There’s no better feeling in the world than owning and working on a car as your project for years, through good times and bad, only to have it come out exactly the way you wanted and everything works just right. To be driving down a twisty road with the windows down, in the car that you built and love is a feeling that is hard to match. And it’s exactly the feeling that Carter Kelly Kramer gets to experience everyday in his pumpkin-colored 1976 BMW 2002.

This latest episode of Petrolicious features Kramer and his BMW 2002 that he’s been working on for about four years. Sometimes cars can be an escape from the harsh parts of one’s life. That’s exactly what Kramer used his 2002 for. When he was in high school, his parents were going through an ugly divorce and it hit him and his brothers hard. To keep his mind off of things and put it to work on something constructive, Kramer bought the 2002 and decided to fix it up.

Kramer bought the car sight unseen on eBay and when he finally got it, it was nothing like advertised. It was in terrible condition. But it was too late at this point, so he decided to fix it. After learning on the fly, he finally got it running, only to crash it into a fence. With the front end banged up, and the engine needing to come out, he decided to cut the front end off with a sawzall and pry the engine out inch by inch.

After struggling with the car for a couple of years, he decided to take an internship at a European classic car shop, where he learned how to work on classic cars the right way. With his new-found knowledge, Kramer finally got his car running and driving the way he had originally wanted. But then it was time to go off to college and he needed a car that had working heat, air-conditioning and airbags, things that the BMW 2002 doesn’t really have. So he sold it, regrettably.

However, after owning an E30 3 Series and dealing with the myriad of electronics issues (compared to a 2002), he decided he wanted his 2002 back. So he got it back. He bought it back from the owner who bought it from him and it turns out that they didn’t take car of it nearly as well as they should have. So Kramer needed to get it back into working condition and he did. After getting it running properly, he decided to put make it look the way he always wanted and painted it orange, as well as other things. Now, Kramer’s 2002 is exactly the way he wants it and is his perfect car.

There’s very few things in life as rewarding as driving the car that you built and it’s everything you’d hoped it would be. Kudos to you, Kramer.