[Sticky] I’m the publisher of this website and the organizer of the Sports Car Meetup Group of WNY
I became passionate about sports and high performance cars only about two years ago. I’m surprised because I’ve never been very interested in them and I’ve always tried to minimize my car costs so I could indulge in some expensive hobbies and have some money for investments and savings. So I’ve always bought used cars that I thought would be practical and reliable. I’ve owned Toyota Camrys for a while now and I got 250K miles out of my last one, which required very few repairs.
I'd always wanted a convertible but I was too frugal to buy one. Then a couple of summers ago, after discussing cars with someone at work, I suddenly realized that the time had come. I had once been told that I'd fit in a BMW Z4 and so I found one and immediately fell in love with it.
After the Z4 I could no longer stand driving my current Camry. So in March 2018 I purchased a nice 2002 BMW 330i. It was going to be my year-round daily driver but it has low miles and no rust so I decided not to expose it to road salt. So I’m still driving the Camry in the winter and I can’t stand it anymore. Now I’m looking for something fun and reliable to drive next winter that’s not a BMW and which will comfortably fit someone 6-ft, 4-in tall.
My first car was a used 1966 VW Beetle that threw a connecting rod the week after I bought it. I was a very poor college student and I had no choice but to fix it. So, with the help of an uncle who had lots of tools I began learning how to fix cars and I replaced the engine with a used one. I continued to fix my own cars and I helped put myself through college by working as a mechanic, parts room manager, and a service manager.
I somehow fell in love with German-made Ford Capris, which were sold by Mercury, while I was in my 20s. I eventually owned three of them during the 80s while the rest of my generation seemed to be obsessed with American muscle cars. The Capris probably couldn't win a drag race but they were quick, responsive and enormously fun to drive on twisty country and mountain roads.
My BMWs are even more fun to drive. I’ve driven a lot of cars and I’ve come to believe that there are very few cars that are “fun” in the way they are. For me, comfort and luxuriousness do not make a car fun to drive. And high horsepower and acceleration doesn’t always do it either. A Toyota Camry with a V6 can do 0-60 in a very respectable 5-point-something seconds but very few people are going to claim they’re fun to drive.
I’m finding it difficult to describe why my BMWs make me grin even on a short trip to the store, but they do. It might be because BMWs, especially the smaller ones, are like the world’s best decathletes. They may not be the best in every event but they do almost everything really well, and BMW has nailed the “driving experience” category with their cars handling and responsiveness.
Unfortunately, things regularly break on BMWs that rarely break on Asian and many American cars. The engines and drivetrains, except for some automatic transmissions, are almost bullet proof. But water pumps fail too frequently, coolant expansion tanks can suddenly burst, window regulators stop working, vacuum hoses rot too quickly, oil leaks too much from gaskets, and replacing the battery in a newer one requires an expensive trip to the dealer so they can “tell” the computer about it. This is why I don’t want another BMW for my next winter car.
These problems don’t always occur. An in-law has an ‘02 323 with 185K miles that they bought new and the only thing they’ve had to replace, besides the typical things like brakes and tires, is an ignition coil. Mine haven’t had many issues yet and most of the money I’ve put into my cars has been for preventive maintenance. I usually do the work myself and in my opinion the cars are easy to work on, you can find lots of repair videos and help online, and I think parts are generally inexpensive as long as you don’t buy them from the dealer. [Hint: FCP Euro]
This website is similar to one that I ran for about twelve years for the aviation community in upstate NY. I was passionate about flying airplanes and gliders then and I discovered that there were lots of flying events and clubs that almost no one knew about. So I created a website during the early days of the Internet to help publicize them. I also distributed a printed version of my aviation calendar and got it republished in flying club newsletters. In addition, I helped get an email discussion list going and I regularly organized events for pilots.
I considered myself “non-denominational” and was very willing to help promote all kinds of flying and aviation interests. I’m the same with cars and my favorite car shows and cruises are ones with a wide variety of cars and owners.
The Internet is now omnipresent but it’s still hard to find out about interesting events because you have to visit a lot of different websites to learn about them. There are some other websites that try to compile them and you’ll find the best ones on the “other calendars” page. But you’ll often have to dig through a lot of events that aren’t local and you’ll frequently find there are no details, which I dislike.
You may think that there are already many good car forums and this one might be a waste of time. And you might be right. But I think a forum with a local focus on Rochester and western NY would be useful. The other forums usually can’t help you find local information and local parts or services. Or find someone someone who’d be willing to loan you a tool, show you how they did it on their car, or give you a hand with a repair. And you’re not likely to make a new friend on them that you can go have a beer or burger with.
I know this forum might fail. But the cost of failure is low and I strongly believe that if you’re not making mistakes then you’re not learning anything. I have some experience with starting forums and I think that if we can get 5 to 10 people posting/replying on this regularly it will take off and become a useful resource for the local car community.
If you see a tall older guy with a gray BMW Z4 or a blue 330i it might be me. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself in person or on here.