This is my first article on DriveTribe, inspired by some post that read "why you should become a writer for DriveTribe". I'm a simple man, simple marketing works for me. I guess me following football and cars religiously also contributes to the "simple man" picture, and being Portuguese, let me just add, CR7 is God among Earthly creatures.
One thing we're far from best in the world at is encouraging petrolheads to be so, We have some of the most restricting tuning laws in Europe, gas that costs 1.50€/l (95 octane gas), diesel that costs around 1€/l (meaning, no one drives any big displacement gas-powered cars, even the boy-racer crowd opts for smokescreen-spitting tuned diesels), and very high taxes, which in turn makes something like a cooking spec 316d a rich man's car.
With that said, like many here, I grew up dreaming about which cars I'd have and I fought the system by having, among others, 2 Alfas (33 and 147) a Saxo Cup (VTS in other markets, right?), an E30 325i (which I, admittedly, crashed) and a cool wafty old Xantia. (On an additional note, I really don't want to seem spoiled, I'm fortunate, but all these cars were cheap, as a quick look through any classifieds website will attest).
These were all considered, by my friends and close ones (the bimmer was ballistic, by these standards), to be fast and "boy racer"-like cars, and they had their merits. The realistic dream choices I missed out on were a 1.7 Puma, a Miata and a Clio 172/182. I'll still tick those boxes sometime in the future.
As life takes its turns, I moved to Bulgaria (for rational reasons) and thought "well, since I'm here and every other car I see on the street seems to be an AMG Mercedes, let's see how cheap cars are", and, viola, I have an E46 Coupe, 330i (I considered and tested a few GTVs, but they feel really flimsy, and I thought it would be like, asking for trouble), with some rust (and a lot of mileage) on it, for a fair bit less than what I paid for my 1.6 TS Alfa 147 back home (a year ago).
Every time I leave for work (I've had it for 3 months now), I click the key, the doors open, I sit on the leather, electric sports seats (with memory), put some very questionable music on, blaring through the HK speakers and think "OMFG this car is actually mine". Then I wake up the straight 6 and panic because it's drinking 17l of unleaded for every 100km I do, But then again, 20€ is half a tank.
Now, I genuinely believe I'm humble, and I'm grateful to be in a position where I can fight for everything I want (let's face it, this means "cars"), but the goalposts have moved, and I believe they're in the right place now. I'm in my mid-20s, I have a degree, I have a full-time job, and no kids, house, debts, etc, I don't think having an 18 year old car that makes a cool noise (decat, and really, these straight sixes, they're legendary for a reason) and has 231hp (fast-ish, with a very good mid-range, but a modern diesel repmobile will leave me for dead, while drinking a quarter of the fuel) should be so unbelievable and such an accomplishment, and yet, it still feels like that and the luster is still to wear off.
"Young Carter sliding out, I'm flyer than the whip..."- I'm up for the challenge of looking like I own this
Of course, since the goalposts have moved, now my dream is to have an E92 M3 (in a few years). The last NA M3, and a masterpiece (although, who knows, maybe I'll test drive one and don't like it), or maybe something a bit more individual (Cayman, Evora, 996 911, Impreza/Evo?, anyway, that's a headache I'm looking forward to).
Hope you enjoy my take on this! If you don't feel like moving to Bulgaria, I guess Germany is somewhat the same, and, of course, if you don't mind adapting to the steering wheel being on the "other side", the UK seems like the best option (I'm left-handed, I think my shifting technique could improve).