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Like you stole it…

Interesting | October 21st, 2008 by 17

This afternoon, after lunch I was walking back through the parking garage of my office with a buddy of mine that’s a fellow BMW owner …

This afternoon, after lunch I was walking back through the parking garage of my office with a buddy of mine that’s a fellow BMW owner when we heard a screeching noise coming up one of the ramps to our parking deck. Sure enough, 3 seconds later a 2005 Honda S2000 appears being driven by another friend at the office, sliding it around corners to find an empty parking space. I remarked to my other friend with me “Man, he drives the hell out of that thing!” And he does! He drives it like he stole it and enjoys getting the most out of his ride. I can’t fault him for it either.

I’m somewhat guilty of the same thing. My E46 proves to be a great stress reliever. As an accountant, during our busy season we’ll work hours of 6~7AM to 8~10PM, sometimes six or seven days a week. Most nights by the time I’m off work the roads are clear so I’m going pretty hard or at least pushing the car, where safe to others and myself, as a means of washing off the stress of work off. I know I also tend to take on and off ramps aggressively when nobody is in front of me and could probably be characterized as “driving it like I stole it.”

And why shouldn’t I? I pay for it and have the car regularly serviced – more than the typical 15,000 mile service intervals – and I do it only when conditions permit. I don’t always drive in this manner but, I admit, I get a kick out of my little 2.5 liter M54 engine when it begins to bark back at me for revving it above 3,500 RPMs and the exhaust note begins to scream and the car almost seems to hunker down out of respect to the engine. I love it!

But I also know there is a flip side: people who can enjoy their car equally without trying to push hard. A buddy that owns an ’07 M Coupe will get on the gas in his car only every other blue moon and otherwise babies the car, afraid to put miles on it much less park it with in 2,000 yards of another car.

So, what do you guys do? Drive it like you stole it or treat it better than a significant other, enjoying it more for the luxury and creature comforts of the vehicle? Or are you somewhere in the middle? I know I’m more of a rev-happy maniac when the conditions present themselves. :-)

  • Randy

    Like I stole it!

    What is the point of having a great car if you aren’t going to really drive it?

    I’ll paraphrase a comment I read in this months Roundel: ‘BMW classifieds that say “never-tracked” might as well say “never-enjoyed”.’

  • Marc

    I do a little bit of both. Back when I was working in Germany I would go out late Sunday afternoons or Early evenings and hit the Autobahn 20ks either way on A5 from Mannheim just for fun. During the week I am bit more reserved.

  • Hantra

    With the S2000, if you DON’T drive it like you stole it, you might as well drive a Corolla. At least with the BMW, the torque curve is flat, and it’s always there.

    Plus, if I wanted to drive like I bought a Corolla, I’d have bought a Corolla. ;-)

  • Lee

    It really depends on the situation. I like to have a little fun when it’s safe to do so, afterall I’m probably one of the very few people that’s had the opportunity to thrash a Corvette Z06 around Pike’s Peak. That’s still one of my favorite automotive memories to-date, even if it wasn’t a BMW.

    Most of my “fun” driving now takes place on a track. I did somehow manage to powerslide the e34 525iT yesterday while busting a U-turn, though. There wasn’t another soul on the streets, so screw it… why not?

  • Sam

    If it makes you feel better to trash your car, you have probably have deeper issues that won’t be helped by doing so. There are many ways to relieve stress. Just don’t endanger others when you are relieving your stress and, when you are done trashing your car, you shouldn’t try to pawn it off on another as if you drove it like an old lady.

  • Lee

    @Sam:
    I think you might be overanalyzing this a bit… Having some fun in your car = “deeper issues”?

    This isn’t the Lincoln Towncar Blog. This is a blog for a vehicle brand that specifically targets individuals that enjoy pushing their cars, not doddling about in the right lane of the highway at 40mph.

  • Gragop

    @Sam:

    I see your point, but I think you’re missing mine. Revving a car above 3,500 RPMs when it redlines around 6,500RPMs isn’t trashing a car. I keep it well-maintained and try to be proactive with maintenance.

    Enjoying the car for it’s sporting nature isn’t trashing a car. If I were to rev the hell out of the engine everywhere I went and then threw it dangerously into corners at every turn I found – then yes, I do think that’s both dangerous and trashing a car.

