Adios, Amigo!
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

I waited for the twinge to happen. A sullen murmur from my stomach as we parted ways. Perhaps a last burst of memories whirling around like a montage of the ten years we shared.

But, it didn't happen, and I'm not entirely surprised. I've suspected for some time that, despite my love of travel and machines and motion...I just don't get very attached to my vehicles. There were other signs. The fact that I don't wash them nearly as often as I should, for instance. Of course I maintain them mechanically pretty well. I don't abuse them at the track or on the road. But on that beautiful saturday with the sun shining, I'm not going to be waxing my car. Sounds relaxing, but there will always be a few things higher up the list.

I may not be sentimental about the car physically, but the things I did with it still resonate with me today. There was the first lap on a race track, and most of the thousands of subsequent ones. My first trip out west. In Yosemite I would wake up before dawn, driving like a hellion to get to somewhere beautiful to watch the sunrise. On to Big Sur (past San Francisco without stopping! Fool!) and then back through Utah where I was smitten just from the interstate views. Two trips to Utah after that. It never left me stranded.

I still love the race track, but too many other things are on my mind to keep up with it. Motorcycling has proven an easier way to spend a weekend. The white car accumulated over time a track suspension that was amazing to do laps in but would rattle your fillings out on the street - and god help you if you hit a pot hole. Ultimately there is just not enough space in the city to keep cars laying around, and the cars don't appreciate it much anyway. I currently have two motorcycles and a jeep here, a girlfriend who'd like a garage space...and a dirt bike in Michigan that grows lonelier by the year.

Still, I love the BMW 325iS. These can be bought for a few thousand dollars, and what you get is a vehicle that originally sold for $30k, twenty years ago. The interior is solid and simple. There aren't a million small gizmos that will all break in 7 or 8 years. Parts are easy to find, and cheap compared to modern cars. Coming in at 28 or 29 mpg isn't great, but isn't bad by today's standards. Likewise the 170 hp engine isn't going to win you a ton of races, but it's smooth and keeps up with the pack. Really, things just come together with this car.

It's not impossible that in a few years I'll get bored of my Jeep and want a car again, and I'll be looking at BMW ads. I'll regret parting with one that I knew every secret of and could trust so well. On the other hand, maybe it would be nice to have one in another color. Or a completely rust free one from California.

Or maybe an STI. That would be fun...

Anyway, adios amigo! We had a blast. I'm sure you have another 100,000 miles of adventures in you. No regrets, take care of yourself. Drive safe.

[ tags: 325iS auto bmw car E30 track ]

BMW in Yosemite, 1999
Copyright © Erik Pennebaker, All rights reserved

[ tags: 325is bmw E30 travel trip yosemite ]

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