First car that was “my car”? Dad’s used BMW X3.
Mom and Dad wanted a safe car to let their car-crazed son drive. Mom wanted an SUV because “they’re safer” (much to my chagrin). They both agreed that giving a high school student a new car was overkill. So the decision was to buy a car from my dad (instead of leasing it) and then let me drive it a year and a half later. Dad was/is a lawyer and mom is a little brand conscious (read: pretentious), so a RAV4 wasn’t going to do the job. This buying decision dates back to 2004 before every automaker became an SUV/Crossover maker that sometimes sold cars, so the choices weren’t great. So they opted for a BMW X3. Not just any X3, one of the first shipments to the United States and fully equipped, including the navigation system. They let me choose the color – I chose blue as an homage to my favorite color for an E39 M5.
I drove it in high school and didn’t like it from the start. I remember we had a number of issues, including at least one engine mount that broke before the car was two years old. Except for one instance where a friend opened the driver’s door in a stone driveway wall, I left it pretty unscathed when I went to college.
Then my brother took it. By the time I got home from my first semester of freshman, he had driven it through the garage door.
Then the electric gremlins started to appear. Who would have guessed that an early model year BMW with all the fancy new electronics would have this problem? It got so bad that my parents only let my brother drive the car locally because the car wouldn’t start unpredictably. I experienced this myself when, after sitting in the car for five minutes with the radio on but the engine off, it wouldn’t start. Not to mention my brother trashed the inside – nothing broken or missing, just very dirty.
Dad finally threw in the towel in the early 2010s – getting around $11,000 from the local MB dealership where he leased an E350. No idea what happened to it after that, it probably went to a wholesale auction, then to a BHPH lot and shortly after to a junkyard when the next unfortunate owner abandoned the electric drain.
First car I bought myself? 2013 Infiniti G37x Sedan. Bought CPO in Cleveland, definitely got watered as I was new to the world of car buying. I needed an all wheel drive/4 wheel drive for my girlfriend (now wife) who would need to commute during midwestern snow storms, didn’t want to invest in snow tires and didn’t like still no SUVs. I tried an Impreza and hated it and got the Infiniti for not much more than the fully loaded Mazda 3 I looked at. Impossible to find a BMW 3 Series, an Audi A4 or a Lexus IS at the same price. Ownership was uneventful and the car was extremely reliable. The interior was dated even from two years of use and it had a thirsty engine but nothing to complain about. Went back to New York and garage parking wasn’t kind to him. On a whim I visited a local BMW dealership and they had the car I really wanted when I picked up the G, a blue/saddle BMW 3 series. Traded the Infiniti that day – did a much better job negotiating the trade/purchase. My wife was sad to see him go, not because she particularly liked this car (no matter what she says), but because it is very sentimental and it was “our first car”.
Kept the VIN of the G37x. It ended up at a new car dealership in Rochester, NY (ironically, I have ties to that city). The dealer did a paint job to fix all the scratches and cleaned it up nicely. Still, it sat around for a while, and after several price drops, ended up selling for less than $1,000 of what I traded it for. It’s still going strong in Western New York according to Carfax. I told my wife about it recently and she wants to find it and buy it. We won’t.
So your first car was a luxury crossover, which eventually gave way to an all-wheel-drive performance Japanese car that lived out the rest of its days in Rochester. Are you me? What number am I thinking of?