Blame it on my parents.
Nineteen years ago we were looking to replace our aging Volvo 940. When it came to playing the field, we quickly whittled down our choices to either a Certified Pre-Owned BMW 740i Sport (E38), or a then-new Volvo S80 T6. It was a clear departure for our Volvo-exclusive family, but we wanted to see how the other half lived. And Mom secretly preferred the looks of the Bimmer.
Never one to turn down a test drive, Dad saw the Susan G. Komen Drive for the Cure traveling roadshow as the perfect excuse to indulge, and it was headed to our local BMW store. The fact that BMW would donate to cancer research for every car we drove was icing on the cake. Little did I know, what started as a shopping trip for my folks would quickly turn out to be one of the more transformative days of my life.
Wearing Estoril Blue inside and out, it was the first thing I saw in the lot. In the year 2000, BMW included their M coupe in the Drive lineup, and apart from nearly getting shit on in the back seat of a new 3-er convertible by a passing bird, it’s about the only part of that day that’s stuck with me. But oh, how it’s stuck.
What Dad passed of as a knock-off of the MGB GT he’d remembered never really understanding in his younger days, had captivated a 12 year old me completely. I wanted the 1:18th scale cars. I needed to have any video game which included it as playable. The problem was, it, like the B GT, was misunderstood. Likenesses were hard to find. I’d have to wait for the real thing.
So I waited. I watched the cars sit idly on dealer’s lots. I watched while no one cared. Then, I watched while the second-hand market took notice. I watched the car be pitched as an answer to numerous either-or questions. I watched while my bank account inflated in parallel with rising M coupe values. I watched until I didn’t have to sit on the sidelines anymore.
I decided to drive a few, and thankfully came to the conclusion that meeting your idols isn’t always a negative experience. So while in Vegas on a work trip, watching my colleagues gamble, I said fuck it, and went all-in. A few brief calls to friends, banks, and insurance companies resulted in a purchase eighteen years in the making.
The result of my waiting is the car you see here. A 54,000 mile, Cosmos Black over Black and Grey 2000 BMW M coupe, which, apart from the ZHP shift knob and a handful of replacement items is exactly how it left the dealership years ago. Mcoupebuyersguide.com pegs my car as one of just seven to leave the Spartanburg, South Carolina factory with the color combination and no sunroof for that model year.
Because of the condition and mileage, I plan to keep the M as-is, with the exception of some preventative maintenance and repair as needed. But that’s kind of the game when you go for the best one you can find.
In future updates, I’ll talk a little more about what it’s like to finally own the car I’ve wanted since my youth, the BMW that’s A Lot Like Nothing Else, as the folks at BMW’s agency put it. But enough talking for now. We’ve got years of driving to catch up on.