Editorial: What is your best motoring moment?

MINI | December 15th, 2009 by 11
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For many motoring enthusiasts, driving isn’t about a prolonged, overly involved love of cars from birth, it helps, but is more focused around spectacular moments …

For many motoring enthusiasts, driving isn’t about a prolonged, overly involved love of cars from birth, it helps, but is more focused around spectacular moments when seeking or even finding driving nirvana. They are moments that stick in your mind and endure the test of time, always setting the benchmark for the next ribbon of asphalt and car to see if they can challenge your memories for a spot at the top.

Being a BMW enthusiast from very near birth, many of my favorite moments in driving came from driving an E38 740iL  with it’s big V8 around my home town of Augusta, GA. Another moment came when my uncle picked up a Charmonix White on Blue 1974 2002tii and letting me take it around the neighborhood albeit for just a few minutes. A number of years passed and I was lucky enough to drive a few M3’s, 911’s and other luxury and sport cars, even attending M School and power sliding an M6 around a wet circuit. However, my favorite motoring moment came a few weeks ago in one of the cheapest BMW’s you can buy: a John Coopers Works MINI convertible.

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After a day of driving a 550i GT and then sitting through a series of presentations at their North American headquarters, BMW opened up a number of cars in their fleet for test drives to the journalists. After taking out an X6 M, 335d and 750Li, one would think I couldn’t be very impressed by anything with less torque or horsepower. One would be wrong, though.

I found an off-yellow MINI Cooper convertible with the full John Coopers Works( read power, exhaust and suspension upgrades) sitting towards the end of the parking lot, looks a bit unloved in the presence of such powerhouses. However, I’d never driven a MINI before – new or old and what better way to be introduced to the R56 platform than through a JCW edition convertible in obnoxious yellow? After setting off, everything seemed normal until I found my way onto a surface road off of the BMW campus and absolutely buried the throttle into the carpet.

What a glorious, unexpected surprise the little brit held in it’s exhausts! Rocketing up the road to the first corner with exuberance, I finally lifted off of the throttle to catch a popping noise from the rear of the car that I’d not heard from most modern cars. I pointed the wheels toward apex and goosed the gas just a hair and the MINI plowed straight through to the exit and had no reservations about me jumping right back onto the throttle. Coming to a stop sign, I dropped the two-stage top so I could hear more of the exhaust and then got back on the throttle, chirping the front tires as I pulled on to a less commuted road.

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The eagerness and personality of the MINI was just so abundant, it wanted to rev and it wanted to turn and the power through the bends and its exhaust snorted at me when I lifted as if to say “get back on the throttle ASAP!” Just to make it better – I decided it was time to listen to the radio to here the sound quality of the radio and sure enough “A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” by Jerry Lee Lewis came on and just seemed to complete the circle of the personality of the MINI and the total experience.

It was me, the car, the road and the sky and the bright yellow and red trees of fall flanking me on both sides. There were no distractions, no bills, no 9-to-5 job, no Blackberry, no friends, no family, no boss, no TV, no internet and it was fantastic – allowing me to focus solely on the driving experience, the sputter of exhaust, the turn-in points,  the apex and the satisfaction of urging on the tires with my pump of my right foot and the gorgeous scenery around me. It was a perfect moment of driving and without breakneck speeds, or tearing around corners like a bat out of hell, just a guy and a great car streaking along the countryside during a subdued yet colorful fall afternoon.

The experience made me realize how few and far between these moments are and that they must be enjoyed when we find these sorts of driving opportunities at our finger tips. After all, isn’t life just a series of moments?

So what is your moment of driving nirvana? Hopefully it is moments! Please tell us below!

[Image by AutoEvolution ]

11 responses to “Editorial: What is your best motoring moment?”

  1. Ramon Juarez says:

    The very moment when a BMW pushes you back (probably on 5th or 6th gear) on your seat and, because of gravity, can’t get up! :D

  2. Wolfer says:

    Driving up the local mountain road and feeling the sensation of your bimmer as it hug the curves, with sun shining and a breathtaking scenery below you.

  3. Neal Pratt says:

    Dropping it into 3rd on the interstate when your friends say BMW’s are just “Yuppie Cars”.

  4. XC says:

    Back in 2001 I was driving back home for 5 hours after I just finished college in my dad’s manual transmission 328ci; the road back home at the time was part highway, part back mountain roads. I drove without any rush, savouring the moments, the touch of that beige leather and wood trimming, the feeling of that beautiful black car gently navigating mile after mile after mile ; the late afternoon sun reflecting in the shiny paint and tinting the road and trees in a gorgeous golden hue… I was listening to my dad’s Italian jazz CDs, Aldo Romano, Louis Sclavis, Henri Texier, Enrico Rava, Gato Barbieri…a veritable rite of passage when I actually became a man and no longer a boy; for me that was the defining moment in which I decided that BMW will be my car of choice for the times to come. I really really got what BMW is all about. And my God I had such a grin in my face!

  5. Matt Stokes says:

    From the first time I drove my first BMW (an E28 528i) I swore I’d never have anything else, the first time I drove the 528i was the first time I’d driven anything woth over 90hp & not FWD! the weather was terrible the roads were hideously wet, and I got lost after having picked it… but I still recall it beng the most awesome thing ever! probably the best moment I’ve had was when I finally bought a 635CSi, I’d wanted one since I was twelve (in 1991!) and I didn’t get one till I was 22, so it was like a dream come true, the first time I drove it was just amazing, it warmed me to the core of my soul! it just felt so good, I was grinning uncontrollably!

    It’s sad to say however that two of my most enduring moments of driving nostalgia, didn’t come from my Bimmers ! They came in my very first car (a Peugeot 106 1.4d), and a hire car – (a Vauxhall Astra 1.7club), both substanitally worse cars than any of my Bimmers, but the ‘moments’ were QUALITY

  6. Hantra says:

    After driving all day at the Performance Center, and thinking I was a good driver, I got a ride with an instructor in an E46 M3. Realizing that I knew NOTHING about driving as we were diving into the wet skidpad at triple digits was my best motoring moment. Those instructors are the real deal.

    • Horatiu B. says:

      I am with you here. I always thought I was a good driver (no accidents, good reflexes and fast). Well, I went to the M School and WOW, I knew nothing about proper driving, braking, turning, steering…I have to admit, I sucked bad in most of the tests, but I got better at the end and I learned something. I look forward to the next experience there, I am ready to conquer it and finally beat Andrew, he did amazing on the track :)

  7. txdesign says:

    Driving to the Labor Day bash at the BMW factory from Texas with 14 fellow Z3 drivers back in 97. We hit the Dragon at 1am and had it all to ourselves. I am pretty sure I was actually tearing up with joy at some point.

  8. Prussian says:

    Climbing hills at WOT in my 332ti : )
    When I get to the top I can hear my heart pounding in my ears

  9. Babken says:

    Getting into BMW is already a special occasion.

  10. Tom Hegedosh says:

    selling my z4 for a 99 viper gts. hahahah

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