Maybe you got to buy your first car, I didn’t. I spent 8 years driving before I was able to buy a car myself. Did I have a car? Yes, but one that had been given to me.
Back in June of 2006, a couple months after I turned 16, I got my license. I passed on the first attempt, barely. I got 78/100 points; in Georgia you need to make a 75 to pass. Pretty sure he passed me because my car had AC. I took the test in my dad’s 2002 Regal. This was not my first car.
Later that month, my granddad purchased a 2008 Escape. Yes this was 2006 and no, I don’t understand how model years work either. The car he had been driving was a 1997 portofino blue metallic 2 door Explorer. Instead of being traded in, it was bequeathed to me, with a mere 61425 miles on the odometer. It was never the car I wanted it, but it was a car nevertheless and 16 year old me was happy to have a car.
I got my first job of any sorts in spring of 2007. My parents never really pushed me one way or another to get a job, so I never really looked for one. I was also busy with marching band in the evenings in the fall and was taking several AP/Honors classes. My friend worked at a country club as a cart boy. Normally there were two to three cart boys there at one time to attend the carts and pick the range and general country club things. Well, this one evening, he was going to be working alone and told the manager that he had a friend that could come work. So they called me up and told me to come in. Pretty easy way to get your first job.
This meant I now had a source of income.
I had wanted a BMW for a number of years at this point and started to save up to buy one. The only problem was the fact I already had a car and really didn’t have a place to park it let alone a second car. This would mean that I would have to sell the Ford, something that my dad was not on board with.
A decade later he did told me if he knew what he did now, he’d gotten a BMW a lot sooner. He’s got a 135is now.
This would mean that high school me would not be driving a BMW to high school to park between an E46 323i and an X3. We had assigned spaces and those are the two cars I parked between my senior year of high school it’s like they were taunting me.
I did keep trying to convince my dad to let me sell the Explorer. I saved up over 6k before college started and selling the Explorer would have netted me enough to get something with a roundel on it, but this was not to be.
I started at Georgia Tech in fall 2008. Freshman are not allowed to have cars on campus their first semester. After that my parents scoffed at the $800/year cost of a parking permit. So I didn’t even have a car in college.
When I was home, I was allowed to use a car. This begins the tradition of my dad having me drive the most unreliable car at the time. When the Buick was having problems, I drove that, when the 2002 Explorer was having problems, I drove that, when the 1997 Explorer was having problems, I drove that. I will say, all those problems did eventually get fixed.
I graduated from college in December 2012. Failing out put me a little behind. Despite this and the economy not being amazing, I was still able to find a job. Little did I know that this job was about to make the BMW dream a reality.
When I landed in Houston in September of 2013 I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The first two weeks were pretty good. Then I flew from Tulsa Oklahoma back to Georgia to pick up my Explorer and drive to Alice Texas.
When I got to Alice Texas, I was in complete and utter shock; what the fuck did I just get myself into. My first trip out to the oilfield was in October of that year. Once again bewildered by everything.
The upside was they were paying for my apartment and I had a pretty decent salary, so I was saving a lot of my money. This is when I realized that no, an E39 M5 or E46 M3 would not be my first car I bought, I could afford an E9X M3.
I had some friends in Houston and seeing as I had literally nothing else to do on days off, I went and visited.
During one trip, I find a manual E92 M3 to go look at and since it’s a short distance from his apartment, he obliges. Not only do I get to look at it, I get to drive it. This was the first time I’d ever test driven a car and it’s a 60k E92 M3. I immediately fell in love. I had to have one of my own. It was easy to walk away, it was 10k more than I wanted to spend, was a coupe, and was black.
I remember walking up to the dealer and seeing a white E90 M3 in a side lot. I made a comment to my friend that if the white car was the one we were coming to look at, we’d probably be buying it.
Less than a month later, it’s listed online. It’s 53k, which is more than I wanted to spend, but I have to have it. I call and make arrangements to see the car on my days off.
When I get to the dealer, the salesman is conveniently busy. He hands me the keys and tells me to have fun. Did 23 year old me just get handed the keys to his dream car? Yeah, that just happened.
Side note, if you really want to try and make someone make a stupid financial decision, do something like that.
