Journal: Which Classic Car Gets On Your Nerves?

Which Classic Car Gets On Your Nerves?

Andrew Golseth By Andrew Golseth
June 10, 2016
70 comments

When I hear, “My dream car is an E30 M3,” my eyes glaze over. Complete silence. Distant white noise slowly builds until all I hear is an ear-piercing ring. I mentally drown out the speaker’s ramblings on how the flamboyant Motorsport-fiddled entry level BMW won the World Touring Car Championship (once, in 1987, by a single point). It also won two European Touring Car Championship titles and…zzz…

Yes, I get it. It’s “God’s Chariot” and you believe there’s yet to be a greater automotive achievement. Here’s the thing: you can’t argue with E30 M3 fanatics. They’ve made up their mind: it’s a flawless piece of German engineering. Though, one man thinks he can improve it, but I think BMW already did: it’s called the E36 M3.

To me, the E30 M3 is the German equivalent to the R32, 3, 4 Skyline GT-R. So universally loved and praised I’ve become not only numb to its existence but also genuinely irked when it comes up in conversation. Yes, I’ve heard it a few thousand times now, care to chat about any other car? I’d honestly rather listen to someone eulogize the Studebaker Avanti or Zagato Zele.

I know: the first M3 is special. Folks who have far more right to praise it than I do condemn it have declared the E30 M3 as one of the greatest driving cars of all time. Here’s the catch: I’ve tried to appreciate the E30 M3 and from a mechanical significance perspective, it certainly gets my horsepower-per-liter nod of approval—but that’s about all the love I’ve got for the box-flared legend. I tried to jump aboard, but there’s just no room left on that bandwagon.

Funny enough, BMW is one of my favorite automobile manufacturers, making my disdain for the early M3 an unusual disliking. What classic car irrationally annoys you? Is there a commonly coveted classic that gets on your nerves?

Photography by Stephen Heraldo, Joshua Rizo, and Sudhir Vijaykumar

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Harvey Duncan
Harvey Duncan

I think most have been spouted in comments before that come to my mind. Cars like the AE86, the article had choice examples of Skyline and the M3 itself, NA Miata, and I think (to the chagrin of Petrolicious founders) the Alfa Romeo Spider was one that was kept alive too long because of “The Graduate.” Something car culture tends to do is have a lot of bandwagoners. There are plenty of cars I can admire, but not want, while others are just there. I’m sick of seeing 1957 Bel Air’s. Fine, it’s a piece of Americana, but it’s beaten… Read more »

Javier Berrocal
Javier Berrocal

I was on the market for an old BMWans while most people won’t get it my heart was set on an E21. Luckily for me a pointed me on the right direction and bought myself a 323i E21. Not nearly as loved or praised as the E30 but it just does it for me.

François Leblanc

To me.. any “muscle car” that had V8s with 4cyl performances (L30s and so on),. I can appreciate restaurations for the work it represents but whever I hear “muscle” linked to these cars, it drives me nuts. Once outfitted with appropriate mechanical organs they do get interesting.

Karl Hanson
Karl Hanson

Toyota supra.

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

I agree. I never cared for these and still don’t. Great little race car but not such a great daily driver. No bottom end whatsoever, lack of usable torque.

Nick Holbrook
Nick Holbrook

A rather amusing irony about the M3 is the (true) urban legend of how when new a lot of yuppies in the UK sold their E30 325i Sports to buy E30 M3’s, hated the M3’s and sold them pretty sharpish so they could buy E30 325i Sports again

bike farmer
bike farmer

The urquattro is a better car, and boxed flared as well before the m3.

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Robbe-
Robbe-

I have a 1st gen MX5/Miata but you will never hear me say that it’s the best car in the world.
I just happen to like Japanese cars, and an MX5 is just the most affordable almost-classic that you can buy with a student’s budget.

The classics that get on my nerves way too much are Mercedes from ’70s – ’90s. They are mostly in horrible condition and not properly taken care of, and worst of all, diesels.

hookemdevils22
hookemdevils22

The answer is always Miata. Except perhaps in this case, where it’s AE86.

