The One I Should've Never Sold

1w ago



Just like that, I was reminded of why the E30 is such a special car. The roar of its old-school M20B25 Inline-6, the communicative and raw nature of the car; just the pure sensation of driving one in anger. Well, close to that anyways(I'm still traumatized by a crash that happened a few years back and even today, I rarely drive at full-boar unless I'm on track or in a controlled environment).

I could hear her laughing while the 164 was being worked on.

I could hear her laughing while the 164 was being worked on.

Yet again, the 164 was doing Alfa things and I'd returned once again to the mechanic's place to get her back in working order. Since it wouldn't take a terribly long time, I figured I'd hang around and chat, and perhaps learn a thing or two about the car. But as I stood around and watched the mechanic and his foremen working on the car, I noticed two pairs of eyes staring at me from across the street.

I could hear her laughing while the 164 was being worked on.

My eyebrows rose. There she sat; my first car which I sold to my mechanic. It had been many moons since I last got behind the wheel and I wondered if the feeling was still very much the same. So I asked... And the mechanic dropped the keys right into my hands. My heart pounded as I approached her. Between selling her and now, I'd driven quite a few other cars many considered fun and I wondered if she would still give me the feeling she gave me back when I still had her.

Hearing the signature chime of the aftermarket remote-locking system brought back so many memories, in particular the time when my friends and I bundled in the car and drove all the way down to Melaka just for fun.

Just like it did on day one, the door opened and shut with a satisfying thunk. And when I put the key in the ignition and gave it a twist, I heard it: the symphony of the old "crabhead" Inline-6. My mechanic had fitted an aftermarket butterfly-valve to the exhaust system and he'd left it wide open, allowing the engine to sing without its voice being muffled. The slight frown I bore, which was the result of the 164 suddenly acting up, was wiped clean off almost immediately.

She'd done it, just like she always had.

Fulfilling a dream I never could while I was still in High-school: Park my own car outside the school

Fulfilling a dream I never could while I was still in High-school: Park my own car outside the school

The story of Putih the E30 began last year around the end of May, I believe. I'm a little hazy on when exactly I bought the car, not sure why, but the point is, by the start of June, I kissed the hand-me-down goodbye.

In any case, the decision was made after the little venture I dropped out of college to do began making me an okay amount of money. The little extra, combined with the cash I saved up since I was 13 meant it was time for a new car, so I started browsing the used car classifieds for something interesting. My eyes seem set on a C124 300CE, but the car left much to be desired despite what it seemed in the pictures. Now the most likely candidate became a Z3, which I had a friend go look over for me. And then, a miracle happened.

Just before I went to see the C124, I'd spotted an E30 325i original factory manual(of which there are very few in Malaysia)for sale, but the guy left no contact number, leaving me no choice but to get in touch through the on-site chat system. To put it mildly, I wasn't holding my breath about the prospects of getting the E30. But, as previously stated, a miracle happened: the guy actually replied.

Turns out he was actually helping a friend list the car and he gave me the details to the lovely chap who was selling the car. After a short test-drive and working out all the things that needed fixing with a friend who tagged along, I dropped a deposit. A few days later, we made the deal and I found myself with a car many a journalist have called "one of the greatest driver's cars in the world".

Now, of course, being an old car, she needed a fair bit of TLC and constant upkeep, but unlike with the 164 I'm trying to get rid of now, she always told me when she was about to let go. Little by little, I brought her back into shape with the mechanic's help. All the while, she never fails to brighten up my day. I could have an argument at the office, but return home in the best of moods, all because she made what is normally a boring commute, a treat all on its own.

A few months in, I pull into the mechanic's place for a major. The cooling system had failed one day and, for once, the car couldn't warn me about it because the temperature gauge also faltered. Next thing you know, the block cracked and water leaked into the engine like nobody's business. If no one said anything, I would've happily fixed the car up, but of all people, my mechanic decided to give me an offer on the car. Something about bringing back memories of his younger days.

And I, in my infinite wisdom, sold it to him at the same price I got it for.

And now I'm here, one E39 and one Alfa 164 later, a year older and stuck with an absolute hooptie of a wedge while the mechanic enjoys the beautiful piece of German Engineering that I never should've sold.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you not to be a fool like me. If you are a former owner or have never tried an E30, I implore you to go out and either buy or try one right now. It doesn't matter if it's a base 316i or the legendary M3. Given the way the automobile is moving forward today, it's certain that we will never have a car like the E30 ever again. To those lucky enough to have E30s in their stable, hang onto them and don't make the same mistake I did, for you will most definitely regret it in the future. And finally, to those who believe the E30 is overhyped and that there are far better options out there, you are right... About there having other fun driver's cars. But, like with those who've never tried one out before, I implore you to go give the E30 a go, because it very much deserves the hype.

Driver's cars are dime a dozen, but the E30 is more than just a driver's car. It is the driver's car of driver's cars.

It is The Ultimate Driving Machine.

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Comments (2)

  • I drove an E30 for 5 years. I paid $600 for it. Had to put about $1000 into it, tires, window regulator, cam belt, etc. Drove it for 5 years, and sold for $1200. I do miss it. Most economical car I’ve ever owned, and one of the most fun to drive.

      3 days ago
  • I've never owned an E30 so I shouldn't even comment - but I've always liked them and have craved owning one fora long time. I almost bought a variant of one before buying the car I have now. I made the right choice for me and love my car - but will always know I passed up on something special.

      4 days ago