All Great Things Must Come To An End

It’s official: my first-love, Cassie, the 1996 328i with more modifications over the past two decades than I can recall, is going up for sale this month.

I blame Satch.

That’s the easiest way, at least. I could blame sensible things like work responsibilities, family activities, or safety considerations. Or I could blame more ephemeral things like getting older or a general lack of time. But it’s just easier to point a finger at Satch. After all, my wife and I wouldn’t have been in San Diego last year had he not chosen some years back to live there and subsequently invite us to drive some fun cars and join him and Party A for dinner.

I was already going to be in town for work, so why not?

And had my wife not made the trip, we wouldn’t have gone hunting for a piece of art, as we often do to celebrate our anniversary. And had we not been poking our noses in the various galleries in and around San Diego, we wouldn’t have fallen for the beguiling work of the artist known as Oryan. And then, a year later, we wouldn’t have been obsessing over his stylings long enough to commission a piece from him this year for our fifteenth anniversary. And then my wife and I wouldn’t have agreed on one main caveat: Something of significant monetary value that is no longer being used as intended must go. And we wouldn’t have identified Cassie as that thing.

See? It is all Satch’s fault.

Cassie, my E36 328i, has seen many upgrades over the past decades.

Of course, that’s not entirely fair, as a few other factors may have contributed—like home improvements. Had most of our time, energy, and money not been directed at the Great Basement Project of 2018, my wife and I would have likely just purchased a piece of Oryan’s work while we were in San Diego last year—you know, before all of his art seemed to triple in price. Ouch. I am sure that anyone interested in an E30 M3 fifteen years ago knows the feeling.

I have spent a lot of miles piloting this car. If only more of those could have been in recent years.

Unfortunately, the biggest reason for putting my fun car up for sale is that I just don’t, well, have fun in it anymore. It’s not that I don’t enjoy driving the ol’ E36—far from it, as it’s still one of the most enjoyable cars to hustle around a track or through the rolling foothills of the Appalachians. No; the desire to simply “go driving” has steadily gone away.

I suspect that things might be different if Cassie were not constantly blockaded in the garage behind kids’ bikes, strollers, and other assorted family gear. And if the somewhat demanding girl warmed up her fluids a bit faster. And if I had a bit more leisure time on the weekends. And if there weren’t a layer of safety concern flying around a track. And if the suspension weren’t quite so track-focused, given the winter-beaten roads around here.

Oh, my. It isn’t Satch’s fault. It really is work, family, and… yeah, getting older.

There is also one more important factor: For the first time in many years, I have a BMW for daily driving. Even in stock form, the much newer 328i GT is still a blast to drive, making it even harder to warrant firing up the dedicated fun car for a romp around the local roads.

Hey, maybe I would be more inclined to take the E36 out if I got a custom engine remap and a quicker steering rack? Oh, right: The goal is to spend less money, not even more than I already do. But she does deserve a few more upgrades—and to see more than a thousand miles of road each year.

Cassie, your years with me are coming to a close. It’s time to find a new home where you can once again frolic in the hills and on the track where you truly belong. Thanks for all the memories.—Chris Doersen

[Photos courtesy Chris Doersen.]

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