This is that story; however, it does not start in Boston, where we picked the car up, it starts in Nashville.
I went to the Southeast Oppo Meet up in June of 2017, this is where OpposResidentLexusGuy, ORLG, and I met in person. Naturally being car guys we become friends. This became important because without him getting one of his dream cars, this would have not been possible.
I can’t speak for ORLG, but I can speak as to what we talked about in the months prior to this. Originally the plan was to get something for around 25k and it had to be an enthusiast car. Well, that eventually turned into around 30 that’s when it turned into might as well look into IS-Fs at that point.
As long as you can afford it, I’m all for someone getting their dream car. If you can truly afford go for it; that means purchase price, maintenance, gas, and insurance. If not, keep dreaming. I fulfilled my dream of getting an M3. I’ve written the story several times, as I always enjoy telling it. Talking with ORLG about him getting his dream car brought all the emotions back, because it was not a straight path for him to get the car; there were a plethora of obstacles. From getting the car financed, to getting the dealer to let us leave the lot, to actually getting it home. I’ll let ORLG tell that story, as he knows all the details. All I will say is as soon as he was green lit for the loan, I purchased a non-refundable ticket from Savannah to Boston and the road trip was on.
I think the road trip was my idea; I had told him if he bought one I would road trip it home with him. The problem with cars like the E90 M3 and the IS-F is that they’re not common cars. You can’t just walk down to your local dealer and expect for them to have one. As a result, you’re going to have to open up your search a little. I bought my M3 over the phone from a dealer in Dallas, when I was living in Corpus Christi. They brought it to my door, I didn’t get to drive it the 6 hours home. I think because of this, I really wanted to do the road trip I never got to do in my M3; fly up, pick a car up, and drive it home. It had been something I had wanted to do for a while; definitely on my to do list.
The IS-F that ORLG purchased was in Boston and he was in Nashville, looks like had now been afforded the opportunity to road trip a car home.
I wake up at 3:45 AM, shower and get dressed. I hop in my E92 and head to Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport. Park my 3 at the airport and head to security. The only hiccup so far was the fact that I couldn’t get the machine to print me a boarding pass, for whatever reason I prefer a paper boarding pass to the one on my phone. Looks like for the first time I would be using my phone. That went off without a hitch. I get through security no problem and get to my gate with plenty of time to spare before my flight. They let active military board first and there are about 30 of them on my plane, and they all have carry ons. Luckily I only had one bag that would fit under my seat, so the inevitable lack of overhead storage space wouldn’t be a problem. I’m one of the last ones to board and shortly afterwards they close the boarding door. There is no one in the seat next to me, so my feet won’t be cramped 0n this short flight to Atlanta; so this is how this road trip is going to work.
I get to Atlanta a little early. There I have about an hour or so to kill. So I get breakfast and some coffee and make my way to the next gate. I thought about having a beer because the airport is the only place you don’t get judged for having a beer at 7 AM, but seeing as I’m already tired, probably not the right move. When I get on the plane to Boston, I’m greeted by an empty middle seat. Perfect, I get to be comfortable on this plane too. At 10,000 they turn the WiFi on and good news, I can connect and send messages for free. ORLG had landed about an hour before me so I texted him and told him what my gate number was. He was waiting for me at the gate.
Once I deplaned, ORLG contacted the Acura dealer and told them that we were good to go. Basically as soon as we got out of the terminal a green Acura MDX was pulling up to pick us up. The trip still had this feeling of everything just working itself out perfectly. Once at Acura of Boston, there was some final paperwork to take care of and put the temporary tag on the car. Massachusetts does not have temporary tags, so ORLG had to get a Tennessee one. That was an ordeal with almost derailed the trip at the last minute, but once again he’d be better at telling the story. However, like everything else with this trip, it just worked out and he had gotten the temp tag the Wednesday before the trip.
Temp tag and oppo sticker applied, it was time to hit the road with the destination of Pittsburgh. One of ORLG’s college friends is in graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh and we had planned to stop there for dinner then continue until we could go no further, sleep in the car for an few hours then continue on. For reasons that will be explained later, this did not happen.
We got out of Boston without incident and hopped on I-90 headed for Pittsburgh through Connecticut, New York, and most of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, the weather is the one thing that’s not cooperating. Massachusetts was alright, but when we stop for fuel in Connecticut it begins to rain.
This is my first time in theses states, my mom is from New York, so I’ve been there numerous times, but this was my first time in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. They’re absolutely beautiful. I understand why people want to live here.
Along with the fuel stop, we stopped at Subway to eat lunch. The car was hungry too, hungry to eat up the miles.
We powered on into New York where it continued to rain.
This is the first time I will talk about tires, but not the last. The IS-F came with A/S 3s when we picked it up. 255/35/R19 on the back and 245/35/R19 on the front. These tires handled the wet weather conditions wonderfully. There have been times that my M3 wanted to swap ends on me on the highway because of the PS2's on the back. Not this car, no it ate up the miles in the wet.
There really isn’t much to this part, it was a truly uneventful drive through Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. Now it was time to enter our fourth state: Pennsylvania.