Brian Marranzini

I owned a 1991 M3 and absolutely loved it but the car was only fun when you were flogging it pretty hard and keeping it high in the rev band while making the tires squirm around the pavement on corners. I sold it and got an E46 ZHP convertible 6MT, which was much easier to drive fast (deceptively easier as in, I had no idea I was doing 100MPH officer), though obviously heavier than the E30 it is 90% of the giggles at speed with 200% of the comfort and just a way better overall car. I loved the E30s… Read more »

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira

Anything obvious and overexposed, like E30 BMWs, 911s, first gen Camaros, etc, etc. Don’t be a sheep! Sure, those are fine cars, but other fine cars also exist. Dare to stray from the herd…

Doug P
Doug P

I consider myself a car enthusiast. The first car I bought with my own money was an e30 325i. I started learning more about the brand and the model line after the purchase, as well as more and more about cars in general. I bought an ’80s F Body, then an AWD e30, then my first new car, a ’97 GTP, as it one of the few supercharged vehicles available new at the time. And then an e30 M3 ‘fell into my lap’ when I was looking to replace the GTP. I had loved my two prior e30s and felt… Read more »

Igor Vukajlović

It’s not a classic yet…or maybe it is with first version, but whole thing about Miata is a bit too exaggerated these days. It’s claimed and praised as a true sports car but it is very discussable what is sporty here.

Michel dupuis
Michel dupuis

I owned 6 911 among 12 Porsches in total …(I know) the front engines or transaxles as well as mid eng. 914 were superior in most respect. Older 911 are nice but way overrated & dare I say priced !

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Tommy M. Williams

914 is my favorite. I have a limited edition 1974 914 LE Can Am “Creamsicle” named “Valentine” (my 3rd 914), a 1988 3.2 G50 911 Carrera and a 1994 968 coupe 6-speed manual.

Corran Helme
Corran Helme

911s. Good cars, no doubt, when one gets to know how to drive them, but definitely overhyped.

Maarten Coelingh
Maarten Coelingh

According to “proper” BMW fans the M3 can never be a proper BMW because common knowledge has it that no car can be a proper BMW without having a straight six.

(disclaimer) The above is sarcasm from someone who gets rather tired from fans of “proper” cars from certain brands, i.e. straight six Beemers, aircooled six pot boxer Porkers and V12 Italian penis enlargements

Per Eldh
Per Eldh

911. Oh dear not one more damn 911

Christian Bozeat
Christian Bozeat

911s definitely they are the road going equivalent to Rolex sub mariners and deck shoes. If you know nothing about cars buy a 911 . Don’t get me wrong Porsche make and have made some wonderful machines but please stop with the 911 worship. The engine is in totally the wrong place and it is basically derived from a squashed beetle. I also have a quite a bit of an issue with 308 Ferrari’s but that is another story!

Matthew James Jackson
Matthew James Jackson

Iv’e never even been in the same post code as an e30 m3 as far as i am aware. I did have a very basic e30 325i which i loved and eventually ran into the ground but my main dislike for the early m3’s is quite simple, no RHD and i wouldn’t drive a left hooker in the UK for love nor money.

Cameron S
Cameron S

Happily, I do not feel any kind of animosity towards any cars. What gets to me are so called car “enthusiasts” who think too highly of their opinions and who pompously criticize as if their words are infallible. Some of them are regulars here in the comments section.

One’s opinion matters as far as his or her own cars are concerned. To impose one’s preferences on something subjective however is certainly not tasteful.

I wonder what these people are doing in this channel. They seem to be better suited in the forums – the domain of people who never got through adolescence.

Ryan Wild
Ryan Wild

Also allthough the m3 has a weight distribution advantage over the 6 cyl it is a far less liveable car. One drive in my modified stroker 2.76L m20 powered 325is will yield a more visceral driv than any m3 I have driven. So when I get in a stockish m3 and the interior looks identical but I’m going slower at 4x the cost.

