I view the wretchedly-over-restored microcar fad with some amusement, having driven a basic BMW Isetta as a reporter in London in the late 1960s. Back then it was a bottom-feeder’s car, and I was a marginal motorist. I needed a car as a reporter, but never had enough money for a decent one. “You’re the last step between the last owner and the wrecking yard,” said my brother. Sometimes I actually bought cars from my local wrecking yard, and was dismayed to find something really wrong with them.
Keeping Carl Nelson in the dark was the greatest challenge. Although Nelson, owner of La Jolla Independent BMW service and long known for his expertise in restoring E9 coupes, had been named a Friend Of The Marque by the International Council of BMW Clubs some months ago, insiders decided that the best way to surprise him with the award would be to crash his annual La Jolla Independent holiday party in December.
Every moment in time has potential to change us. Most are easily forgotten, but the instances that we remember can engrave a deeply positive or negative image on the psyche. And all too often, life deliveries both in equal measure and on the same occasion. The sign read “House For Sale.” Nothing particular stood out in the living areas, but opening the door to the garage was like seeing the aurora borealis for the first time.
Imagine being in a typical American household around Christmas time—not too hard to do, I hope! The conversations can vary drastically, depending on demographics and family type. Along the West Coast, families can celebrate the holiday season with a warm winter afternoon and some festive lights hung from semi-tropical trees. In the Northeast, families gather around the fireplace and burn a Yule log while drinking eggnog and toasting good times in the upcoming year.
I was reading an effusive review the other day about the self-parking abilities of the new 5 Series, and I realized that I was getting old. This is not a complaint, it’s just a fact. Parallel parking was an essential part of learning to drive when I was growing up—particularly in London, where parking spaces were seldom delineated, so it was a matter of how many cars you could squeeze into a block.