A Sad Goodbye

This is my last look at the car I’ve been driving for the past almost 10 years.

As much as I hated to, last week I traded my 2003 BMW 330ici coupe for something a bit newer.

This was a great ride. If there really is anything to that “Ultimate Driving Machine” tag line, this car captured that. With the 6 cylinder, 200+HP 3.3 liter engine, 5 speed manual transmission (I’ve never owned an automatic), and sporty suspension and wheels/tires, it was a blast to drive. Easily the most fun of any car that I’ve ever owned.

Not that I’ve owned all that many. The one before this was a 1988 Acura Legend coupe that I got brand new while I was still living in Hawaii, brought with me to Los Angeles when I went to music school there in 1992 and 93, and then drove to Nashville when I came here in ’94. I owned that car for 18 years and put over 200K miles on it. When the body started to rust and trim started falling off, I figured it was time to trade it in for something newer. Like, you know, something with a CD player in it…

I found this Beemer on eBay, believe it or not, and figured that transaction was safe because the car was still under its factory warranty with less than 35K miles on it. It also didn’t hurt that the previous owner was an Air Force electrical engineer who took care of the electronics on Air Force 1. He took equally good care of his car, and it being three years old put it in a price range that made sense. In January 2006 I flew up to Laurel, Maryland, to pick it up and drive it home, and I’ve been happy with it ever since.

But lately, not unlike the old man who is driving it, things have been falling apart. Various of the accessory motors no longer work. I haven’t been unable to open and close the sunroof for several years. For the past two years I’ve needed to put in a quart of oil almost every week. And the next time I took it in, I anticipated it was gonna cost me a couple grand to put on new tires (they don’t last very long) and whatever else it needed.

So a couple of weeks ago I started pondering a suitable replacement. I started thinking about the Honda Accord coupe – if I could find one with a 6cyl and a (six speed) manual transmission. I found one that I liked at the CarMax in Cool Springs.

And when we negotiated the trade-in on the BMW, what they offered me was about what I figured my next visit to the shop was going to cost. At that point, I figured I’d pretty much used it up.

If it was a dog, it would have been time to put it down.

So this is what I am driving now, a 2013 Honda Accord Coupe with a six-speed and almost 300HP:

Yes, it is VERY red.

It aint a Beemer by any stretch, but it’s fun to drive in its own way, and the electronics are much more current than what the ’03 Beemer offered. And should be a lot less costly to maintain – an important consideration as Ann and I get closer to her retirement from nursing.

Getting a new car… it’s like getting a new pair of shoes after you’ve been wearing the same pair every day for a decade. It takes some breaking in, but I’m getting used to it.

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