Meeting Your Heroes, and Realizing you Have to Live With Them

03/04/2015

Author Joe G.

Everyone has poster material as a kid. Regardless of era, the story is the same. For some, it was a car like the Lamborghini Countach, for some it was a Stingray. We’ve all had that aspirational dream, a car that we boldly declare to our elementary school friends, “I’m gonna own that someday.”

I was no different… well, maybe a little. Instead of clearly lust-worthy cars that can stir anyone’s emotions, I was raised with a bit more utilitarian parents that looked at their vehicles in the same way that you or I look at a toaster. Not only that, but I lived my whole life with the car that would become my first.

It didn’t take me that long to realize that my first car, a 1985 Volvo 240DL, was far from exciting. Even still, I had been shaped by the experience of owning something with the kind of personality that the Swedes impart to their cars. Supercars became pedestrian in my eyes. The more commonly the car was recognized for its excellence, the less it interested me. I guess that makes me a car hipster, but my Miata doesn’t have a mustache… Shortly before that Volvo became mine, BMW released an incredibly innovative marketing campaign consisting of short films centered on their new models. I was hooked.

In 2004, Volvo debuted a game-changing car. The brand had always flirted with sporty vehicles, but had never committed to the idea like they did with the S60R and V70R. As soon as those came out, I knew I needed to have one… someday. One day, years later, I purchased a CPO 2006 Sonic Blue S60R with a manual transmission. I had my dream car, but now what? It was beautiful, had literally the most comfortable seats ever put into a car, and by far the fastest thing I had ever driven. Calling it the Swedish STi would not be a misnomer. I was in love. As with many torrid affairs, that feeling soon proved to be without merit.

The controls were light years ahead of previous models without losing the simplicity that made it attractive. In the year 2004, this was one of a handful of vehicles available in the US with electronically adjustable damping, and actually the least expensive. Comfort mode made it ride smoother on the highway than a Cadillac (incidentally one of the other vehicles with electronic damping control), while Advanced sharpened throttle and steering response and completely transformed the handling. The brakes are, to this day, the best I’ve ever experienced. As the months wore on, the luster began to wear off.

It turns out that that 300hp was achieved with a novel yet inefficient dual intercooler system. It worked fine in colder weather, but as temperatures climbed it struggled to keep up. Then there was the reality that 300 hp put through an AWD system doesn’t make a 3600lb car all that fast. That adjustable suspension was smooth in “Comfort” mode, but it was so underdamped that seemingly normal bumps could bottom out the shocks. Advanced mode essentially removed shock absorbers from the equation by increasing the bump damping so much that it rode like a go-kart.

The other lesson I learned in my time with this car was the relationship between complexity and reliability. It isn’t that more complex cars will always be unreliable, but rather the exponential increase in components required to achieve some of the more advanced things we have in cars these days. As the number of parts that can fail increases, the number of failures is bound to increase as well. With so many systems, it can make troubleshooting a nightmare, especially for a car hypochondriac like me.

I sold the car after a few years and about 20000 miles, with some of its warranty remaining. During the time I had it, it went from hero to faithful companion, to headache and finally to new owner, ready to continue its life as someone else’s dream. Though it may not have lived up to my lofty hopes, it taught me a valuable lesson: no car is perfect, and often times our vision of what a car represents can obscure those parts of it that might otherwise be red flags. Well, it tried; I seem to have a short memory, as I recently purchased one of the cars immortalized in those BMW films I referenced earlier. The story of my E39M5, though, will have to wait for another week.

 

Side note: There are few vehicles more capable in an overall sense than the V70R. It relies on some systems of questionable reliability, but I would not hesitate to purchase one if I were in the market for a family hauler. I would do so with the knowledge that I needed a not-insignificant repair and maintenance budget post-purchase.

LaFerrari, Enzo, F40... and the F50

08/29/2014

The praise for recent super cars has increased exponentially and everyone has been jumping on the McLaren P1, Porsche 918 and Ferrari LaFerrari bandwagon, but what about the forgotten super cars, the ones that still turn heads and provide that unique blend of power and handling. These super cars have been shoved in garages and left to collect dust on the side of roads or in parking garages. The car that we think sums up these super cars is the Ferrari F50.