Ryan Wild
Ryan Wild

I own 3 very nice e30’s. Andrews point is it’s getting so mainstream in the collector car and auto publication world that it’s becoming the 80’s equivalent of a 69 Camaro. Yea they are cool and great but park a more obscure muscle car from the same era next to it with similar quality and I’ll find it cooler because it hasn’t been done to death. If you gave me e30 m3 money (40k) I would have a hard time choosing it over some less publicized more obscure 80’s icons that are relative bargains and far more exotic.

James Andrew
James Andrew

couldn’t agree more with everyone in regards to E30’s and early 911’s.
I cant wrap my head around the love of Mini Coopers.

David Katz
David Katz

I totally agree with you about the E30 M3 and its die-hard followers. I drove one when they first arrived at a local dealership and didn’t like it that much. To me, it was underpowered, only came alive when at high rpms, had a garsh ride and looked to me like a boy racer. Their enthusiasts are often myopic in their passion for a single car. I’ve not only been a BMW enthusiast for more than 40 years, but have owned no other car as a daily driver over those four decades (have owned several 2002s, a 633, E36 M3… Read more »

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

I always wanted an 80s 911 and a few months ago I had the opportunity to have one of the nicest out there, I passed. Perhaps it was a case of too much expectation from years of listening to cult-like hype about its virtues, but I found it terribly ordinary. Maybe I needed to really flog it. Some cars are like that.

Of the Nissan Skyline, now there’s a car I just don’t get.

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

Ever play Gran Turismo? if so you would get the Skyline

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

How on earth would playing a video game make you “get” the experience of driving a car? For real? Outside? Not staring at a screen? This is something my kid would say. God, I hate the fact you can’t buy a new car anymore that doesn’t have a screen dominating the dashboard, now a video game is the end-all be-all of the driving experience.

These are the people voting Skyline.

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

@Darel Matthews I think you misunderstood. It’s not that we are playing the game now, it’s that when we were kids in the 90’s there was only one really good racing game. And the cream of the crop car in that game was the Skyline. Also no one in the US had ever seen it since it was Japan only. It was a Unicorn. It’s like the poster you had on your wall as a kid, (depending on how old you are that car obviously changes), but this “poster” we could drive in the video game world. It’s not the… Read more »

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

Gotcha, I guess. I still can’t see how it’s an even remotely attractive car especially since all you can do is look at it (I mean, park a late-80s Nissan Stanza next to it and tell them apart…), but I suppose that’s better than basing your whole opinion of the driving experience on a video game. Thanks!

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

I sort of agree in that it’s no Ferrari GTO or for that matter Pontiac GTO. But in the age I grew up in cars were awful. If you say name a cool car from the 60’s there are hundreds, say the same for 80’s or early 90’s there is almost a silence. I always get asked why I have a FoxBody in the garage (amongst a few other more oddball things) and the answer is when I grew up, it was the coolest car around. I wanted my dad to have one so bad. But we had K cars… Read more »

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

This is a fun conversation, and considering the topic remarkably civilized.

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

Darel gets my point of view. It’s probably unfair to mention the Skyline because it doesn’t actually get on my nerves, but I struggle to find its appeal because for me, appeal begins with visual attraction. If I don’t find a car the least bit visually striking, there’s nothing else the car can do that I’m interested in. Yes, the visual thing is pure opinion and in the eye of the beholder, but most beholders will readily agree that the Jaguar E-type coupe is a good looking car. At the same time, some of them – like myself – see… Read more »

Frank Anigbo
Frank Anigbo

@Brian: truth be told, I and every kid I knew once thought that the Peugeot 504 sedan was the coolest thing ever! They were the yardstick against which every other car was compared, every other car being Volvo sedans, Ladas, Opels, mini buses, etc. To this day my heart still skips a beat whenever I see a 504 for sale. That’s what growing up in Africa did to me.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

I’m going to say that based on Brian’s description we’re about the same age. To this day, though, I don’t feel like I’ve “settled” (probably a poor choice of words) for cars that were available new when I was a kid. I was born in 1975 and I have virtually no interest in cars built in my lifetime. When I was a kid, I built car models, and while yes, I had the obligatory Countach, right next to it was a GT40, 356B, Stratos, Mercedes 500K, Lotus Seven and Dino. I used to make my dad drive 30 miles to… Read more »

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

@Derelict

I tried to give two honest reviews of the 911’s I owned on Jalopnik, the 997 died due to IMS and the 71 constantly had issues. I also think I could hear it rust at night if I were real quiet. Because they weren’t glowing reviews I had people threatening me, calling me a liar, telling me I am the scum of the earth. Months after the posts I still get people responding aggressively.

