For years now BMW to me has been the greatest of automotive brands in the world. People have obviously bashed me for this sort of thinking for a while now. I have been called a fanboy, BMW fag, elitist, closed minded and the likes. I don’t believe that I am any of those things, and neither do my close friends, but that by itself is no evaluation of myself.
Step into my mind with me now and see why this brand that has been making some of the greatest cars known to man for many enthusiast years now.
It all started when I was a young kid. I was raised on everything Chevrolet. The Corvette was a prized love in my household. I grew up with them everywhere. I love Corvette’s still to this day! I have grown up with Camaro’s and Mustangs in the drive too. But, one thing that I remember more vividly about my childhood, believe it or not, is the poster of the amazing Callaway Corvette Speedster that graced my older brother Jason’s (I am the youngest of 4 by 8, 11 and 12 years age difference) bedroom wall. I actually bought the poster for him at school at one of those lunch time functions. I don’t recall what it was called, but I remember his delight, when instead of spending the money on myself, I spent it on this awesome poster. But that poster was just the first main step.
My brother used to speak his vast automotive knowledge in the backseat of the car during drives to wherever. I aspired to this greatness. One of the other things I remember most is when Jason used to speak of this awesome car, the one that was the best handling car of the day, according to Road and Track, the E36 BMW M3. I had no idea what this car was, but it looked cool as hell, and if Jason loved it, well, then I loved it.
Later this one turn into a rather weird passion that still has my most of my American car loving family baffled on how and why I turned.
One key time that helped in my German transformation was the acquiring of a 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500SL at an auction in Florida. My dad had bought it for my mom as a gift when his corporate travel agency was getting more and more successful. He drove the Cadillac STS’s, a pair of 1967 Corvettes, one a 427/400 coupe and the other a 327/300 convertible, both were identical to one another in color and options. But while these awe inspiring classic exotics sat in the garage, it was this strange bright red 500SL convertible that just made me squint my eyes in amazement that this, to me at the time, exotic, super convertible was in my driveway.
The kids at school thought I was the man when I got dropped off in this car every morning and was picked up in the same car in the afternoon.
I’ll never forget my dad choosing to take the SL one morning while we were running late for school, because he knew it was the safer, speedier car. He got a ticket on a back road doing 90 in a 45mph zone. This was cool to me. I had never felt so transcended by anything outside of the sounds of Elvis Presley when I was a kid.
My mom had a series of MB SL’s after that. Then, in 2001, my dad finally did what he had always wanted to do with his money. He purchased his first BMW for himself and himself only. It was a 2001 BMW 740iL Sport. It was hunter green with tan interior. The car was amazing. I’ll never forget me, my mom, my dad and Jason pulling up to the BMW dealership to pay for it and drive it off. My dad handed the salesman the check, and Jason and I looked at one another in awe when the salesman said “Mr. Lewis, with this check you can have anything on this lot that you want.” Jason and I worked our hardest to persuade dad to buy the 2001 silver E39 M5 sitting right in the front. He said it wasn’t a good enough car to drive clients around in for the company. We were dismayed, but hey, we were going home in a 740iL Sport. Who were we to complain?
Jason and I drove that 7 like the wheels were going to fall off. He and I, when mom and dad weren’t home, used to drive that and sometimes the 2001 red Corvette Z06 with about 450hp sitting in the garage around the local roads near our neighborhood. Jason was to me the greatest driver I had ever seen. The things he taught me just by making me pay attention and watch were amazing. My best friend at the time, Connor, lived two doors down from me. His dad was a former Busch Series NASCAR driver and then was a Prototype Porsche driver after that. Connor used to ride with Jason at times and he proclaimed that Jason was as good a driver as his dad, if not better. Connor’s family was filled with professional racing drivers from all over the country.
Mom still had her SL’s for years to come. Dad was trying to figure out the right car to purchase me for my first. He toyed with giving me the E36 318i black/black/black convertible 5-speed, the 1991 Mercedes-Benz 560 SEC, the 2002 Camaro SS sunburnt orange/tan/tan convertible 6-speed that was 1 of 28 in America. Finally though, for some odd reason he got rid of all of those cars at some point within a few months, and wound up trading the MB 560 to a local German mechanic for a 1996 328iS black/black. He came home and tossed me the keys. I had no idea what he was doing, until I looked at the BMW keychain and the beautiful, almost immaculate BMW sitting outside waiting for me. I went outside and washed it with Jason. I was in love. Jason was so happy to see me in a BMW, he helped talk dad into getting it for me (thanks brother!). He loved that car as much as I did. I even got my own garage space, and made dad park the Z06 outside a few times, or moms SL 500.
I was hooked from the first time I drove it. There was nothing better. The most amazing time in that car was driving around with my girl friend at the time with the windows down, the sunroof open, and just cruising everywhere and anywhere listening to nothing but old Blues and Classic Rock. I’ll never forget the time myself, an E36 M3 and a 2003 745Li Sport wound up in a local street race travelling back to our neighborhood (we all lived in the same area of the neighborhood). I found out later that the 7-Series owner, a local celebrity, said that was the defining moment in owning the BMW and that is why he got hooked, seeing two young kids in theirs and then having a fun, perfectly safe, road fun (there was no other car around at the time, thank God!).
My dad purchased for me a 2005 330i almost fully loaded sedan, black/tan, and of course it was a sport packaged model. That was the defining moment of my BMW enthusiasm. That car created more enthusiast mindsets in me than any other car I’ve ever driven or had. The 330i, named Betty, helped me to meet some of the best friends that I still call my best friends to this day. Betty taught me a lot about driving. I was a fearless daredevil in that car, using the brakes and power to more extent than I should have. I am proud to say that I never had one accident or speeding ticket thank the good Lord above.
I am not a great sleeper. I often have a hard time shutting off my mind in order to sleep. When I lived in my apartment, I used to late at night to early, early in the morning would go out and drive the local roads when there was no one around or on them.
Unfortunately Betty was sold out of anger between me and my dad. I have had two Mazda’s since. I currently drive a 2006 Mazda Mazdaspeed 6. I love my car, but I miss BMW’s.
Sure, I love Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Corvette, hell any kind of great car, new or old. But there is nothing to me like having the ultimate utility of the BMW and the ultimate in sports car feel and ability. It is to me the ultimate driving machine. There is nothing better.
I hope to soon buy either an E34 or E39 M5. Not much better in life than a sedan that carries all of your friends and still has the engine and ability to still beat or toy with more cars today than most any other car on the road.
Well, that is my BMW story. I hope you guys enjoyed it. I know it’s long, but I felt the need to share it with you all. Feel free to e-mail your story at firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Josh from RawAutos.com