Some believe it to be the red headed step child between the boundary pushing F40 and the F1 inspired Enzo. The Ferrari needed to build a super car in the 1990s to compete against its rivals but somehow the F50 was immediately lost wandering down a random path that lead to nowhere when it went on sale. The F50 had a F1 inspired V12, its rarer than a F40 or an Enzo and radical looks, so why is it the unloved stepchild in Ferrari’s stable of super cars?  

Some Ferrari purists believe it to lack the technology or it was too soft or did Pininfarina hand over the design to their intern? I disagree with everything above, the V12 was extremely loud, and how could you call it comfortable? It had brute force from 513 prancing ponies and featured a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, that’s all F1 inspired technology. Everything Ferrari knew from F1 in the 1990s it threw into the F50 making it the perfect super car.

 Some purists believe the Pininfarina looks were too 1990s, it reminds them of those terrible cars from 1990 Detroit, like the Pontiac Firebird, with scoops and louvers promising unbelievable performance but drove like a used Hyundai. I completely disagree, the F50 was suppose to look radical, Pininfarina should have added scoops on top of scoops, it the 1990s people, come on! Comparing the F50 to the F40 or even the Enzo is ridiculous, the F50 was made for a specific generation a specific time period and it fits perfect! The Enzo was years ahead of its time and the F40 is hands down the best car Ferrari has ever made, but this doesn’t rule out that the F50 is still an amazing supercar, that has super power, and super looks! I believe the F50 is not the red headed stepchild but the intelligent, lacking some common sense middle child.

 

 

Throwback Thursday!

08/28/2014

Since its Throwback Thursday we thought it would be a fun idea to reminisce on the 1990s and 1980s. The 1980s brought us Bill Cosby, Pac-Man and leg warmers, while the 1990s saw Beanie Babies, pagers and dare I saw it, Nsync! But these decades also brought petrol-heads or gear-heads some amazing machinery.  The Ferrari F40, Porsche 959, Lamborghini Diablo and even the Jaguar XJ220. All of these vehicles advanced the automotive industry and saved us from the Power Rangers and frosted tips!

Now which decade do you think had more heavy weights, had more power or advanced the automotive industry further, the 1990s or 1980s? Here is our list of top supercars for each decade,

1990s

              Jaguar XJ220

              Ferrari F50

              Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR

              Lamborghini Diablo

              Vector W8

              Bugatti Eb 110 SuperSport

              Mclaren F1

1980s

              Ferrari 288 GTO

              Porsche 959

              BMW M1

              Lamborghini Countach

              Ferrari F40

 

We think the 1980s advanced the automotive industry further in terms of technology than the supercars of the 1990s but we think the 1990s brought us radical cars with immense power that pushed the boundaries! Which decade do you think provided the best supercars?

 

 

Motivation...

08/26/2014

Motivation, it can be something simple or complex, it can help you towards success or to finish a simple goal, but in all aspects of life motivation is essential. Without the drive to better one’s self, could be monetarily, spiritually or physically, we would all be lazy 500lbs slobs drinking diet coke and watching big brother. Having a visual motivation, could be a simple picture like the house below or a printed word, is a key way to manifest your success. Anyway you chose to motivate yourself is essential and should be reinforced with positive feedback, this will help you along your path to success. Now go motivate yourself! 

 

Killer Bus

06/04/2014

What do you think are the essentials for surviving after the world ends…yep you are correct, booze, cigars and of course, guns! MagPul’s custom built survival bus has the necessary essentials for a post-apocalyptic life. The custom bus is built upon a 1952 Flixble Sigthseer Bus with a few added improvements and creature comforts.

With help from Timeless Travel Trailers, the “Mbus Pro” sports a slew of high powered guns, a well-stocked wet bar, and of course, lavish mahogany trim. Also for those long days of surviving in the post-apocalyptic outback you need a place to relax and smoke a few stogies, fear not cigar aficionados, the Mbus Pro comes stock with a built-in humidor, because there’s nothing worse than coming home to dry cigars!

This amazing creation isn’t the first attempt by MagPul to create a unique bus; their hippie van showed the world that both hippies and mini-guns can get along. MagPul had the brilliant idea of attaching a mini-gun to the top of an old VW bus and now the world can breathe a sigh of relief knowing it’s a little safer.

