Quietly driving through the farmland, not too far from Habit HQ, with Gumby’s (the Laguna Green E30 project) top down at a leisurely pace is incredibly relaxing. Maybe every E30 doesn’t need an engine swap, or even a manual transmission. Heresy, I know, but there’s something to be said for calm. Armed with a handful of cassette tapes from the 70s and 80s that just arrived in yesterday’s mail, it just feels right.
With the first, 1000-mile oil change done on the new 430i, and the modern conveniences that comes with it have indeed been lovely, there’s always a longing for a more analog past. Deleting the Nav screen, digital gauge pod, and even the heated seats is not such a bad thing. I’m sure the cows looking at me as I drive by agree. The E30 always fills that need perfectly – while not as raw as the E21, and certainly not as raw as the 2002, the E30 keeps a link to stability and modern motoring that the cars one and two series older do not.
Many of you claim connection to a particular vintage or series of BMW – that’s understandable. You find a car that grooves with you, your personality, and perhaps even your memories of a time different than now. Special as the E21 is for me because it was my first BMW years ago, the E30 is the sweet spot for this BMW fan. I’m a top-down driving enthusiast to the core, so what better than a leisurely stroll in the E30 convertible to get the day off to a perfect start? After picking up a cup of coffee, of course.
The 91 E30/Auto in my harem has been a fun car to bring back to life. A few years ago I picked it up from a fellow in Cleveland, Ohio. For our readers in the rest of the world, not completely familiar with US geography, that’s about 2500 miles away. Or like flying from London to Egypt, and driving back home. In a strange car. You’re in, right?
Fortunately when I made that journey, there were plenty of places to eat, inexpensive hotels and more than one BMW dealer along the way, which I ended up taking advantage of, when about 400 miles from home. But that’s another story for another day.
Yes, it still needs to have the suspension rebuilt, the gap between the tires and the fender arches needs to be trimmed somewhat, and (I know, I know) those 16” aftermarket wheels really should be replaced for some correct 15-inch iX wheels, this little car always boosts serotonin levels dramatically. And that’s what a convertible is all about.
Driving through the trees on a blustery morning, before the sun is up all the way, and the clouds are deciding whether to stay or go, is indeed relaxing, and I’m not thinking about any of that stuff. Maintaining a fairly constant speed of around 60 miles per hour, barely slowing for the gentle curves in my path, I’m thinking that even the manual swap I had planned for this car really isn’t all that necessary. Just as every E30 doesn’t need an engine swap, perhaps they don’t all need a manual gearbox either.
In the event you think I’ve lost my mind, there will be a GoFundMe appearing online soon, to pay for a proper therapist.