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Thread: Character

  1. #1
    Early S Reg #1395 LongRanger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    High Desert, Area 53


    Subject has come up in another thread . . .

    . . . but rather than jump in over there, muddle things up, I'm starting another here --- to go on about the qualities that make some cars special for me

    To be honest --- this particular comment got me started . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by stout View Post
    . . . I've found engine character to be a funny thing . . . . a 2.5-liter E30 M3 is a gem where the standard 2.3 doesn't do much for me. Kinda thrashy, and not as much fun to rev out as the 2.5 (big caveat: the 2.5 was a Metric Mechanic build, not a factory Evo engine) . . .
    I've owned 5 BMW e30s --- all 4-cyls . . . including 2 Real M3s, both '90s = air-bag cars. The first I one bought used, in '92 --- w/4k mi . . . after a faster Buyer bounced a check. Put ~80k on that car before selling it to buy a Land Rover to drive to Alaska --- a trip that never happened. The 2nd one I bought ~2001 w/ --- 32k mi. It 'd been living in a garage (w/ a Cocketoo) about a mile from my house --- a car that I (perversely) did take to Alaska . . .

    Anyway, between those two M3s, I've put ~150k mi on the 2.3 litre S14

    And it was the Real M3 that was on my mind, back when I first described what kind of 911 I was looking for . . .

    Quote Originally Posted by LongRanger View Post
    . . . a lot of cars, especially the ones that I’ve never owned or driven (or really know anything about) --- get summarized, abstracted, then reduced to a set numbers that I can refer to and compare: horse-power, displacement, weight, how many were built, and so on. And I had no real numbers to attach to the early 911s. Maybe horsepower. And I had never driven anything older than an ’83 SC Cab. Anyway, I’ve been driving mostly BMWs for a long time ---- all 3-series, including two ‘real’ M3s. Those 4-cylinder M-cars are still my yard-stick for measuring any high-performance small car. The e30 M3’s 2.3 liter S14 motor makes 192 hp, weighs 2866 lbs, with 19,017 units built --- with about 5,000 coming to the US. By comparison, a longhood ‘S’ has similar power and displacement --- but weighs 400-500 lbs less, with far fewer cars built to begin with, never mind imported. (Or surviving?). . . .
    Anyway, Stout's comments about the 2.3 litre don't match my experience. I don't know how he drives --- or the condition of the two cars that he mentioned . . . but I adore the e30 M3. Now, Stout 's a 914 Guy, and I can state unequivocally that the e30 is a no sports car --- its a small sedan . . . w/ room for 4 passengers, ac, proper trunk, blah-blah-blah. And both of mine were Every Days --- cars that went to work, took kids to school, hauled groceries . . . boring

    And they had their 'plumage.' Back Then, seeing a boxy little sedan with a snowplow spoiler, extended rockers, and a wing hung on the trunk looked, well . . . goofy. Even today, these cars aren't exactly beautiful --- their sharply folded architecture at odds with the softer, smoother looks of things today

    I admit --- I bought my first Real M3 based on its reputation. I'd traded a really pretty 318iS to buy it, and only got to know the car through first-hand experience . . . 12 years-worth?

    In a word --- their attraction for me? . . .

    . . . is all about their character

    Performance-wise? --- at first drive? . . . a Real M3 can seem a bit dull. The cab is much like any contemporary e30, nice + functional, austere, with nothing but a few badges here-and-there --- + the tach . . . to say it's anything special. The controls feel 'German' but not that special, either --- even numb. And the exhaust note is dull, flat, and engine response only ordinary. And, if all I did was prance-around @3k rpm in traffic? --- well . . . may as well be in a Camry

    Buzz-kill, huh?

    Well. The S14 engine was built to live a >6k rpm --- even stock street engines can handle ~8k rpm . . . but few people ever drive them that way. I did. Kinda why I bought the thing. NA cars have two rev limiters --- there's a 'soft' one that retards ignition and starts nibbling ~7250 . . . and then there's a 'hard' one that cuts the ignition ~7400-7500. Once I had the engine properly warmed-up --- oil temp = ~120F? . . . well, I hit those limiters at least twice a day. Sometimes, just to hear the fury of the thing HOWLing. (No shyte --- the looks on people's faces when I'd ooze through traffic or come in for a landing --- at >6k rpm . . . priceless) I LOVED those silly little cars, and enjoyed every mile of every day that I owned them. Like to think they had a good life with me = fun. I mean --- you could find your way to my house by following all the black marks around the corners. Not the quickest cars, maybe --- or the fastest . . . gutless <3k rpm. And the brakes could be better. But . . .

    . . . on any open road, around any corner, in any weather? . . .

    . . . ICBMW

    Kooky-looking, now, I suppose. Upright, straight-edged, not fashionable, maybe. But --- IMO . . . no better small sedan made to cover LOTS of territory. . . while having fun doing it

    Only reason I sold the last one? . . .

    . . . was to get something older, crankier, even more anachronistic

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    Last edited by LongRanger; 03-09-2019 at 05:46 AM.

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