Well it has certainly been a while since I posted anything here. Many many MANY automotive changes for me.
As my SN alludes to I have owned a few M-cars. My most beloved was my Phoenix Yellow E46 M3. I spent two years looking for the car I eventually found. My criteria was: 6-spd manual, slicktop, Phoenix Yellow or Laguna Seca Blue, M-cloth or Black Leather. I already had an E36 M3 for a dedicated track toy so this was going to be the more street friendly DD machine.
I looked high and low, generally being disappointed by some problem or unwanted feature on the potential candidate. The most common of course being the hated SMG or a weight-adding sunroof. This might seem silly, but I live overseas and limited my search to US models that I could import when it came time for me to move back.
My difficult search hit a high-point on a snow filled February day in 2012 when a local dealer listed a freshly traded car on the local Craiglist-style website. It seemed perfect in the pictures so I immediately braved the snowfall and drove the 35 minutes to the dealer.
When I arrived I knew the car was perfect. Specs: Phoenix Yellow, Slicktop, 6-speed manual, manual black leather seats and Xenon headlights. That’s it, very basic and very clean car. It also already had most of the modifications I had planned on doing and was a great base to start with. I was a bit let down the on the first visit since it wore MPSS rubber and there was six inches of snow on the ground. I immediately placed a deposit and waited for the snow to melt slightly so I could take it for the necessary test drive. I only had to wait a few days before that happened then I rushed up again to try out the car I had waited so long for.
In short, it was amazing. I had test driven many E46s to this point and this car blew me away with how it drove, sounded, and reacted to my inputs. It was THE one.
Before I finalized the purchase I had it put through a thorough PPI and it came back clean as a whistle. Included (a rare thing) from the dealer was a huge stack of receipts and paperwork for maintenance and modifications done to the car. The previous owners had taken meticulous care of it.
I took delivery shortly after and had a blissful ownership experience. My E36 M3 was starting to show its age and was requiring more maintenance that I was growing tired of, finally ending up with a cracked head on the old S52. With these problems the new-to-me E46 was taking up the DD and track duty slack. The switch in priorities for it prompted me to buy an E90 M3 for DD and baby slinging duty, a great machine for the job.
The E46 was a dream to drive on the track. It gave perfect feedback, heel-toeing was magical, I could point the car to every apex and it was nearly telepathic to my inputs. I had completed over 200 laps of the Nordschleife with it and we were a dialed in team. In short, I loved this car.
Near the beginning of the track season this year (as I had done many times before) I took it to a shakedown session at the Hockenheimring to see how the car was doing and to shake off the winter rust on my driving talent. The previous two weekends there were very successful and I expected more of the same.
But it was a cool day and when I was 10 minutes into the 15 minute track session....I ran out of talent. I spun out of a turn and hit the tirewall backwards at around 70 MPH. Not a good day. It was quite obvious the car was going to be totaled out. I was devastated when the report came back. I had plans of taking the heart out of it and into something else but I couldn’t do it. I destroyed my perfect forever car and I didn’t want to be reminded of my brief shortcomings as a driver.
I still miss the car even after replacing with a M4. The new car is amazing and quick as hell on the track, but the driving experience is a little too video-gamey for me and lacks the driving feel of the old E46. I am on the lookout again for “the one”.