Hello everyone, my name is Joshua and this is my first post on BMWBlog. I would like to contribute to the community as much as time permits since I am currently stationed in Iraq. This write up is going to explain my love for BMWs as well as the process I have gone all the way through placing the order…while in Iraq.
My love affair started almost 20 years ago when I first experienced the pleasure of riding in a 5 series BMW. I recall the cool little self test panel on the headliner and how solid the vehicle felt. I didn’t think much of the brand at the time but I knew that it was something special. I used to always look forward to my friend ScottM’s dad coming to pick us up for basketball practice just because of his car.
I remember him explaining the intricacies of fuel injection and the difference between the raw power of a muscle car and that of a refined BMW. I used to doodle in school, mostly BMWs with their signature round lights and the Hofmeister kink.
My next real experience with BMW was as a Sophomore in High School. In 1991, life brought me to a South Florida boarding school, Pine Crest preparatory School, where I met a girl who had a 325iC. Cruising around the inter-coastal in that thing with the top down was quite an experience. The reader may frown on this but I vividly recall the little bridges that went over the canal in Ft Lauderdale. We used to speed up as we came towards them and always it would get air, a breathtaking experience. I forget her name but the car; I’ll never forget that car, bright red with a tan top and leather interior. She was gorgeous.
Three years later I found myself in the Army living in Germany, BMW Mecca. Everywhere there were BMWs, and cheap, as they were built there. The Deutsch Mark exchange rate helped to make these more affordable as well. I couldn’t actually afford one until the summer of 2003, I had just gotten married and kids were on the way. A 1982 Ford Fiesta, inherited in the marriage was not going to cut it for a soon to be father of twins.
I seized the opportunity and had my eye on a 1987 528i with BBS rims. It was nothing extraordinary but it was mine, bought at the time for $6000. Green all around with custom silver 2 tone accent on each side from the door handles down to the rocker panel. Ran like a dream with only the usual water pump and battery replacement.
I recall driving 190km on the autobahn to the US Consulate Frankfurt on several occasions, relishing the drive looking over seeing my German wife sound asleep, lulled to sleep by the pavement rumbling beneath us. Sadly the time came to move. I had gotten lucky and secured a tour in Hawaii. Taking my car with me would have been cost prohibitive, costing more than I could afford to convert it to US specs.
During my time in Hawaii, an island ripe for suckers (myself included) to get had by dealerships, I owned many cars; a 1993 Mazda 626, 1997 Jeep GC, 1997 Honda Civic ES, and finally settled on a 1996 Chrysler Sebring convertible (hey, it’s Hawaii!). Much experience with this eclectic range of automobiles, yet none even paled in comparison to my 528 that I missed dearly.
Looking back, I part of why I changed cars so often was that I was trying to recreate the thrill of owning a BMW again. All my experiences had raised my awe and love for them to mythological levels. Once again the Army sent me to Louisiana. I had every intent of moving back to Germany 2 years later, 9/11 changed all that and by the following April I landed in Iraq. While doing my duty there, I still managed to feed the passion, getting BMW literature when I could and spending what little time I had online, after emailing the family, reading up on my dream car.
Coming out of that deployment, I finally got placed on assignment back to Germany. For whatever reason at the time, I bought a Land Rover Freelander, which is by no means a bad small SUV, it was an impulse buy that I had regretted once I returned to Germany only because I could not afford to get out of the loan quickly. However my dream was getting closer at this point knowing that I would not leave Germany again without a BMW. I had worked my way up in the ranks to a point where I could afford the car I have dreamed of since puberty.
Upon arrival to Germany I immediately made contact with the BMW Military sales point in Vaihingen, a suburb of Stuttgart right outside the military installation. I explained to the CA, what I was looking for and was honest by telling her that at the moment I was unable to get out of my Land Rover. It wasn’t a question of if but when I would purchase. Over those two years, I visited the dealership regularly, test driving (joy riding) many different cars, some of which were clearly unaffordable to me. My CA knew that I was a sure thing, and she put up with my constant visits and inquiries. She had been good to me and we built a Sales/Customer relationship that secured the sale whenever it was going to happen. Once again the Army called on me to move down the road to Bavaria.
Upon leaving, I stated that in light of the great service provided by my CA, I guaranteed that when I finally did buy my car I would buy it through the dealership in Stuttgart. They know customer relations. Never once looking down their nose at me, only knowing that I was a potential sale, no matter how many times I stopped by. So I hopped in my Freelander and drove down the road to Bavaria. Immediately I knew that another trip to Iraq was on the horizon, my wife and I crunched the numbers and planned to buy one once I returned. The following April, my I received the title for the Land Rover, paying it off almost 2 years early.
The fun began at this point along with the waiting game for the LCI. Immediately, once the spy pics released, I notified my CA of the impending purchase, and things started to get real. There is an excitement to building your own car option by option and realizing that a work of art is coming out at the end. Communication back with the world has improved vastly since my last experience in Iraq, I have been able to build my car online, and cal l my CA. I have even secured the loan for the car.
Almost two weeks ago I finally signed my purchase order, locking in the car of my dreams. Reality of it all is setting in. On November 29th I pick up my 2009 E90 328i finally fulfilling a dream since I was a preteen. It’s been a long road and my patience has paid off.
I go home shortly and a time of reflection has come and gone in fleeting moments. Yes I am blessed, I have so much to be thankful for, my wife, she puts up with my career no matter how dismal it can seem to get. So professionally, even though things at the moment can look frustrating or overwhelming, I have MUCH to be thankful for.