Different Flavors, Same Bag

Car enthusiasts are like Jelly Beans, we come in a wide variety of flavors but we share the same bag. Some are born into the lifestyle through family tradition, stumble into it by accident, or get inflected by the “car bug” and never look back. It usually starts with one vehicle. One that stands out and grabs our attention without letting go and turns a car fan into an full blown enthusiast. I was always going to be a car-guy thanks to my father who introduced me into the hobby, however, I can still remember the first car that made me go, “wow, I want to know everything about this thing…right. Now!” That car was a red 1987 BMW E24 M6, and I saw it when I was 4-5 years old during a screening of Lethal Weapon 2.

Those of you who have seen the movie can remember the intro to the movie when Riggs and Murtaugh in hot pursuit of a red BMW coupe being driven by a German looking South African bad guy. I can’t remember why I was watching a rated R movie at such a young age but I can tell you that the only thing that stood out for me was that red car and its signature grille. Lethal Weapon 2 got me interested in cars beyond the typical Hot Wheels and Matchboxes, it got me interested in grown-up cars. From then on I was hooked on BMW. Through most of my childhood I would stare out the window during car rides and call out every BMW I saw. It was like a phase I was going through, a BMW spotting phase. If you can just picture a little boy trying to sit up in his car seat and shouting, “BMW!” out to nobody in particular. That’s what my parents had to deal with for several years.

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Eventually I grew out of my BMW phase and got into classic muscle cars and the obsession has been snowballing ever since. I still love BMW’s but they are still currently out of my wallet’s reach. Would I want to own an E24? Does the Pope wear white?! But I’d gladly “settle” for an M5 of any year.

The irony of BMW’s being my first brand obsession is that I’ve never driven a BMW in my life. I’ve never felt the sensation of the “Ultimate driving machine.” I’ve been a passenger in a 2004 328i, and parked a few of them when I worked as a valet, but that doesn’t count. I grew up in truck country, South Texas, not exactly the target market for sports sedans. Plus, everyone I know who has a BMW doesn’t trust me enough to lend me their keys. I wonder why…

Part of the reason why I got into the world of automotive journalism is to get a chance to drive cars I ordinary would have to work a lifetime to afford. It’s like a loophole for driving enthusiasts. Eventually I’ll get my hands on a BMW, but until then I’ll have to settle for Forza and Grand Turismo to get my driving fix.

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