After almost exactly one year of ownership my Boot let me down for the first time. At six o’clock in the morning I was heading home from work when the exhaust pipe burst in a spectacle eyewitnesses would have compared to the climax of Batman Begins - just more colossal.
Since I was tired and had no suitable tools with me, I left the Bimmer in a parking lot and took a bus ride of shame home. A few days later I returned to the scene of carnage with some tape, a screwdriver and I finally found a use for the rope I bought for the Norway trip. Well, for one of the fourty meters anyway, but I’m still marking this down as a win in my book!
As I lay in the dark on the freezing ground with sleet drizzling down on me you might assume that I was mad at the Black Wreck. Yet on the contrary I felt more connected to it than ever. I was even smiling.
I have the luxury of not needing the car on a daily basis and since it was cheap I was never expecting perfection. So I was prepared for the moment when something would go wrong eventually.
And we enthusiast secretly do love those moments, don’t we?
Because we’re wired wrong in our heads, we treat cars as living things and use technical terms to describe how our brain works. Failing makes our beloved automobile more human and it gives us the chance to get closer to it. Emotionally and physically. We love to own cars that need more maintenance than a fighter jet just to barely function on a sunday afternoon three times a year. How boring would the car world be with us saying: “My car worked very well in the last fifty years!”
We love to suffer and then to moan about our suffering. And you lot like to read about it. Well, I do.
And just like you give your kids a hamster to learn a thing or two about responsibility and to cope with loss - hopefully before granny dies - your first car has to be just enough of a shitbox to learn a few valuable lessons.
Old cars are cheap for a reason.
Mufflers are overrated. All your friends will agree.
Love will never be stronger than rust.
The trunk will inevitably look more and more like a tool shed. Here is the first picture I took of my car:
I sent emails to my friends who didn’t know what I bought at this point stating: “Luckily I bought a station wagon!”
And here’s the most recent one. Yeah...
(Hidden from view are the engine oil and the barely visible red bag contains jump leads).
Make sure to know how to use a screwdriver to hold a broken exhaust in place so you can fiddle with the rope one handed.
And despite all the decay and butchering on your twenty year old junker, be prepared to get really hurt when you break a tiny plastic pin because you will never hear and feel the satisfying snap again while closing the flap covering the tool compartment in the trunk. This is the kind of shit which essentially makes your car feel worn out and just too old at some point. Fuck!!
The reward for all this crap however is what we enthusiasts actually look for in car ownership:
Character and something we idiots like to call “an experience”.
Damn, it was cold that day. I was lucky not to piss blood for two weeks after lying on my back all the time.
Did I mention that I love my car though?