7.21.2009

Cars I've Owned (Part 5 of 14)


1981 BMW 320is
Owned: 2001 to 2001
Aka: “The Fling”

The “is” variant on the E21 chassis was an ultra-rare factory model that came with Recaro seats, a sport steering wheel, limited slip differential on the transmission, basket weave style wheels, and a front air dam. Needing just a reliable commuter car, I picked this up for a good price and was expecting what I got out of the ‘82 that had been so good to me. Unfortunately, this little romance didn’t last very long. I owned it for less than a year, just a few months actually. After dumping some money into it to get it repainted and about $2,000 in misc. mechanical repairs, one afternoon without even doing anything abnormal I simultaneously snapped the throttle cable and blew the engine, coasting into a Baja Fresh parking lot near the old Tower Records on Bascom Avenue in San Jose (what? the details of painful memories stick with you). Fucking cars. This was probably karma coming around for the extraordinarily, unnaturally long life the ’82 had. Like one of Neil Gaiman’s Endless, this was “Brief Lives” indeed. Mine was Polaris Silver, a really choice color, but the pic is a white one which best demonstrates some of the differences between the regular 320i and the “is” models. A&E Performance in Campbell offered to buy and install a crated new engine for a very reasonable price, but I felt like this was a big investment for an unknown chassis and passed, just frustrated as hell. I ended up selling old girl for like $500 to a friend of a friend who was a mechanic to be dismantled as a parts car.

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