I’ve spent a lot of time critiquing BMW and it’s path as of late. Maybe in doing so I forgot why I love BMWs so much and I figured I’d post my three moments which, to me, are my definitive BMW moments. I felt this a fitting inaugural post as, despite how we all feel about BMW and it’s current direction, we all share the same admiration and enjoyment of these vehicles. I’ll post my three moments but I’d love to hear what everyone else’s “definitive BMW moment” was.
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My first BMW Moment? It’s the summer of 1989 or 1990, I’m 6 or 7 years old and on the back roads of South Carolina en route to Hilton Head Island to meet up with the rest of our family. I’m asleep in the back of an E34 5 Series when I’m woken up by a highway patrolman sticking his head in the driver’s window asking my uncle “So, why were you going so fast?” My uncle turned around in his seat, pointed at me and flatly told the patrolman “He told me to go fast.” After about 10 minutes of them joking around about me going to jail and me thinking “You’re probably going to jail” I came to the realization: “If we’re getting pulled over like this then this car must be pretty fast!”
My second BMW moment was February 16, 2000. It was 2:00AM and I’d just left my high school Valentine’s Day dance and dropped my friends off. I was driving the family Kalahari Beige 2000 E38 740iL that night. It was an empty road with nobody for miles, I’m 16, I’m driving a big german sedan with a near 300HP V8 – I did what any male of that age would: I stopped it, set the shifter to sport and then pushed the far right pedal as far to the floor as it would go. Cresting a hill at a brisk, indicated 120MPH I thought the same thing I had ten years before” this car is pretty fast!” Maybe this was more of a definitive “Ricky Bobby” than BMW moment though.
After the second event, I immediately became a BMWphile and even after picked up two E46s, those moments weren’t as good as my third definitive moment. The phone call in the summer of 2005 that my uncle has sold his E39 M5 as he was starting up his new business was heart-breaking but in that same call I’d heard he purchased a near-fully restored 1974, squared taillights and all, BMW 2002tii as a replacement. After tooling around in that car for 30 minutes, with my cousins slotted into the cramped backseat, I felt like I’d come full circle to understanding BMW and why people love them so much and especially why I loved them so much. I was driving a car that was much smaller than my E46 Coupe and I’m 6’5 so my legs are uncomfortably splayed around the steering wheel and there’s no power steering or brakes but the drive was fantastic and had so much personality! I’d still love to own one of these classics at some point with it’s crisp handling, timeless looks and fun, petty little engine – it is the definitive BMW!
But I’ve waxed BMW long enough, I’d love to hear why everyone else is so into BMWs and the moment they knew they were sold on the cars with little propellors on the hood.