I was going to write about this before but just never got to it. One of the few times I get down now is when I see a BMW 3-series (E46 or newer).
The only other time I had a car of my own was in high school for a little while, and even then it was a car that I had to share. I didn’t have a car all through college. My dad promised me that if I got into MCG, a public med school that would end up saving me a ton of money, that he would help me get a [reasonable] car of my choice. So I worked hard all through undergrad and finally got into medical school. Then, I got an E46 BMW 3-series—silver exterior, black interior, stick shift. I made sure it was a manual so that I would be the only one in my family (and among most of my friends) who knew how to drive it. Man, I loved it.
I really babied that car. I told myself that I wanted to understand how to take care of cars on my own, so I got books and joined BMW forums and really learned the ins and outs of it. Since it was about time for me to do some maintenance on the German car when I got it, I did that and some repairs on my own, much to the amazement of a mechanic whom my dad showed it to. I added halo eyes to the front to make the car look beautiful at night and I also installed an iPod kit on my own that allowed me to control my iPod with the steering wheel. I put my sweat, blood (not really), and tears (not really) into it. I did put my heart into it.
Then about four months later, I got into my accident. I had to sell the car because nobody else in my family knew how to drive manual. At the time, when I was thinking about selling it, my mom told me, “Two things you should never be attached to in this world: cars and houses.” Then I decided to let it go.
So, whenever I see an E46 BMW 3-series, I pine after it. It's crazy how we miss the little things. I remember the feeling of the clutch under my left foot and the black leather shifter in my right hand. Life was so much easier with the windows down and the iPod blaring as I shifted into 5th gear.
I was thinking yesterday about how I could maybe get a car with a Tiptronic* transmission, allowing me to go from automatic to manual and not have to use a clutch. I would miss using the clutch pedal and comparing the ease/smoothness/sensitivity to different cars, but being able to shift through gears would still bring back some of the excitement.
Two days ago, I noticed that the car I have now does have that.
I felt really, really stupid for not noticing it earlier.
And then really happy as I started using the clutchless “manual” transmission.
This may not seem important to other people, but my BMW meant the world to me. And night-driving with the music on and the windows down is one of my favorite things ever—especially doing it while shifting gears.
*I know “Tiptronic” is the term for the manumatic transmission originally developed my Porsche, but I used it here because it seems like a more commonly used term than “manumatic”.
Speaking of Porches and Tiptronic transmissions, I saw my dream car in a handicapped parking spot yesterday. This also put a smile on my face.