MagPul pushes the boundaries of what’s acceptable and combines a love of weapons with a passion for automobiles to create some truly unique rides. I can’t wait for what they build next, maybe a Unimog with a rocket launcher!

 

 

The Pursuit of Perfection

03/20/2014

With a population smaller than most U.S. states one might think the car scene in Belgium suffers from a lack of diversity and uniqueness, this is far from true. Taking you across the pond to Halle, Belgium, one man’s mission to create something totally different, totally exceptional will take him through highs and lows and only his passion and determination will aid him in achieving his dream.

Growing up in Halle, Belgium, Christophe was soon immersed in the car culture that enveloped teenagers across the country. Taking him to his first ever car meet was a close friend of his, Andy. Christophe credits Andy with igniting his passion for all things automotive. Having a passion for cars since he was a child, Christophe didn’t understand how deep that passion was until Andy and he began working on his Citroën saxo. At first Christophe enjoyed every brand and soon realized his passion leaned towards Volkswagen and Audi. Progress from his Citroen, Christophe soon acquired a 1982 Volkswagen MK1 GTI; this GTI would become a main stay within his stable of cars.

While manifesting his passion for autos, Christophe also attended school to become a graphic designer. Wanting to pursue a career in graphic design proved difficult and with an economy that still feels the ripples from the 2008 crash, Christophe could not secure a job as a graphic designer. Not letting this speed bump affect him and his passion for modding his cars, Christophe became a tree logger. Working hard to support his passion Christophe has never taken his unique rides for granted and appreciates every detail in his decisions to mod his cars. Most people when hit with a road block in life turn around and never strive to overcome it. Christophe never accepted this path and chose to push through, this would prove essential when his closest mentor and friend Andy, was killed in a car crash 10 years ago. Andy took Christophe to his very first car show and helped him mod his Citroen. They also created a website called Heaven on Wheels, a tuning website for automotive enthusiasts. Inspired by Andy, Christophe began searching for his next feature car.

Searching for over a year Christophe landed on an Audi TT. Love at first sight, Christophe knew this would be the car that would carry on his closest friend’s passion for unique autos. The Audi TT incorporated the whole package Christophe was looking for, power, engine, suspension and design. Not afraid to get dirty, Christophe went right to work, creating a master-piece that would reflect his beliefs and passion. Doing his own thing he first added the aggressive TTrs front and rear bumpers. Wanting to have something totally different he next added BBS rs 18inch wheels with a Rotiform lip, skytune quad exhaust, dvx remap and recaro r32 seats. Working hard to build his TT, Christophe lives by this motto, do your own thing, if people like it, nice, if they don’t so be it, as long as you love it you have accomplished something truly divine.

Taking nothing for granted and achieving his dream of a one-off Audi TT, Christophe has over-come many road blocks which has only motivated him to accomplish his next venture. Since finishing the Audi TT, Christophe has moved on to focus on his 1982 GTI and a new Audi A5. Always pushing himself, we can definitely say were excited to see what he builds next.

Car or submarine, how about both!

03/11/2014

Aston Martin has become the legendary go to car for James bond but during the 1970s Bond’s car of choice was from a different British company, which strategically arranged a run in between Eon Productions producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and their newest design. This company was Lotus, and their plan to feature their newest concept in the upcoming James Bond movie was so diabolical and shrewd it could have been a movie plot.

Lotus’s newest design was the Esprit S1, which was crafted by the famed car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. He originally wanted to name the car “Kiwi” but Lotus management wasn’t going to let their newest concept’s success hinge on the name “Kiwi. A quick flip through the dictionary and the management at Lotus landed on Esprit, they believed it represented the concept’s sprightliness. This sprightliness came from an inline 4 cylinder which produced 160 horsepower and was mounted at 45 degrees in relation to the chassis to keep a low center of gravity. Even though the Esprit featured a modest engine the handling and extreme looks kept if selling. The mixture of the outlandish design and great handling made it the perfect Bond car, now how did Lotus achieve what others could not.