    Please note above that I mentioned I push the car in conditions that would not endanger others. I’m not one of the drivers you see darting through traffic or cutting people off because I enjoy speeding or something. I think most people who read this blog are responsible enough to driver accordingly.

    Please also note that “Drive it like you stole it” is an expression and isn’t necessarily indicative of how I drive on a regular basis.

  • Clara

    @Sam:

    The person buying the car should take it to be inspected, not just look at the mileage and test drive it. That will reveal how those miles were used. For example, the guy with the S2000 probably consumed 3x as much fuel as… well, as you do.

    And you should have fun with the car, that’s why you got it.

    But… having said that, it’s wise not have fun in a way that draws attention to yourself, like screeching around in parking garage where there might be pedestrians.

  • Gragop

    @Clara:

    Yes, that’s my point more or less. I read Alex Roy’s book The Driver about using an M5 to cross the US and beat the current coast-to-coast travel record. His philosphy of driving smart and under the radar translates well to my mindset of enjoying my car.

  • Clara

    @Gragop:
    That book sounds really interesting. I didn’t realize they still did those gumball-type rallys in the US. Neat!

    That’s a book that would be great as books-on-tape…

  • Gragop

    @Clara:

    It’s a pretty cool book, I’ve read it two or three times so far. Their website is http://www.gumball144.com. Most of it relates to the Gumball 3000 as that event began to really catch on. “The Battle for Rome” is a particularly good chapter about the E39 M5 dueling with a Porsche Turbo across the outskirts of Rome. I can’t recommend this book enough for a car enthusiast.

  • Sam

    Look at your logic here. Your logic is self-justifying: I bought the car to drive it like a stole it, I spend good money to fix it so it will survive it if somebody drives it like he stole it, so why should’t I drive it like I stole it?

    My point is why does it make you feel better to drive a car like you stole it in the first place?

    The power and speed of a car has value in normal driving. Sometimes you just need to get out of there or got on that onramp into fast traffic. Sometimes you are late and have to get there faster. But if driving a car like you stole it makes you feel better, please explain why.

  • Gragop

    @Sam:

    You’re continuing to miss the point.

    As I said, “driving it like you stole it” is an expression and related more to the guy I saw driving HIS car recklessly in a parking garage and I’m not going to justify someone else’s actions as I don’t care to nor is it my place. Perhaps I should have named the article something different – it was a stab at humor but “Driving your car pleasantly to and from work” really doesn’t sound very fun.

    Also – note that I never encouraged driving into fast traffic and flying off an on ramp to merge with traffic. Also, for the record, aside from my E46 being serviced for 5,000 to 7,000 mi oil changes, going through 1 set of tires, a broken seat issue, 1 controlling arm and the standard Inspection I service my car has performed flawlessly for the whole 68,000 miles I’ve owned it since new. So – it would appear I’m not dogging out my car nor is it likely most people on this site are.

    I enjoy spirited driving when the opportunity both presents itself and is safe, BMW’s are made for that kind of driving and if you think that’s bad for the car then don’t attend a track day as you’ll probably be floored as to the way vehicles are treated. Do you not enjoy spirited driving in your bimmer? My point is that if I pay for my car then I will drive it to enjoy it.

    And finally yes, my logic is traditionally self-justifying. I typically like to prove my own points in a debate.

  • Lee

    “Drive it like you stole it” means, essentially, you’re pushing your car to its limits (or at least your limits as a driver).

    By no means does it automatically imply any reckless behavior or endangering others, and it doesn’t even require that you break any laws.

    A vehicle doesn’t always have to solely be a source of transportation. It doesn’t have to be a “white good” as they say. It doesn’t have to be an appliance purchased specifically to perform one utilitarian function. It can also be a provider of enjoyment, entertainment, stress relief, fun.

    To “drive it like you stole it” is to have fun while you’re behind the wheel; I see absolutely nothing wrong with that as long as its done in a responsible manner. Does it justify driving like an idiot on a busy highway? Hell no, but then again that’s not really what you’re calling into question is it, Sam?

  • Clara

    Sam seems to be indicating that you should actually steal the car, if that’s the experience you’re looking for. Moreover, why would you pay for preventative maintenance on someone else’s car?

  • Gragop

    @Clara:

    I’m without a doubt NOT condoning Grand Theft Auto here. It’s just an expression.

    But I am saying if I happened upon a 430 Scuderia or GT2 and the keys are in it then consider that car gone!

  • Clara

    @Gragop:
    I know… I was joking!

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