I sold my 1992 BMW 316 today. While I’m happy it found a good new owner and glad that I now have a better car to call my own, I can’t help but reminisce a little about the good times with the Bimmer. It was built like a rock and always made it back no matter how long the drive home was. This also got me thinking back to all my cars till now so here’s a short story of my automotive adventures.

1971 Plymouth Valiant

Some time back in ’95 or ’96 my dad brought home this boat of a car. I didn’t really appreciate it till many years later, but I sure miss that thing a lot. Slant six, 225, four barrel carbs, with 3 speed automatic on the column, no power steering (we took it out as it was useless anyway), with room for six inside and a body trunk for at least three more. My dad restored that car from the ground up and while it was never worth as much money as the restoration cost, it was a great looking ride and my first every day car. I was 17 when I started driving it to high school, was 18 when I took it to prom instead of a limo, and drove it well past college. I loved playing classic rock in it and often received compliments on the street; once while bringing home 8 cement bags in the trunk (heavy!) I got a nod from some cholo’s passing me in a low rider. Had they only known that my car was riding low for a completely different reason… We sold it as it wasn’t the most economical car to have, with a 4.0 liter engine and all, plus by then I had another car already.

And yes, that is my mom with our family Valiant.

1972 Datsun 240z

We bought the Z with restoration in mind. It was a very sweet two seater with an inline 6, manual 4-speed transmission that tore the asphalt it rode on. I learned how to drive a stick shift on it and received my first speeding ticket in it as well. The restoration never really went as planned and my dad did most of the work on this father-son project. Somewhere along the line I lost interest in it and simply wanted a car to drive as opposed to driving a car that always needed more work. We had it painted, reupholstered, my dad converted all the gauges to white faces with a nice green glow at night, original rims were repainted, but the engine was mostly untouched till the end. All new rubbers made it very stable but the exhaust fumes that somehow pushed their way inside the car made it a smelly pain to drive. I later found out that it’s a common problem with the 240z, that the only way to drive was really to seal it completely and drive with everything closed. I sold it a month before moving back to Poland to a kid who would continue the restoration who also had a 240z in the past.

2002 Toyota 4Runner

It was a Thanksgiving eve back in 2005 when my dad said he would help me sponsor a car, any car, as long as it was a Toyota 4Runner. That’s because of my mom’s 1998 4Runner that has proven to be one of the best cars we ever had. We bought mine that Thanksgiving weekend. 2002 is the last model of the 3rd generation body style, with six cylinders and a 3.4liter engine. This was my first modern car with electric everything, air conditioning, and the one thing I loved the most, a retracting back window! I put that car through its 2wd paces on the road and in the Sierra Nevada mountains on various camping trips. It served me well as a tent where I almost fit with the back seats folded. I planned to sell it before my move to Poland but gave it back to my dad instead and it now awaits him in Wrocław.

1992 BMW 316

In another deal with my dad I traded the 4Runner for a more economical BMW in Poland. Oddly enough the bimmer doesn’t really burn a whole lot less petrol (gas) than the 4Runner. In fact, for a 1.6 liter it has an enormous appetite for fuel. While a 10 year step backward in my car adventures, it served me well for what it was supposed to do; get me from point A to B. In between those points it also got us through Chech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and all of Poland of course. It also did quite a bit of work for my dad during his house construction a couple of years ago  and it never got stuck in the dirt road that served as a street during a 4 year construction project in our Polish neighborhood. I did get a little tired though of investing money into repairs I felt were worth more than the car itself. It works fine now and will serve its next owner well.

2004 Mazda 6

Finally I am happy to report on my newest car yet, my new (old) Mazda 6. Four cylinders, 1.8liter gas engine, 5-speed manual, auto and electric everything including my very first climate control system with ice cold air conditioning! For the money it was the best looking wagon I could find and I’m liking the way it looks more and more with every drive. I’m hoping it will last me for years to come. This is also the very first car I bought all alone. I had no idea my hands would shake this much while handing over cash for what I hoped was a good car. The stress of buying a car is unbelievable, and even driving back in what was already mine for better or worse, I couldn’t stop thinking if I had made the right choice. Everyone tells me I did, so it must be true.

So what does your list look like? Feel free to share in the comments section!