Finally, a rare E34 535i manual shows up on salvage . . . and the next day, a 5 ton dump truck backs into my Pathfinder. Which moves obtaining project parts down quite a bit on my priority scale.
With no way to get to work and a wait of several days before I could get an appointment to get the insurance claim started, I needed another vehicle asap. In the short time I had the Pathfinder I developed a distinct taste for well equipped 4x4s . . . and an equally pronounced distaste for land-barge handling and sub-20 mpg fuel economy. So imagine my delight when my emergency vehicle search came up with this:
2003 A4 Avant 1.8t quattro. 186,000 km, very clean, full maintenance history. All the utility of an SUV, double the gas mileage, and the handling is not too shabby either. And despite the teeny engine and hefty curb weight, it's acceptably quick especially in the city. It's got a 5 speed Tiptronic but that's fine with me for a vehicle that will get 90% of its use in winter. Honestly, compared to the visceral mechanical experience of a sportbike, cars are so far down on the scale that autos and manuals are about equally (un)engaging. But the amenities are a bit better:
With the exception of one motorcycle (which I promptly traded for another project bike), this is the first non-beater I've bought in over 20 years. Frankly, having to care about things like door dings and regular washes makes me a little uncomfortable