10 years ago today, 22 year old Tripper called a man about a car. I had only seen pictures, and had plans to go and see the car. However, the salesman with whom I had been talking with called at almost 9pm and said something to the effect of “I have a guy from Michigan who wants to fly in tomorrow and drive the car home. So if you want it I need a deposit.” My brain immediately called BS on someone flying in to get the car, but it didn’t matter I wanted that car. I told the guy I would call him back in 30 minutes. I then had a short discussion with my father, his advice was (paraphrasing) “This is a big purchase for such a young guy, and it’s a bad deal. The price of the car is good, but you’re underwater on a car that you have only owned for six months. On top of that you haven’t owned a car for more than 15 months, and you can’t keep doing that. However, if this is really what you want then do it, it’s an awesome car and when you’re young is a perfect time to have an awesome car. Minutes later I called the guy back with my deposit.

(M3 circa 2007/my best friend’s 2006 STi limited)

When I put the deposit on the M3 I was driving a 2004 STi. I had recently driven that STi into a deer and the “insurance” shop that fixed it did a terrible job. We’re talking a noticeable color difference on a silver car. It was so bad that when I sent pictures to the dealer with the M3, they said “what’s with the two tone car?” They salesman called and reluctantly informed me that they would have to hack our agreed upon trade in number by 2k if I traded in the car like that. So I called the body shop back and told them they had to fix their fix. They were not going to do it, and said that I was being “over the top” about it. They caved once I told them the situation with the M3, but the manager just kept saying “you should buy a house instead”. I didn’t need a house at 22, I needed an M3.

I worked long hours for Circuit City’s home theater division at the time, Monday-Thursday 8am-10pm most days. Friday-Sunday I worked for a Valet company, and in the hours in between I ran my side hustle (A/V PC consulting/install). I did all the paper work for the M3 via fax/snail mail, but it was looking like I wouldn’t be able to get the car for weeks. My dad had offered (with a shit eating grin) to go an pick the car up for me several times, but I said “no” wanting to be the first to drive it. Since I bought the car sight unseen, the dealer was willing to let me get a “post purchase inspection” done to make sure that the car checks out. After a few days the dealer grew impatient (understandably so), so I let my dad go and get it. I think it was into February before I actually had the car. I remember just staring at it out of the window of my apartment barely believing it was mine!

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The car also has a production date of 2/02. So it turns 15 as it celebrates 10 years in my driveway. I have taken painfully good care of this car. Receipts total nearly half of the purchase price at this point. Any interior bit that was scratched, I bought a new one. Any rubber piece that looked faded/cracked I bought a new one. I’ve replaced badges, had seats re stitched. Each time I have had to take a door card off. I have replaced every plastic clip with a brand new one... The cars only mods are a set of competition package wheels, and a short shifter (UUC EVO3 + a stiffer connecting rod, and a ZCP weighted knob).

I wish I had better pictures! You would think I would over 10 years, but I’m the type who would rather stay in the moment when it’s time to pull out the camera.

It didn’t happen all at once but a Phoenix Yellow M3 transitioned me from a jackass kid to a man child adult. The Fall after I bought the M3, I met my the woman who would become my wife and the rest is history. Other than the M3 I have not owned a car for more than 20 months in my 16 years behind the wheel.

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TL;DR I bought an E46 M3 10 years ago sight unseen and I still have it, even drove it to work today.

Happy Thursday!