my bf tried to get me to consider looking at German cars since he’d be able to do some of the work himself.
                  I actually remember describing the general qualities of American, German, Korean, and Japanese cars to you, then why I personally preferred German cars. Much less biased, but I did want to explain why I chose and enjoyed the cars I had.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  I ended up getting a 2006 Volkswagen Jetta.
                  A great daily driver, but the rear brake job on that car was the worst I've ever experienced. Without a lift it's nearly impossible to break those damned triple square bolts free with a breaker bar through the coil spring.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  A couple of my bf's cars around that time started to change my opinion of driving a BMW. Out of all of the cars he'd owned over the years, my favourites had both been E30s.
                  Those 318ises really were great cars; the 325is I had was too nice and too low mileage to drive.

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  My biggest fear was, “What if someone asks me about the engine?!” Who knew I'd be talking to people about my car on purpose for fun before too long? ;)
                  Who knew you'd actually be importing a car from Germany, something I've thought of doing for years, had all of the knowledge to do, but never found a car worthy of it? :D

                  Originally posted by straight6pwr View Post
                  so the real question is, has this awesome guy who got you into cars manned up and asked you to married him yet?
                  I knew that was going to happen after I was with her for a month, but I waited a year just to be safe. ;)

                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  Thanks, the touring has been a lot of fun to work on! An unexpected opportunity that I couldn't turn down pushed me to sell it, even though I'd intended to keep it long term and still wish I could. It wasn't an easy decision given how much I love the touring and all of the work we put into it, but it'll be worth it for what we have planned next. :mrgreen:
                  Originally posted by Roadrunner View Post
                  I can’t wait to let you guys in on my next project! Now that I’ve fallen in love with E30s, there’s no turning back. :mrgreen:
                  Alright, for those of you following this thread who really know your E30s, this should tell you exactly what car she let her touring go for:



                  We should be picking it up next week! :)
                  Last edited by Shock(/\)ave; 11-04-2016, 12:31 AM.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    A.) Shockwave - you dirty bastard! High five bro!
                    B.) Damn, I know women like to talk - but this might be the longest intro post ever on r3v. ;)
                    C.) Welcome to the club. You seem sane. (That's a rarity for girls on R3V - take it as a huge compliment!)
                    Originally posted by Matt-B
                    hey does anyone know anyone who gets upset and makes electronics?

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Great story! Looking forward to your next car!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        After hanging out with you guys today I'm really excited to see the new project after hearing all about it!
                        Steve • Toronto
                        1991 318is • Brillantrot
                        Build Thread

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by george graves View Post
                          B.) Damn, I know women like to talk - but this might be the longest intro post ever on r3v. ;)
                          Don't say I didn't warn you.

                          Originally posted by george graves View Post
                          C.) Welcome to the club. You seem sane. (That's a rarity for girls on R3V - take it as a huge compliment!)
                          Thanks for the compliment and the warm welcome!

                          Originally posted by 3ics View Post
                          Great story! Looking forward to your next car!
                          Thank you! I can't wait to share all of the details with you guys. :)

                          Originally posted by Powling View Post
                          After hanging out with you guys today I'm really excited to see the new project after hearing all about it!
                          We had a great time hanging out with you today! You can come see my new car anytime after I pick it up in a week or so. :mrgreen:
                          1994 E30 316i Design Edition Touring / 1991 E30 318is / 1992 E34 M5
                          Instagram: @ro4d_runn3r

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