Note: Another submission by regular RG reader, Patrick King. -TK
My second car after a ’69 Dodge Dart GTS 340 was a new 1971 BMW 2002 that left the dealership with many hot rod modifications (although the 45 DCOEs didn’t go on until a 3,000 mile break-in period was complete).
I daily drove, autocrossed and tracked that car for six years until it was pretty much beaten into submission by my driving style and the Boston winters.
One day on Centre Street in Newton a dark haired beauty on an opposite commute flashed her ’75 VW Scirocco’s headlights at me and the next thing you know we were an item. Partly because I was smitten by a Car and Driver article that opened with a full-spread, full-bleed photograph of the original Giugiaro-designed Scirocco at speed in screaming yellow – but more likely to impress Melanie – I traded my Colorado orange 2002 for a silver, year-old ’76 ‘Rocco. Here’s where a fairy tale might have started but didn’t. Upon closer inspection, my “new” VW appeared to have had hit everything but the Massachusetts lottery so I bought a stripe kit to mask the inferior repaint job the VW dealer had applied and put it up for sale. As for Melanie, the last time I saw her was at one of the legendary parties my roommates and I threw at Davis Avenue in Brookline where I introduced her to the neighbor who would become my ex-wife.
But with the Scirocco gone, what to drive next? Why, a 1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, of course – white with blue stripes; metallic blue vinyl upholstery; faux plastic MOMO Prototipo and faux engine-turned dashboard; Ram Air III; 4-speed Hurst… The Poncho didn’t scratch my itch for long though, so despite it having transported my two roommates and me to Chicago for a friend’s wedding – leaving after work on Friday and arriving back at our Boston jobs Monday morning, the tight schedule having prevented further interaction with the Bianca Jagger lookalike seated next to me at dinner – it had to go because I NEEDED another 2002!
An automobile broker named Richard Lorenzini obliged in 1978 with a perfect, low-mileage ’73 in my favorite color, Colorado orange! I drove that car for three years until my right foot again began lusting for Detroit V8 motivation so it was off to Atlanta for another ’69 340 Dart, this time a Swinger. Notice that I was already allergic to rust.
A few months later Kit and I needed something a little more suitable for the drive – with three dogs – to her home town of St. Louis for our wedding. A two-year-old 1980 VW Jetta seemed just the ticket. Mission accomplished, the Jetta went away and we were carless for a period, something I’d experienced many times before, relying on Boston’s excellent public transportation system. Until… That’s right, I absolutely HAD to have another 2002! Instead, I found a straight, rust-free ’68 1600 still wearing its black and yellow California tags. Bingo! Unfortunately, at roughly the same time Kit absolutely HAD to have a house in the country. Thus began a fifteen year period of forty mile commutes from Plymouth to Boston, never less than an hour each way in all kinds of New England weather. Our new carpool friends looked askance at the poor 1600, bereft as it was of heat, let alone air conditioning. Soon it was back to a series of VWs, primarily for their front wheel drive while still retaining that German feel. We looked at Hondas, but nah.
Now, long since divorced, I sit here in Florida with a 2002 325i (Sport Package, 5MT) in my garage, watching with dismay as undamaged, rust-free E46s, including M3s, show up with distressing regularly on Facebook Marketplace as partouts… And lusting for a late model, low-mileage Mustang GT. See? There IS a pattern here!