Seems like there’s a turning point in each petrolhead’s life where these things we’ve always had an interest in become our true passion. We all grew up playing with Hot Wheels and reading magazines, but it’s really only when you can get behind the wheel and experience some of these incredible machines that it awakes the senses and the soul to what a joy driving a car can be. For some, that process takes longer than others. Here’s my story:
I’ve always had a love for cars, fostered from a young age by my dad and my older brothers, but most of my driving life has been spent in used Japanese sedans of some sort or another. I’ve always had a manual transmission through the years, which does definitely make driving a “slow car fast” more fun, but as much as I enjoyed my time in these cars and as good and fun as some of them where, none of them could really be considered special.
So, several years ago, I was finally ready to get something different. I made a list of all my wants and needs and then started making a list of the cars that checked all those boxes within my price range. I wanted a manual, RWD/AWD and four doors, among other things. Early on, I drove a ‘12 WRX but quickly took it off the list because of the feel of its shifter and its poor (even compared to my ‘05 Mazda 3s) interior quality. I considered trying out an Evo or an E39 M5, but none were readily available to test drive locally. After some time passed, I was highly considering an ‘11 G37 sedan that was four hours away in Dallas, and, because of my search parameters, noticed that there was an ‘08 M3 sedan for sale down there too (and that prices had fallen somewhat close to my price range, even though it would still be a considerable stretch). I decided that I owed it to myself to find out just how good a car like that was, so a friend and I went down the next weekend to drive the two cars (and any others we might come across down there).
I drove the G37 first, and it was a great car. It would have fit my needs perfectly, and I could have been very happy with it. I liked it enough that I actually put down the $99 to start the transfer process to Oklahoma (it was at a CarMax). But then I drove the M3, and it was... a revelation. The sounds it made, the feel of the steering, the vicious acceleration, the beautiful, brutish design... I was hooked. But it was almost $10k more than I’d initially set my budget for a new car.
I drove home that evening, completely unsure of what do to. I was raised in a home without a lot of money, in a very frugal way (I call it Depression era mentality), and this car was going to be over $20k more than I’d spent on my Mazda, and more than anyone in my family had ever spent on a car. Based on my reaction to it, my friend was convinced that I was going to get the M3, but I really wasn’t at that point. I’ve always had a very hard time parting with money... I went home, and told Mrs. addiction everything about both cars. She must have heard it in my voice and seen it in my eyes. With no hesitation, she encouraged me to get the one I loved (even though she was pregnant with our 3rd child and hadn’t told me yet!); she said that I’d just regret it if I didn’t. Yeah, I love this chick...
The deal was done shortly after that. I could have looked around for a while to see if there were others for sale, but the car was in great shape, with some remaining warranty, in the color I wanted, relatively close, and at a fair price. Driving it home was surreal, and I still look at it three years later and think, “Damn, that’s my car.” I ended up being able to pay off my loan three years early, so my concern about being able to afford it really wasn’t an issue. And it’s been so worth it. I love driving it every day, have had it to the track numerous times and take weekend driving trips just to enjoy the car and fun roads in the Ozarks a few times a year. I waited until I was almost 35 to buy my first sports car, which is probably way too long, but as they say, good things come to those who wait!
Let’s hear about the one that first moved you.