photo credit to Mayday Khiem circa 2007?
Browsing through Wek’fest pictures that David took made me reminisce about my 98 Honda Civic; it was clean, aircon blew cold, it was slow and slammed. But as much as I wanted to keep it, last year, things changed with having a kid on the way. It made me let go of some toys including the civic and prioritize a new responsibility. Was I growing older? MAYBE. I needed a car my wife could drive with the baby boy and not have to worry about it getting jacked after picking up some groceries.
I was on a mission, since she was driving an 06 BMW 325ci, I was out to try a German saloon. I had 2 options, a Merc, or a BMW, I also considered Audi and VWs but the 2 were more familiar to me mechanically wise. I wanted a German that would be car-seat safe, a little oomph, MPG didn’t really bother me since I knew it came with the territory, and most important, a car that I would be content WITHOUT modifying. With multiple trim levels from each manufacturer, I researched for months in order to decide what car would fit my
needs wants. I finally decided to search for an e46 330i M-package or a w202 C43; or if luck came my way, a C55 AMG one of the rarest W202 AMG production C-class.
I test drove a babied 1999 C43 and fell in love with the 4.3 V8 power. I also loved the fact that if you were not into cars, you’d think that it’s a regular C230 with factory 19inch optional AMG wheels. Interior was compact in the back seat and exterior was conservative yet classy. The ride comfort was smooth as expected from a Mercedes.
Then I went to a BMW dealership and test drove a 2004 330i Performance Package (ZHP). the ZHP was the closest we could ever get to having an e46 m3 saloon. The aero-kit was aggressive, 6speed manual gearbox was perfect and the sport suspension was stiff compared to the c43. It was no different to my 325 since it had the same sport suspension.
I had to decide, due date was getting closer; I picked the car that was closest to what i already had, I chose the BMW. why? obviously I was already familiar with the engine, maintenance and troubleshooting. I wanted the powerful AMG but was weary about maintaining a carefully engineered and limited production Mercedes. Unfortunately, when I was about to pick up the ZHP, it was already sold.
Last picture before I gave up my Honda
I ended up with a 2001 323i Wagon, dropped it and gave it a set of Kosei K1s. After 2 months, I found a leak in the block and traded it immediately for an 04′ 330i M-Sport sedan. I am happy with the choice I made. Most importantly, my son loves it and learned his “Ready, Set GO!” in the 330i at every stop light.
Things in life may change but my passion for cars will never fade. I may have already passed it to my son unconsciously since I always took him to Coffee and Cars, car shows and track days. I may have stopped modifying but I will never quit the love I have for motorsports. In the future, I might look for a project Honda hatchback and turn it into a Kanjo racer to fix my itchy grease hand. I believe I just had more reason to enjoy the hobby more because I know someday I will have a fellow gear head to talk to when I get old and grey.
Roots <3 Mayday Garage