A couple of months ago, inspired by a series of events at the 2014 Amelia Concours d’Elegance, my father asked if I would help him track down an older BMW, something fun that he could purchase as a daily driver. My dad already owns an extremely rare and all original 1988 M5, for many the holy grail of BMW sports sedans, but he wanted something that he would feel comfortable taking to the gym, making runs to Publix, or leaving in the shopping center parking lot unattended. His goal was to find a car that may need a little work, but was clean enough that he could park it in his driveway and not incite an emergency homeowner’s meeting.
Dad and I began searching the regular channels, scouring Craigslist, Auto Trader, and local car lots to find just right vehicle. Online descriptions and pictures often proved useless, sometimes the photos would be more than ten years old or shot at strange angles in low light. We quickly learned that “excellent condition” is a subjective term and “needs a little work” often means that the body is rusty, the head gasket is blown and the transmission slips.
Our quest took us all over Jacksonville; chasing leads often meant forty-five minute rides across town at random times during the day. Each trip turned into an adventure, we were explorers, the GPS was the treasure map, and the elusive BMW our bounty.
The truth is – and please do not tell dad – after our first trip out I really didn’t care if we ever found the right car. Comparing notes, discussing Blue Book values, researching models, and those three-hour round trips were the real treasure. The anticipation that filled the car on the way to see a potential purchase, the new people that we would meet and the stories they would tell, the smiles, laughs, even the frustrations of striking out, are something I will always cherish.
In a technology-driven world where speed, efficiency, and convenience are often the benchmarks for value and performance, we can easily lose sight of the fact that the journey really is the destination. I think automobile enthusiasts understand this better than most; our passion literally takes us places.
Dad eventually found his car, a beautiful Lachssilber Metallic 1987 BMW L6. BMW created the L6 as a high-end luxury model of the popular mid-eighties e24 6-series, almost every interior surface is covered in leather – including the headliner- and when the car was new it cost $49,500, almost $10k more than a 911 coupe. Pampered for twenty-four years, the BMW looks and performs almost as well as it did the day it rolled off the showroom floor. The aftermarket radio and gloss black staggered wheels are the only non-original items, but both add value and function to the vehicle. The best part is that Dad drives the L6 everyday and takes it to cruise-ins and car shows, including today’s Automotive Addicts Cars and Coffee from 9-11am at The Florida Times-Union building on 1 Riverside Avenue.
Tomorrow is Father’s Day; a day set aside to publicly honor our dads. For many of you tomorrow may be a day of somber remembrance, honoring your father through joyful-tear inducing stories of days gone by. For others a phone call will stretch the miles, marking the day with a simple thanks and I love you. If you are as fortunate as I am and live right around the corner from your dad I have a recommendation that will make Father’s Day 2014 one to remember forever. Call Dad, load up the family vehicle and “Zoom to the Zoo” for a special Father’s Day event that includes a car show, BBQ, and live music on the Great Lawn.
Admission to the zoo is free for all fathers, but you do need to visit Jacksonvillezoo.org to download a coupon. While you are there the kids can visit the World Ocean Day information table and make Dad an ocean themed Father’s Day card.
If this is your first visit to The Jacksonville Zoo you are in for a real treat, and if have not been in a while you are going to be amazed by the world-class attraction located right in your own backyard.
Happy Father’s Day from all of us at Automotive Addicts!