Really the only eventful thing of the whole trip so far has been those one or two people that didn’t look before changing lanes. I don’t know what it was, but there was a Camry and an F150 that almost ended our road trip in New York when it was still in its infancy. We had hit some traffic in the North Eastern states, but so far the biggest impediment to our journey was the lower speed limits. Once we got to Pennsylvania, the limit did increase to 70 and we started to make good time. While we were making good time, we still had a long way to go.
About an hour later, it was time for our second fuel stop. So we stopped somewhere in Pennsylvania, the IS-F now covered in salt after 7 hours of driving through the North. While it’s thirsty, about 23 MPG, it’s not as nearly thirsty as my M3 due to the fact that it has 2 more gears; 80 MPH is only about 2000 RPM in the Lexus.
The plan at this point was still to stop in Pittsburgh, have dinner and then plunge deep into the night. I had bought two red bulls at the fuel stop and was mentally preparing myself to drive through the night. Once again, the trip was uneventful, there was some thick fog, but we were still able to continue on.
We reached Pittsburgh at about 9 that evening. I starting to feel pretty tired; I had been up since 3:45 and hadn’t been able to sleep on either flight. In Pittsburgh, we picked up ORLG’s friend and set off for dinner. On our way to dinner, this is where the only problem of trip reared its ugly head. We hit a pot hole. It punctured the right front tire. It immediately went flat and we were forced to stop on a surface street in Pittsburgh.
It’s Saturday night at 9:30, what are we going to do.
Well, the first order of business was to put the spare on. There was some talk of calling AAA, but that was quickly quelled. I’ve got an engineering degree and I worked in the oilfield for 3 years, I think I can manage to change a tire. Luckily the IS-F comes with a spare, it’s a donut, but a spare nevertheless.
I break the lug nuts, then we jack up the car, and put the donut on. Thankfully the IS-F has a spare, if this had happened in my M3, we would have been a lot worse off.
Spare on, we continue to dinner. ORLG’s spirits are in the dumps; the problem when you buy your dream car is that nothing exists in a vacuum and things happen to it, and it really gets you down. I was a little worried we would have a problem finding a tire shop with an A/S 3 245/35/R19 on a Sunday, but I at least remain optimistic. We crash at his friends place, where I realize how tired I really am. Holy shit I’m tired.
We were up around 7:30 the next morning. The game plan from the night before was to call around and see if we could find a tire once places start to open at 9. We call several places before we both find stores with the exact tire we need. The one I call only has one and says they might have trouble mounting it and the one ORLG calls has four and they say they would be able to fit us in between appointments. Luckily it’s only about 20 miles away.
One of the guys there immediately comes out to look at it and we despite the sicker on the door saying we need 225/35/R19s, ORLG tells him that we want the 245/35/R19 to match the good one already on the left tire. We’re there for under 10 minutes when they take it back. I make some coffee and when I come back from the coffee machine, ORLG is talking to someone. He had pulled up in a E90 328i xdrive and we then start talking about BMWs. It’s great to be a car person. In the mean time, they had put a new tire on and ORLG asked if I wanted to take over driving, yes I did. This would begin my 7 hour stint behind the wheel.
Neither ORLG nor myself had ever driven an IS-F before this trip; now it was my turn to see what it’s like. Normally, I don’t like electric power steering, but in this it was very communicative. I would say the M3 is a little better, but then again M is known for things like that. The engine is a differnt beast than in the M3, it’s only got 2 more horsepower, but it’s got 76 more torque. I would have to drive them back to back, but it didn’t feel any faster than my M3, it was just a different way of accomplishing speed. The M3 screams, while the Lexus bellows. The exhaust could also be a little louder; I hit redline in a tunnel in second was a little underwhelmed with the exhaust note, but then again it is a Lexus. I’m nitpicking, overall it’s a fantastic car. The seats were very comfortable. It was very easy to drive.
I made it through the rest of Pennsylvania, through West Virginia, then across the state of Ohio. The weather had improved from the previous day, it wasn’t completely clear out, but for the most part it had stopped raining. I was able to open it up. This is where I found out that the IS-F is a fantastic highway cruiser. It just eats up the miles. If I had a choice between the M3 and the IS-F for a long freeway journey, I’d probably take the IS-F. It’s suspension is a little less hard and it get 5 MPG more than my M3. Don’t get my wrong, I would still buy the M3 over the IS-F, but I wouldn’t be opposed to owning both of them.
There was only one potential hiccup in Ohio, the speed trap I went through at 15 over the limit. Luckily the officer wasn’t shooting radar at the time, my radar detector registered no hits and the office didn’t even look up. A short time after that, we were in Kentucky. Once again, uneventful highway driving.
I continued on until just south of Louisville. There, we made our final stop and I handed the reigns back to ORLG to bring it on home.
We flew through the rest of Kentucky and in on into our final state: Tennessee.
We had under an hour left and we were flying; it was that point in the trip when you can taste the end and just want to be home. Luckily for us, there were no speed traps nor was there much traffic. We got into to ORLG’s house at just before 6 PM. It had been a long two days, I think we spent 18 hours in the car. Was it worth it? Absolutely, ORLG had his dream car in his driveway and I had one hell of a road trip.
In case you wanted to read more on the road trip: