Well, summer is now here, and with it, new chances to enjoy the outdoors in one's sweet cool ride. For me, this means firing up the old 67 VW Beetle, which I have to be honest, has only been driven may 10 km in the last year. Why so little km's? Well, insurance costs for one, and the other is that there is simply now way I would drive this car in non-sunny weather. It has to be nice out for me to enjoy it, heck, even a little rain might spoil the day.
Well, that's about all I have time for now. Check back soon for a full-fledged test drive on my 67!
Here I am, back to square one. Well, more like square two, as my first car was a 1985 Honda Civic Hatchback. With a mighty 60 horsepower from its free-revving 12 valve inline four, it was the perfect first car. It was reliable, fuel-efficient, easy to repair and could take a beating when called into action. I miss that car, but in retrospect what I really miss is the fact that it should be the car I am driving today. Let me explain.
Life throws you a curve ball, and you got to react. I needed the funds for some medical expenses for my wife so that meant I had to sell my very first car that I purchased brand new. It was a 2004 Jetta TDI, and boy was that a great machine. It never once let me down, was as tough as nails, and the cost to run it was even cheaper than my beloved 85 Civic. However, it needed to go. I sold it not having something to replace it with, what I mean is, something to get me to and from work. Quickly, I found an 87 325e for sale for $900, and it was everything I thought could get me through the winter. I have owned two E-30 BMW's in the past, an 84 318i and a 90 325i. They were and are in my opinion, the most reliable, best built and best styled mass produced BMW's ever built. The E-36 was plagued with problems from the start, not to mention the E-46, as well as E-90 (although this car is actually a lot better).
So here I am. I go from driving a relatively new machine to a beater of a 3-series that sounds as if it's going to explode. Sure, I had to fork over some bucks to fix a few things so that it would pass inspection and run reliably. This I did, and the car got me through the winter very well. But, I was miserable. Going back to a car you once owned in the hopes of reliving some glorious moment or feeling is like eating your 1000th Big Mac. It just does not feel the same, nor as good as it once did.
This got me thinking. What I should have done was buy an old third generation Civic instead. My gut tells me that I would have enjoyed this more. The problem is however, that there are so few of these left on the road that coming across an example that I could by cheaply and which would run reliably, was next to impossible. Finding an E-30 BMW was easy. There are quite a bit left on the road, which is a testament to two things in my opinion. Great build quality, and even better owner maintenance. The fact is, the reason you see more older German cars on the road is that their owners just care more. They maintain them better, and treat them as an investment, rather than an appliance. Old Japanese cars are mostly rubbish because they were owned by people who took their reliability for granted. A Japanese car is the most reliable new car you can own, granted it's not older than 5 years. This is because, up to this point, and owner will simply drive it without care. Oil change? Maybe tomorrow. Timing belt needs replacing? Next year, or maybe never until it breaks.
So you are probably asking yourself. Why should I have bought an old Civic instead of the old Beemer? The reason is simple. Because I know, just know, if I would have bought an old Civic, it would have needed so much work, and would have been so unreliable for an old car that I would not take it anymore, and cave into something newer.
So you see, by going with my gut and buying the right kind of car, an old E-30, I became more miserable than I needed to be. I should have gone for the Civic. Then I would be driving a new car! It would have given me an excuse! But alas, I stuck with the BMW, which by the way I just sold for more than I bought it for! Talk about an investment!
So you may be asking. Why did I not just buy a new car in the first place? Well, the timing was off, and really, I was not financially able to. The BMW was a quick and cheap fix. The problem was it was so trouble free I was bored of it. I like to tinker with old cars, that's what my 67 Beetle is for. The BMW was just too good for its own sake!