In the theme of our auto timelines, I thought I’d go through my alternate timeline - cars I almost bought and should (or should not) have. Definitely not exhaustive, but the ones that stick out in my mind.

(No actual pictures.)

1994: Early ‘90s Nissan 240SX Coupe, 5 speed

Looked at one of these in Dallas when I eventually bought the ‘87 Acura Legend. Can’t recall exactly why I chose the Acura, except we were a Honda family. I remember test driving it, the HUD, and the light green color. Think it was like this, but not two tone. In retrospect it was both a horrible idea to let this go, and a great one (I was not mature enough in high school for rear wheel drive).

2010: E23 BMW 733i

While looking for a project car I found an E23 BMW 733 (I think) with a manual transmission. Pictures looked good, good phone exchange with the seller (it was posted on bimmerfest forums), but the car was at least 2 hours away. Really hard to justify that kind of time on a weekend to just look at a car with a 2 year old and infant at home. Another one I look back at and wish I would have at least gone and seen it in person.

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2009: E30 325i

Was looking at this when I ended up with the E36. What I remember is that it was mechanically very sound, and had decent records, but had some janky electrics. There was some toggle switch under the dash, pretty sure it was for the lights. Like this one but significantly rougher aesthetically.

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 2012: B5 Audi A4 1.8T Quattro, manual transmission

Was looking for what ended up being my 2006 GTI. This was relatively low miles and dirt cheap. Looked solid but has a slipping clutch, so I didn’t even take the step of getting a PPI. It was silver, you all know what it looks like, so I’m not even bothering with a picture.

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2012: 2006 GTI 6 speed

The first GTI I looked at seriously. Took it for a PPI, the shop owner told me flatly “this one has been run hard, stay away”. And I listened. It was white with rattle-canned black wheels, which should have been a giveaway. Imagine the picture below, but what it would look like sitting at a buy-here pay-here lot in Houston.

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2015: 2016 Audi S3 DSG

Looked at leasing a new one of these (ended up leasing the 328), and even got to a quote for trading in the GTI and payments on the lease. Deal breaker was no manual transmission. Darn it was fun though. That blue is a great color, almost exactly like the picture below.

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2015: B6 Audi S4 6 speed

Same search as before, this was CPO at a dealer in north Houston. Looked pretty good, but once I drove it I just didn’t feel “it”. Since I wanted something low maintenance I knew I wasn’t going to modify it much, so I passed. Grey, and again you all know what it looks like.

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 Making this list was almost more fun than the actual timeline.