Sunday, July 03, 2005

The BMW Box

A while back I posted about a friend's new BMW, a car I have seriously lusted after in the parking lot (the drool marks are starting to show; I think I owe her a car wash). To be honest, however, this is a manifestation of a long term BMW infatuation. My first car was a 1968 BMW 1600-2, bought for $850 when it had over 100,000 miles on the odometer. Squatty, square, and the possessor of the world's largest steering wheel, it took me everywhere in my teens and early 20s.

My father, ever patient with machines, was able to help me rebuild the engine, replace the water pump (twice), replace the radiator, install a stereo, replace the rear end differential, and replace the frequently worn out constant velocity joint boots over the years. It was so square that my brothers and I dubbed it "the box;" its trunk was large enough to hide a few extra riders when entering a drive in theater. What it lacked in looks, it also lacked in power, generating a mind-numbing 83 hp.

I grew to love the way that car drove. Ever since, I have only felt comfortable driving a car that has minimal power assistance, especially for steering. As I grew older, I would dream about owning another BMW -- first the 2002, then the 3.0 CSi (still my favorite style), then the 320i....and then my interest petered out (until now). As much as I enjoy the reliability of my Toyota, I'd still like to take a spin in a Bimmer -- even my old 1600.