It’s really crazy what happens to people when you say Porsche

George Maffett
George Maffett

Any MOPAR

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito

Any car made in Germany.

Derelict
Derelict

ALL Porsches. They are spoken about in loud shouts and to say that you do not like them is apparently tantamount to punching your grandmother in the mouth. I just do not get them. Not at all. I would take just about anything over any Porsche.

Abbed Idriss
Abbed Idriss

The Skyline, every american muscle car ever, especially the Mustang. Every time someone talks about an air cooled Porsche I want sic a rabid dog on their genitals.

Richard Price
Richard Price

Pre 89 911 carrera, terrible 90\% of the time all the time. Mine was a good example but still it was an awful car. Understeer, gearbox made from mushy peas and the interior smelled of disappointment. Looked and sounded beautiful though. Even a Morgan +8 drives better.

The 944 s2 I had was far superior car.

Darel Matthews
Darel Matthews

1. American muscle (try doing something really outrageous, like turning, or stopping)
2. 911 (how is a modified VW they made 800,000 of worth $150,000?)
3. Any other Porsche dragged up in value by the ludicrous 911 bubble (I’m looking at you, $40,000 914….)
4. Anything Japanese made after the 240Z (cough…Skyline…rivaling the Camry for Most Boring Looking Fanboy Car Ever)

Zoran Milosavljevic
Zoran Milosavljevic

I do not understand the passion and especially the prices of American muscle cars, sure I like Mustangs as much as the next guy but they are fairly comon cars and even the special ones are little more than option packages of more mundane cars. Why people were paying hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, for a Hemi cuda or a Copo Camero, justifying the expence saying that only a few were made with these options, even when tens or hundreds of thousands were made just not with those options. Those cars hardly compair with cars that’s total… Read more »

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito

So rarity equals greatness? I doubt that very much.

Davis Harris
Davis Harris

The E30 saturation is the reason I ended up with my 944. I’ve had a soft spot for E30s since I first knew what they were. but by the time I had the means to buy one, they all had a sort of M3-tax. I ended up with my 944.1 because it’s often overshadowed by the E30. It’s marginally faster, better balanced, and forgotten as a cheap classic compared to the BMW. Going to the local car meets, there are at least a dozen E30s, but I’m the only 944. People rave on about the E30 as a great drivers… Read more »

Clayton Merchant
Clayton Merchant

I’m with you Andrew but for different reasons. As an E21 owner and enthusiast, it’s amazing to me how little credit and respect it gets as the forerunner to the E30 and therefore the M3. They are fantastically fun little cars to toss around and can be bought these days dirt cheap. Sure, they’ll never have the power of the E30, but the looks are even better to my eyes, minus the DOT bumpers of course, and the conversations they start are crazy fun. It’s amazing how quickly this car has been forgotten or how many people never knew of… Read more »

paolooch
paolooch

I hear you Clayton. E21 was my first car. ’81 with a manual. what a way to break one’s cherry. Didn’t even know how to drive a manual then! but I learned. I would love to get one as a second/project car. I remember the day I learned to let the tail out. Loved the looks and still do. Did a lot of work on that car in the day, another thing the car taught me! Jeez I just realized, it taught me how to drive, shift, and fix. yours looks great!

Ryan Corneliusen
Ryan Corneliusen

Yeah, hear ya. I’m a Bimmerphile and my good friend here in NJ started SIGFEST[.com] 15 or so years ago when he bought his immaculate low mileage E30 M3 [for $9000]. So I’ve been there to a few shows with him and the 60+ other snobby e30 m3 owners. The things that make me cringe though, are the kids that forget the past, with their Subaru STi’s that never see dirt, but end up with a fart can and sitting on the ground loaded with stickers on the windows. My STI-owning coworker said to me today, “Fiat has a car… Read more »

Brian Martinez
Brian Martinez

Any and all 911s. Yeah we get it. I had one for a while and could not take the pca.

