A Four-Cylinder BMW E30 Led To My New Year’s Resolution
Photography by Armand Rosalie
More often than not, a passion for classic cars starts at one of two ages: either when you’re very young and have the world of cars presented to you by someone who knows what they’re talking about, or if not then, it often happens when you sit behind the steering wheel for the first time and immediately want something that feels “real.” Once the flame is lit though, the passion is the same, regardless of how it first came to be. However, there are endless ways to approach this shared enthusiasm: it can be seen in your driving style, entering in or simply watching competitions, reading and sharing stories, traveling or creating artwork, sharing some beers and bullshitting about cars, whatever it may be!
I am writing this from France, in Strasbourg, on a very quiet Sunday. Earlier, after a quick phone call that also functioned as my alarm clock, my friends Arnaud and Kevin and I swap the comfort of our beds for the cockpit of their BMW E30s. After a quick visit to the local Cars & Coffee, we decided to go off on our own to explore the downtown and its abandoned industrial areas, maybe taking a few photos along the way. Having already had the opportunity to ride in Arnaud’s 320i, and having a 325i myself, I took the passenger seat of the beautiful red 318is. Intrigued by this model and the sound of the sixteen-valve four-cylinder, I knew it wouldn’t be a rocket but I wanted to see how it compared to the rest of the range. Kevin, the owner of the 318is, chose this model because of its characteristics in the high rev range, in addition to the reduced overall weight thanks to the small four-pot that adds a suprising amount of agilety to the second-gen 3-Series. I’d previously been a bit stubborn I think, long holding the opinion that a proper E30 had to be a six-cylinder if it wasn’t wearing an M3 badge, but some time in Kevin’s car convinced me otherwise.
The reason I’m recounting this day is to get at a larger point, and a New Year’s Resolution of sorts. It’s basically coming down to “keep an open mind,” but I think it’s a bit more than that when it comes to cars. I know I’ve been a bit thickheaded in the past in terms of what I think is acceptable in terms of cars and how they’re used and modified, and I’m not trying to say I will automatically begin to appreciate everything I’ve previously written off, but it does pay to take a different philosophy than assuming your way is the only way.
At the heart of any car community, the strength comes not from the machines, but from the way the group behaves. I’d rather be around the kind of people who are in it to meet up and share rather than passive aggressively competing with one another and not branching out from their habits. So, my resolution is to put myself in the shoes/seats of other vintage car enthusiasts more often—perhaps not to change my outlook necessarily, but to at least expand it. What about you, what is your New Year’s Resolution as it relates to Driving Tastefully?