I get back from the test drive. I have to have it. So I try and buy it. Well, the problem is that no one wanted to loan a 23 year old 50k to buy his dream car. I have to leave the dealer depressed I couldn’t get the car. Well, they vow to keep trying.
Since I’m a college grad with in the year, I’m eligible for BMW’s recent college graduate financing. Because what do you do right after you graduate college? You buy an M3. They approve me, but the caveat is I have to put down 10k, not the 5k I wanted to. It’s not that I didn’t want to put down more than 5k, that’s all I had since I only had been working two months and my account balance on day 1 was around $150.
I had an investment account that my dad set up some time in the mid-90s. I could borrow from there.
When I asked my dad if I could, he said it was my money and I could do with it what I wanted.Yeah, I want this M3. So I begin to looking into how to get the money out. When I find out that it’s a little complicated, I take this as the final sign and walk away for good. The first sign should have been the $994/month for 60 months car loan I was signing. Like I said earlier, emotions.
I would like to say, I stopped shopping for M3s at this points, but no I didn’t.
I have 6 days off at Christmas, so I book a flight home, on Christmas day. Couple days after that, a friend is in town and there is the 2008 E90 M3 that’s super cheap at Global Imports. I didn’t want a 2008, but this was like 35k. So I go over to test drive it. Of course I start talking numbers, but before I can actually think about buying it, the guy who got there 5 minutes before me buys it.
Probably should have quit searching then, but I didn’t.
Fast forward to March 2014. My explorer had been acting up and not starting randomly. It eventually died at my apartment complex and I had it towed to Ford. This thing has had a bunch of issues, maybe I should get that M3 now. Unsurprisingly, there are no E90 M3s in Alice Texas for me to go buy. There is one on carmax, but it’s in Dallas. It’s a black 2008, but once again it’s cheap.
I called Geico to see if towing was covered. Nope, my dumb ass wanted to save that $3/month and not get it. In the process of getting towing added to my policy I get a quote for the M3. What surprises me is that the quote is within $50 of my current 6 month premium. So what you’re telling me is that it’s effectively the same to insure a 1997 Explorer and a 2008 M3 as a 24 year old? Sounds like at least my insurance won’t go through the roof.
Never even called carmax about the car. I had less than a month before I would be out of the country for 2 months, so now isn’t the time to get the car and worry about it while I’m in Siberia.
Just because you’re in Siberia doesn’t mean you can’t shop for M3s. I found this perfect one in San Anotio: White, 6MT, style 359s. The only problem was that it was on the market a while and it had Oregon plates on it. This was a time when 6MT E90s seemed to be on the market less than a week or so. As much as I wanted it, I didn’t even bother to contact the person selling it.
Once back from Russia and moved into my apartment in Corpus, it’s time to find one and buy it.
I searched every day for two months. I almost gave up and got a coupe. Then one day, I’m at the man camp. We’re down because the well we were supposed to go to isn’t ready yet and they don’t have another well ready. So I’m browsing autotrader. I come across a new listing without pictures, it’s in Dallas but the details look promising.
I’m at home the next day, and I get back on autotrader and the listing now has pictures. It’s grey, with idrive, leather, and more importantly a 6MT. At 50k, it’s more than I really wanted to spend, but I wanted it. I call the dealer and explain I won’t be able to look at it until August because I have to work the my last set of days off in July.
Being a car dealer and wanting to get the deal done before the end of the month, he comes up with a solution that I’m completely on board for. He offers to bring the car to me at no cost. At that point I’ll sign all the paperwork. I put $1000 down payment on my credit card and schedule the delivery for Sunday night. I had a rare Friday through Sunday off, but I was told that I had to attend a class in San Antonio for those days. The entire time all I could think about was my M3.
Sunday comes and I’m filled with anticipation. I can’t wait for this to get here, and when it does I’m elated.
I drove it around for a bit, but I had to get ready to go back to the field for night shift on Monday. I wanted to do nothing more than drive it, but that would have to wait, because I had to work 6 night shifts first.
After that I came home and open the garage and just stared at my M3. My M3. Something that still puts a smile on my face three and a half years later.