Wednesday, March 25, 2020

My Daily Driver: @_baldtires's BMW M3 convertible

1. How did you come to the decision of buying this car?

My family has had around five or six E46s since I was a kid. I remember playing Need For Speed: Most Wanted and beating the game just so I could get back that killer E46 M3 GTR. When I learned to drive, It was in my Dad's 325ci convertible.

When that car started to become more trouble than it was worth (at around 215,000 miles) it was replaced with a black 330ci coupe. My brother and I loved that car. We got it right as we passed our driving tests (we're identical twins), and many reckless parking lot escapades were to be had.

All of this time spent in E46s just sort of naturally added up to me desperately wanting an M3. I remember my brother and I reading the car's specs when we were younger. Eight thousand RPM? What? That didn't make any sense. Redlines--we were sure--did not go that high.

But they did.

2. What has your ownership experience been like?

I love the car to death, but most stories you hear about BMW maintenance are true. The car isn't cheap to get fixed (especially at dealerships), but it's also never left me stranded.

The closest I ever came to having the car towed was when the alternator went out. Luckily, I was at the top of a big hill with an auto parts store at the bottom. I rolled down the hill, threw a battery in the car, and drove it to the BMW shop where I worked in high-school. My friend picked me up in his piece of shit, deafeningly loud E36 325is. A year later I would find myself welding that car's sub-frame directly to the unibody with my eyes closed.

I look forward to driving the M3 every single day. I've put 60,000 miles on it in two years of ownership. Every time I suspect it's going to let me down, it doesn't. I haven't found a situation where I don't enjoy driving it.

3. What is your fondest memory with this car?

I got this car during a pretty rough period in my life. I was depressed as all-hell for reasons I'm not really willing to share. Getting out of bed just seemed like a pointless affair. I always wanted to be alone. Looking back, my friends were endlessly patient dealing with me, but I knew I was straining our relationships with my constant moping.

I never worried about my car putting up with my issues. I never got the impression it was tired of the way I was acting. Looking out my window it was always still there. Strange.

I would put my foot down and it just wanted to give me more. I could hear it saying, "Come on! Take it to eight grand! What are you a pussy?"

In tunnels it would always try to play its best music. I couldn't--by myself--be in a good mood, but it didn't care how I felt. I would forget everything else that was going on when I drove. All of the bullshit that felt like it was crushing me could not keep up. I was--quite literally--just quicker.

By the time I chirped second gear I was gone. For those few moments when I was driving in-anger, I could almost hear my dejected former-self wheezing behind me, struggling to catch up. 

"Get back here! You're not allowed to be happy!"

I never cared to respond to this, but the car always said, "yeah, go fuck yourself."

I liked that.

4. Why do you love cars?

I love cars because they're one of the most unique things on this planet. Is there such enthusiasm worldwide for anything else that is just a tool? 

There's something really socially interesting about cars. It's difficult for me to put into words, but cars are like a key into a whole different world. Ever see a car you like on the road, and the person in that vehicle also likes your car? You have just gained a friend, and you didn't even have to say anything. 

I think above all, cars are optimistic things. One of my pet peeves is that I cannot stand people who go out in public wearing pajamas. This isn't some boomer-esque rant about how this generation has no values and the dangers of the internet, it's just something I've always had an issue with.

Putting on a pair of pants is the prerequisite to moving your life forwards. Would you like to interview for a new job? Would you like to go on a date--maybe meet your husband/wife? What about attend an important conference, or give a presentation you're really proud of? You set all of these all of these situations into motion by putting on a pair of pants. Cars are the same way.

Cars are about going somewhere. Even if you have nothing else but a full tank of gas, you are far from a hopeless situation. It doesn't even matter if you're getting anywhere, what matters is the opportunity the car gives you. 

I'm just one person in a long line of people in my family who has loved cars. My dad likes cars, and his dad liked cars, too. I never met my grandfather, but I know what cars he owned. I could almost imagine what he was like because of this. I can also imagine what he might think of my choices. I think he would've liked me. I would've liked him. 

There are no other things that would allow me to get an idea of who he was.

That's why I love cars.

If you would like to participate, just answer the above four questions and submit one to three photos of your daily driver to milhousevanh at geemail. Thanks and have fun!

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