The Esprit stole the spotlight in “The Spy Who Loved Me” starring a young Roger Moore, but it was a very ingenious PR man that united the two as production began on the next Bond movie. Hearing that Pinwood Studios was scheduled to make another James Bond movie, Donovan McLauchlan, Lotus’s PR man, decided to take a pre-production Esprit to Pinwood studios and dropped if off right in path of the entrance of the studio. This gave the car maximum exposure to every producer and cast member that walked in and out during the day and it wasn’t long before Cubby Broccoli and his production staff walked right into the Esprit. Impressed with the unique and radical design Cubby wanted to find out more about the car, but this is where the plot thickens, McLauchlan tapped over all the Lotus badges to build curiosity, this was a bold move that paid off.

Lotus loaned two production Esprit’s and five Esprit shells along with personnel to Eon productions for the film “The Spy Who Loved Me”. During production the Esprit was pushed to its limits in the chase sequences and when it turns into a submarine. During the chase scenes the stunt driver was unable to kick the tires loose because of the Esprit’s impeccable handling, this proved difficult for the producers because they wanted the chase scene to look dangerous. With a helicopter and baddies ready to chase Bond in his Esprit up a hill the stunt driver magically disappeared, fearing they would lose the scene the Lotus mechanic that was on set, jumped in and flew up the hill, drifting the car and spinning the tires. The producers loved what they saw and asked the mechanic to do it again so they could turn their cameras on. The fun didn’t stop there; wanting the real thing Eon didn’t use a model for the underwater scenes involving the Esprit, so they turned one of the loaned Esprit shells into a full size submarine.

With wheels folding inside and fins and a periscope emerging the underwater scenes were filmed in the Bahamas, but don’t think Bond could enjoy any mojitos because Roger Moore’s underwater scenes were filmed at Pinwood Studios, talk about a bummer. Inside the Esprit was a diver operating 4 battery powered motors that could propel the Esprit up to ten knots. During the fighting scenes the Esprit was equipped with torpedoes, smoke screen and mines to help defeat the evil villains. The scenes where the Esprit drives off the pier and fights underwater have been become schoolboy dreams until recently.

One of the two famous Esprit’s used during the film was lost in storage until recently. A lucky man bought a storage unit for $100 dollars and upon opening it he found a Lotus, actually it was a lump of blankets. After he began removing the blankets a white slant noise car emerged, the man having never seen a Bond film didn’t realize what he just bought. After connecting the information the man realized what the Esprit was and the Lotus ended up at RM Auctions and headed the restoration and put it up for auction, where it sold to an unknown buyer for $866,000.

Could the secret buyer be a bond villain, hell bent on turning the world into the horribly acted movie ,Water World, and rule the oceans from his submarine Esprit? No, actually the secret buyer was Elon Musk, the owner of Tesla, SpaceX and a bunch of other companies that we forget the name of. Musk’s plan for the Esprit wasn’t to let it sit in a warehouse or museum but to turn it into a fully functional submarine and car using Tesla’s drivetrain. This plan might seem crazy to most but this is Musk and his crazy plans actually work.

The Lotus Esprit was designed by an Italian, built in Britain, driven by James Bond and is now owned by an American originally from South Africa. The Journey of this car could become a movie on its own, but we will always remember it driving off the pier and transforming into a submarine. We can only hope that Musk will reenact the scene with the real thing.

Bond, James Bond

02/26/2014

When you think of movies and cars very few hold the longevity and iconic past of the Aston Martin DB5. This car alone has appeared in six’s Bond films, starting with Goldfinger. Very few films can stand the test of time, some fall from relevance after just being released but the Bond franchise headed by Eon Productions can proudly say they have out lasted almost all other major films. The Bond franchise has had a convoluted history which makes the Bond cars even more special.

For most people, Sean Connery resembles all that is Bond, suave, sophisticated and stylish, but many don’t know Sean Connery almost never became James Bond. Thankfully the car enthusiasts of the world can rejoice because of two people you may have never heard of, Patrick McGoohan and Richard Johnson, both of whom were Eon Production’s and Ian Flemming’s first choices over Connery. Luckily McGoohan turned down the role, I bet he regrets that. And, Eon Productions rejected Johnson. Now why am I telling you this and how this even affects car enthusiasts, is if either of these actors had become James Bond, the little car company called Aston Martin might have remained just that, and would have been confined to the tiny cold rock in the Atlantic we know as Great Britain.

