On the way to work this past Monday morning, I found myself cruising alongside one of my all-time favorite cars – an E38 BMW 740iL. I’ve long been a BMW fan, but never an owner. I’ve come close a couple times, just never pulled the trigger. When I come across the simple elegance of the big Beemer in the wild, I tend to pay attention. And I tend to think about what it would take to get one in my driveway. Such was the case that morning.
As I coasted to a stop at a red light next to the immaculately clean, obsidian 740iL, looking almost identical to the one pictured here, the inner dialog began…
“Get the phone out and snap a picture for GU+,” I thought. “Nah. The light will change and he’ll be gone before you can get the phone unlocked and take the picture,” came the response (also me). “Remember, we saw one just like that FSBO the other day. Only $6500. We could make that happen.” (sigh)
The light changed. We resumed our morning commute. As my lane was moving quicker, I took one final look back in the rearview – at dreams, at destiny, at just how green the grass was on the other side. That’s when he popped a radiator hose. Liters of distilled water and coolant exploded through every vent and panel gap on the driver’s front corner in an angry cloud of steam. Poor guy.
Of course, this being rush hour – and he being in the “$80,000” BMW – he had to press on some distance before the oblivious strokes around him, likely enraptured by local on-air “talent,” continued passing the injured giant on the right, until he could finally pull off onto a side street across from a dingy carnicería. I thought about the all-aluminum M62 V8 under the hood, fully up to operating temperature when suddenly deprived of all cooling, just as the driver calls upon it to shovel two-plus tons of full-sized saloon up to speed and around the bend.
For a moment, I thought about stopping to offer a assistance. (I’m a gearhead, after all.) But what could I do, in my wife’s Juke (since my own truck is still on the disabled list) with no tools? Offer to let him use my phone? Surely he had his own cell phone. No. I would just be getting in the way and I was already cutting it close on my own ETA at the office. “Good luck, dude,” I thought, and continued on my way with the pack of mouth-breathers.
At the next red light, I reached over into the passenger seat, grabbed my “Moleskine,” and hastily scribbled the words, “740iL grass greener.” I wasn’t sure if I would do a post on it or not, but later that day, I would read an old copy of Overland Journal in which Editor-in-Chief Chris Collard was asked “What’s the best overland vehicle?” His response: “Put simply, the best rig is what you choose to drive, the one that makes you feel good from behind the wheel—so long as it gets you there and home again.”
Amen to that. Amen to that.