First gen camaro. Seems like there are more on the road now than new.

CruiseMulholland
CruiseMulholland

‘modern’:

CruiseMulholland
CruiseMulholland

classic:

76ohtwo
76ohtwo

I’m a sucker for the E30 M3, but I would rather have one with a 24V. The S14 belongs in the E10/2002 chassis.

Lms
Lms

I’d divide it into modern and not-so-modern Modern: JZA80 Supra’s: They’ve aged well stylistically, and their drivetrains are certainly envious. But they are heavy, and laborious to drive, and they don’t do those lefts and rights too well (slow turn in response). Testarossa – I’ve driven several, and aside from the god awful styling, they just aren’t all that…other than the noise. Nothing about it made me wish I had one, aside from the appreciation of value they’ve enjoyed from, say, mid 90’s to now. Classic: Jaguar E type (coupe): the convertible’s are absolutely stunning. The coupe’s just look so… Read more »

Sam Person
Sam Person

I know it isn’t a classic, but the Carrera GT. Everything about it is ugly and annoying and it’s so difficult and expensive it holds absolutely no appeal to me at all.

Bradley Elliott
Bradley Elliott

This is why I like my E30 with a 95 M3 motor. The reason you hear the “dream car” comment is mostly because of the look of the design. Pretty much the last BMW drawn by hand? The car will never go out of style.

Sam Moore
Sam Moore

Audi Quattro; It just seems to me like the ‘I don’t know anything about rallying but I’ll pretend to’ crowd LOVE this car. People claim that it DOMINATED the WRC for years on end. When in reality It won one WRC manufacturers championship and one WRC drivers championship, the same as the much overlooked, two wheel drive, Lancia 037. However, the 037 handed the Quattro it’s manu. championship due to a gearbox failure – Yes finishing a race is of course part of it, I know. So, basically, the car irks me because of the people that endlessly drone on… Read more »

Richard Bell
Richard Bell

My list is way too long to post here but I wonder how much of my disinterest in a particular classic, say a first generation Camaro, has more to do with the owner than the car.

diegom6e30
diegom6e30

No doubt the e30 M3 has become an iconic model of BMW and I’m pround to have one in my garage (had 3 in total at some point), It has, like pretty much any 80’s and some 90’s sport cars, an analogue feel but the way ti drive the M3 is special. I’m fortunate enough to have also a Skyline R33 GTR and two 993’s (Carrera and Turbo) although, these two last cars (R33/993) are cars developed in the 90’s which has better electronics, stiffer chasis which improve the handling overall and it wouldn’t be a fair comparison against the… Read more »

Lms
Lms

Quite a nice selection to choose from!

Dalil Harici
Dalil Harici

Peugeot 205 gti.
Just like your exemple with the e30m3.

Ed Sonzay
Ed Sonzay

Some older 911s. I love 911s but I owned an ’88 3.2 G50 gearbox blah blah and frankly it was agricultural, underpowered and heavy-handling. This recent fanboism for all things old 911 is a bit silly. I now own a basic spec 997 C2S and it is much better to own and drive. And driving is what cars are for imo.

Cuillin Spirit
Cuillin Spirit

Any 911, Subaru impreza or Audi! They all might be fine cars. But dull dull and a whole range of dull. Quite why people go on and on and on about them I have no idea. I had an old battered Alfa 155 that had more soul and character in one of its rusty doors than that lot could muster combined.

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira

Amen…Alfas, with a few exceptions are so undeservedly undervalued, misunderstood and overlooked by people that call themselves enthusiasts. Even a lowly 1.4 boxer 147 has verve, character and petrol-head charisma in spades.

Jonathan Williams
Jonathan Williams

Porsche 911. Yawn, yawn, yawn. There is nothing left to be said on these things.