Aston Martin has built some truly magnificent vehicles over its 100 history, none more recognizable than the DB5. The iconic DB5 received its name from a simple source, no crazy name like 750li active hybrid xdrive, but from Aston Martin’s president David Brown. The DB5 was launched in 1963 to replace the DB4; it came with a 4.0 liter engine delivering 286 horsepower and a five speed gearbox. While Aston Martin provided the mechanicals, Touring, an Italian based coachbuilder, designed the stunning body that would become etched into cinematic history.

The meeting between Aston Martin and James Bond was a little underwhelming. Eon Production’s first attempt at securing the Silver DB5 was unsuccessful because they could not afford one at the time. So the producers called up Aston Martin and their conversation started with the producers asking Aston Martin to borrow a DB5 and they replied, no. The producers retorted, “have you seen Doctor No?” Actually, no, the fellow at Aston Martin had not seen “Doctor No” or “From Russia with Love”. Aston Martin did offer to sell the producers a DB5 at list price. This irritated the producers and the most iconic car in film was on the brink of becoming a Jaguar. Jags are meant for henchman and evil masterminds plotting to take over the world, not suave British spies. But this conversation could have been between the producers and Bentley if it had not been for one avid reader of Flemming’s.

Ian Flemming was a car enthusiast at heart and covered LeMans before he started the Bond franchise. Flemming felt Bond needed a car that fit his persona, a very British Bentley. As Flemming wrote “Goldfinger”, one of his avid readers helped change the course of history. A simple letter from a reader of his, stated that Ian Flemming should, “fix Bond up with a decent bit of machinery, perhaps an Aston Martin DB3.” When Goldfinger was published, James Bond had chosen the Aston Martin. This one opinion swayed Flemming from the Bentleys of old to the sophisticated Aston Martin DB3 and set the course of events that would soon make Aston Martin and James Bond the fantasy of every school boy.

This letter provided the back drop for the negotiations between Aston Martin and Eon Productions. Finally after some hard pressed coaxing Aston Martin agreed to lend the DB5 prototype to Eon Productions. Aston Martin and Eon Productions probably didn’t realize this little deal would produce the most well-known car in cinematic history. The DB5 laid the foundations for the bond car relationship that attracted so many to the box office. Once Eon acquired the DB5 it was immediately handed over to John Stears the mastermind behind the ingenious and remarkable gadgets of the DB5.

John Stears’s gadgets amounted to, a bullet proof shield, oil spray, revolving number plate, the famous ejector seat and a few others. Some of these gadgets were cleverly designed and fabricated while others were painfully simple, literally painful. During the Goldfinger chase Bond decides to use his smoke screen to evade Goldfinger’s cronies, the smoke gadget was a small man in the trunk of the DB5 releasing smoke grenades, the only problem was the man almost suffocated because the smoke filled up the trunk. These stunts, a part of the chase in “Goldfinger”, were actually filmed at the Pinewood Studios in Britain. This car chase set the stage for Goldfinger to become a box office hit.

With the success of Goldfinger, the DB5 went on its own tour across the globe to promote Bond and Aston Martin. And with this success came more pressure to deliver from both Aston Martin and Bond. Four DB5’s were used in Goldfinger, two called the “Star” and “Stunt” car and two for the promotional tour. This is where the history of Bond and Aston Martin becomes even more unique. All the gadgets fitted to the DB5 were too heavy to perform well during the chase scenes, so another DB5 was commissioned for those specific chase scenes. With the success of “Goldfinger” and “Thunderball”, Eon Productions and Aston Martin outfitted 2 more DB5s with enough working weapons to foil any evil mastermind.

