One of my beefs with car culture—parts of it, at least, not all of it—is the way it emphasizes the biggest and the best. Especially in America, where horsepower and quarter mile times are king. Everything has to be SS or M or AMG or V, top shelf, for it to be any good. This is the wrong way to think.
Here’s my advice instead: buy what you want. Enjoy what you have. Don’t worry about what other people say. And if your car’s not the best version out there, if it’s some lower-rung model instead of the top one, take pride in it anyway.
The latest Petrolicious video got me thinking about this. Turn on the subtitles to hear the story of Sébastien Defaux, 19, whose first car is this 1985 BMW 316. It’s an E30, sure, but the lowest rung on that ladder—about as far from an M3 as you can get. That one, with a tiny 1.6-liter inline-four, wasn’t even sold in America. Yet Sébastien was inspired to get it after a chance encounter with an E30 M3 he saw on the street, and you won’t find him lamenting his car’s not an M-car.
It reminds me of the 325e I owned until very recently, when I sold it because I wasn’t up for dragging it to New York City with me. That may have been a mistake. I’m not sure. I do know that even though my car had a garbage low redline, it was still a blast to drive, and I never felt bad about what it was.
I may need another one of these, and soon. But remember: if Sébastien can love the shit out of his humble 316, and show it off at car rallies he goes to, you too can take pride in whatever you drive.