Friday, June 24, 2011

The Daily Driver Dilemma

I've noticed over the years how many vintage BMW drivers are proud to be in that select group of "daily drivers."  The term implies that the car in question, thirty or forty years old, is in such good shape that the owner uses it on a daily basis for his or her basic transportation.

This is not necessarily a good idea, I have discovered.

When I bought my first 2002 I had the idea that the vehicle would fill two requirements in life. First, the '72 Verona would be the last internal combustion car I'd ever buy - I mean, why try to find a better automobile - and second, the '02 would be my one and only car, to be driven whenever and wherever needed.

1) My old 2002, ultimate machine

Of course I was disabused of that notion by the woman who smacked into me at red light last year.  "Sorry, I was looking for my purse," she pleaded when confronted with her mistake.

Somebody from the forum scolded me after hearing of the accident. The gist of his post was that, given the number of bad drivers out there in the world, it's crazy to try and use one of the old bimmers as a daily driver.  Better to be more selective and lessen the chance that a random wingnut will rob you of your pride and joy.  I have to admit, the guy had a point.

So after I bought the 2000 I quickly purchased a 1991 Volvo to use for mundane transport tasks.  Item number one - driving in the rain.  I want to preserve the body of my NK and the easiest way to do this is to keep it garaged and dry when the Pacific Ocean rains bathe western Washington in constant drizzle.

2) The Volvo, a real rain forest monster.  If you look closely you can see the hood ornament I bought, a Huskies football helmet

This car didn't cost much to buy and it gets terrible gas mileage - around fifteen miles per gallon - but since I don't drive very far during an average day the Swedish-built tank works just fine.  Two weeks after I bought it the starter conked out - at a NAPA Auto Parts store, of all places.  (With rich irony, I had gone there with my son to pick up a dollar light bulb for the 2000.)  However the Volvo has performed well in the six months since that unfortunate day.

My Neue Klasse 2000 runs like a top and gets thirty kilometers to the gallon in city traffic. The engine doesn't burn oil, she starts every time, and I can let go of the steering wheel at 110 kms. per hour on a straight, smooth road, the car is so tight.  In fact, the only problem the car really has is that the synchros are touchy in first and second gears, but I don't really mind for now.

In order to keep the 2000 in top form I am presented with a dilemma, though.  I can't drive it all the time.  Indeed, the less I drive it the longer the car will last.

Oh, well. There's worse paradoxes in the world than that one.

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