The real evil mastermind was an anonymous Aston Martin lackey that had the brilliant, wait, evil plan to strip the original “Star” car of its famous weapons and sell it as a used DB5. The lucky buyer of the “Star” car was Gavin Keyar and he noticed other DB5’s being passed off as the real Bondmobile since they actually had gadgets installed. Keyar decided to install similar weapons to help increase his car’s value. As Keyar did this, the three other DB5s were the stunt car and 2 promotional DB5s. By the 1980s a heated battle sprang forward over which Aston Martin was the original. This was finally settled by Aston Martin by clarifying chassis numbers. By now bond hysteria hit an all-time high and in 1986 the “Star” car was sold at auction for $250,000. This car was soon insured for $4.2 million and went on tour. But some evil mastermind devised a theft and the original Aston Martin went missing from an airport hangar in Florida in 1997 and has never been seen again.

The history of James Bond and Aston Martin has become a twisted, convoluted tale of ingenious designs to oversized egos. From the annoyed producers of “Goldfinger” to the current owners’ ego driven battle over originality, the partnership of Aston Martin and James Bond has forever etched a space in the hearts of all car enthusiasts.

Frankenstein Wagon

02/21/2014

Since the release of the new 3 series, there have been several Frankenstein creations, turning what was a 3 series into a M3. What tops the list of these astonishing conversions, is none other than what might be the worlds first E92 M3 Estate. Nicholas Pritchard of the UK holds one of the longest and most interesting car histories I know of, topping it off with an M3 that will grab headlines across the world.

Nick’s car history explains a lot about his childhood and decision to own such a unique car. As a child or in his words, “as a nipper”, Nick expanded about his youth and how cars surrounded him. Nick continued on, telling me that having a father that consistently worked on cars increased his passion for all things car related. Growing up in a rough part of Birmingham called Saltley, Nick used cars as in outlet to escape, sometimes causing more trouble than good. Interested in what challenges Nick face when growing up I asked, “What challenges have you faced in your life?” Nick clarified, “Nothing major, I never used to listen to authority, was always a joker.” Wanting to find out more about Nick’s Car history I asked, “What were your previous rides?” Taking his time, Nick listed off his previous rides, “To name a few, ford sierra sapphire cosworth, ford sierra cosworth 3 door, BMW 318 touring, ford RS turbo mk4, BMW e46 m3 convertible, Audi RS4 estate, and ending with a BMW e92 m3 coupe.” Shocked by his astonishing car history, I knew his present M3 would not disappoint.

Noticing a number of BMWs in his past, I asked, “Why BMWs and more specifically why your car?” Without hesitation Nick replied, “I think once you have owned or driven a BMW you get hooked…well I did!. I love M3’s and estates, and in my eyes I’ve got the ultimate car! Interested in how Nick keeps his passion alive, I inquired, “Can you pick the one turning point in your life that you knew you were going to be successful?” Nick paused and answered, “I wouldn’t say I was successful at all, I’ve had jobs working for people over the years while still doing my cars and have always packed the job in wanting to earn my own money.” Hearing how Nick was motivated to earn his own money shows in his appreciation for every car he has owned. His self propelled work ethic does not end with money but continues on, and shows in the extensive work that had to be done with transforming his 3 series into a ///M machine.

Nick’s E92 M3 estate started out life as a 2007 318i M Sport. Nick explained in great detail the long and taxing adventure of creating a rare car, “The project started with stripping the shell down and painting it. Next all the mechanicals were fitted, engine, gearbox, front prop-shaft, back suspension and exhaust bolted straight in. The most challenging part was the rear inner & outer arches had to be graphed on and for the rear bumper to be fabricated. After it left the body-shop it had all it’s ecu’s and modules coded.” Not satisfied, Nick upgraded the suspension to KW V3’s and fitted 20” Breytons. I further asked, “How long has the build process been” Nick replied, “The car initially took about 10 months to build relying on other people to work on the car.”

Blasting through a couple questions, I learned that Nick’s passion for BMWs emerged from the BMW community and mainly the ///M crowd. Nick also explained that his biggest supporters were the BMW community, always giving him positive feedback. Going back to Nick’s car history, I inquired, “Having such a large and diversified car history, did experiencing all those cars give you a fondness for BMWs?” Nick took this chance to pull from his passion of BMWs and answered, “I still love my ford’s, growing up they were the latest most affordable cars to buy, but as I got older and the more BMW’s I drove and was around I saw the build quality, performance and they are just mind blowing!”

For Nick, the BMW community played a central role in modifying his M3. Having friends with modified cars excited Nick and he went on to explain, “I wanted to be involved and own a car that is as rare as mine, it is just thrilling to drive around and see peoples reactions. The bringing of joy for people just does it for me!” Nick’s behavior when he was younger can be seen in how he handles his cars today. Wanting the next best thing, Nick does not stop until he finds a car that is truly different, something that can hold its own against his amazing car history.

Alpina Passion

02/21/2014

Over the years, Patrick of Belgium, has become drained from being consistently precise. His passions lead him to a field that is rigid and defined, but finally Patrick has unleashed his wild side. What captured Patrick’s wild side was the very exclusive and fast, Alpina B3S Bi-turbo. Launched in the early 1960’s Burkard Bovensiepen acquired a BMW 1500 and created the very first Alpina tuned BMW. Since then, Alpina has been one of the most sought after tuning companies for BMW enthusiasts.

Dedicating his life to studying and sports, Patrick did not have much time for cars. Graduating from technical school and then pursuing a degree in drafting, Patrick focused his younger years on establishing himself with hard work and determination. Wanting to know why Patrick never deviated from his plan, I inquired, “Why did you choose your occupation?” Patrick responded with, “As a child, I was always very precise in everything I did. I also liked to draw so that’s why I chose my occupation.” This need to be practical and live within your means started early for Patrick and can be seen in his car history and the reasons behind why he choose each vehicle.

Starting out with a Citroën GS then moving to a BMW 325i diesel, a BMW 525tds and finally a BMW 525d you can see how diesels ran his life. Patrick describes the reasons behind being sensible when I asked, “Why did you choose your car?” He responded, “I always bought Diesel powered cars, because we drove a lot on a yearly basis. Now things have changed and we don’t drive that many kilometers a year, and I grew tired of the sound and lack of excitement of these cars, so my big dream was to buy a performance petrol car. My car at that moment was a BMW 335d coupé (E92), which I really liked.” Understanding his reasons for being practical with his cars, I was interested to find out what major factors influenced his decision to buy an Alpina, “You stated before that a diesel car lacked something that only a petrol car could give you, could you expand please?” Taking his time, Patrick responded, “I really like the torque a diesel engine offers and I like the sound sensation a petrol engine offers. My Alpina offers both of the two worlds: a good amount of torque, so if I want I can drive it “lazy” and don’t do too much downshifts, and a fantastic petrol sound, something a diesel can never offer. Going to 7000 revs feels magical. Why, because of the sound. The only downside of the petrol engine is less fuel efficiency and the fact that petrol costs more than diesel, but that’s something I gladly ignore because I love my petrol car so much!”

Recognizing some of the reasons why Patrick chose the Alpina, I still wanted to find out more, “Was the exclusive factor of an Alpina a major decision point between that and a ///M3?” He replied, “It was a major decision point yes, in addition to the fact that the Alpina drives smoother and more comfortable than the M3, even though it delivers the same performance in real life situations.” This passion of his has been lingering around since his youth but has always been trumped by his sensible side. This passion for BMWs had to start from somewhere so I continued with, “This one family member seems to have lots of influence car wise, do you think it was mostly him that sold you on BMWs or was it the car?” Patrick responded quickly, “It was definitely the car. At that time, I thought a BMW was too expensive for me, and I thought I’d better buy a cheaper car, but he insisted on testing his car, and after a small test drive, I immediately knew, this is the car I want, no matter how much it costs, I will find a way to afford it haha!”

Ending the interview I asked Patrick on final question, and his answered summed up our conversation well, “BMW chooses “Joy” to describe their brand experience. In one word, how would you describe Alpina?” Taking his time Patrick responses “I think connoisseur is the best term. A good example of that would be, people graduate in life. They graduate in their experiences, initially they might want more of something, then they want higher quality and then they want something bespoke, unique, exclusive, and different. You grow though those levels and Alpina finds themselves with their BMW automobiles in that third category.” After seeing his responses, the advice Patrick could give to all of us craving more was, hard work, determination and living within your means truly pays off. Patrick’s dream of owning a high-performance BMW materialized from his hard work. The allure and exclusivity created by Alpina satisfied his needs and the Alpina B3S was finally his.

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