The Art of Aging without Grace

October 15, 2014 at 10:51 pm

Ask anyone familiar with BMWs and they will tell you the E36 was the bottom of the barrel amongst recent product lines. Cost-cutting everywhere, l0w-grade materials throughout, and enough rattles to make you think they hid a den of snakes in the door panels. Still, the chassis was well vetted, offering a fairly sublime driving experience particularly in M3-guise.

I still don’t care.

Up until about six months ago, I loved the M3. It was fun to drive, cheap to own, and looked great from every angle. It still does the last thing, but as my E30 has gotten pretty close to daily-driver reliable, I’ve felt let down by the M. Why is the E30 quieter? Why does the valvetrain have less clatter? Why do the materials feel richer, more substantial? Is it all mental? Or does the ancient E30 have an edge quality-wise over the newer M3?

I think the answer, like many, lies somewhere in between. And full disclosure, I love the E30 so much that I’m sure my judgement has been swayed as the car has improved with ample maintenance dollars thrown at it. But it doesn’t dispel the notion that the M3 feels older with each passing season, whereas the 325is feels better and tighter as one more final tweak is made or another maintenance item is taken off the list.

Many will tell you the E30 has some special ingredients dialed in, cultivating memories of BMWs past. A little bit of 2002, some E21 – and viola, you have the perfect driver’s car. Is it my imagination? No, but the M3 does feel like it is aging rapidly. And given a sudden uptick in mechanic visits, the proof is in the invoices. Perhaps I need to accelerate my plans for a used Tacoma and a second E30.

A Sons of Taki 2013 Year in Review

December 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Our first year was a fun and interesting one at Sons of Taki. On behalf of Jeff and Matt, thanks for reading, making comments and telling us we’re not complete idiots for doing this. 2014 is shaping up to be  an exciting one as well. We just won’t hype it up like Lotus and then fail to deliver the goods.

In the meantime, here’s some Sons of Taki Moments from 2013.

We Launch A Website

I remember siting with Jeff and Matt on a snowy winter late January Sunday at the Starbucks in Braintree brainstorming ideas for what would become Sons of Taki. We talked about what we wanted to be, what we wanted the site to look like and most importantly what did we want to call it. I forget how it came about but we pulled up the video of Taki Inoue getting hit by the medical car which got us rolling on the ground. From there it was easy coming up with the name. Then the night after the Daytona 500 we put our money where are mouth was and bought the domain.

The Sound of Metal In a Wood Chipper

Back in March while driving to Rhode Island to have dinner with Jeff, the CEL light came on in the Leggy. I didn’t think much of it as the car was prone to random misfires and light ups. As I was getting past the point of no return (where I was closer to Jeff’s house than my house) the car started making stranger noises, a crackle here and there. I made it to Jeff’s, had dinner with him and white knuckled it back the hour drive to my house with the car sounding worse and worse. I was dreading motor issues.

The next day Matt and I were off to world of wheels in Boston, Matt was going to meet me at our local repair shop so I could drop the Leggy off and then go with Matt. As you know by the now, the Leggy didn’t make it and got a ride from AAA.

One month later and finally being lucky that Subaru decided to be nice I had a new shortblock in the Leggy.

Alpine White BMW’s

Jeff’s obsession with Alpine White BMW’s reached a new level when he got rid of his pristine E46 ZHP and bought a 95 E36 M3 (Alpine White of course). A man who lives in a city in the Northeast must not be right trying to keep two white BMW’s semi clean and not dinged.

The Deal of Century

Everyone has a great buying a car story and dealing with salespeople who are close to Genghis Khan on the people you wouldn’t trust category. SOT took it to a whole new level when Matt bought a new GMC Terrain and the sales person was…Matt’s father. The memorable moment of these negotiation was when Matt’s father (FYI, Matt and I are brothers so he’s my dad as well) was caught in between being a father and being a salesperson when trying to answer Matt’s question of how much money should he put down as a down payment.

The Baltimore Grand Prix Trip

When Jeff decided to take the plunge and get married, he asked me to be his best man, which in turn means a motoring related bachelor party. The whole story can’t be told on this site but in short we got to see the best wreck at an ALMS race in a long time, had to send a search party out for someone at one point and things occurred that racing legends such as Innes Ireland and Gerry Marshall would be proud of.

We’re Surrounded By Rednecks

Sportscar racing wasn’t the only racing we took in live during 2013. Matt (being a trooper and coming off of a 24 hour shift at work )and I attended the Sylvania 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The race was dominated by Matt Kenseth but what really stood out was the kid in front of us who decided to go full redneck and rock a mullet wig, daisy dukes and a plaid shirt to his waist.

Where the hell are they?

You know who your friends are when you go on a wild goose chase with them to find an automotive graveyard; end up wandering around a quarry in the Catskills for an entire afternoon and both of you come back alive and are still friends (I think). The chase doesn’t stop there as you search for answers, find people, get lied to and then get the real deal.

That’s as much as we can tell you for right now about the story. We’ll be rolling it out something during the first half of 2014.

Check back in 2014 as we’ll be posting more automotive ramblings, buying more Alpine White BMW’s, saving lives, and throwing more money at a Pig from Fuji. The first Sons of Taki Movie will be coming out and maybe a podcast or two. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and try to guess who is tweeting what.

The Forever Car

June 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm

Recently, my brother shared an article that discussed how a Porsche 911 was the author’s “Forever Car”  – a car that he would never sell unless it was physically impossible to retain it. As some of you may know, I recently acquired a 1995 E36 M3 coupe on a bit of a whim, and I can say this: it has the stuff forever cars are made of.


I don’t know what it is, but older vehicles for me capture a mixture of qualities that today’s new cars and trucks can’t re-create, features that appeal to the senses and slip further and further out of grasp with each platform change or model update. I suppose people from every era say the same thing about how generational shifts aren’t moving us forward, whether it’s the type of service you receive in a restaurant to the price of a good pair of shoes. As I grow older, I find myself somewhat ambivalent about most of the changes we’re experiencing.  I can appreciate a good mobile phone, and eating organics can only serve to improve my health. But throwing down $30 large for a soulless rolling technology convention just isn’t going to happen.

The M3 is full of instant sensory gratification, from the way it just makes noise – it sounds fast when you’re creeping out of a parking space. It is eerily silent when you’re sitting in traffic, save for a rich mixture giving it a pulse at idle. The exhaust is bassy, full of bumps and pops when coasting down a hill. The intake noises, from the whine in first gear to the air horn-like blat it gives at full throttle, is nothing any new car can offer without acoustical support from some electronically manufactured soundwave. Kids today think all car movies are filmed with CGI, thanks to Fast & The Furious. The M3 is Ronin compared to Tokyo Drift. 

It looks natural. It’s a normal 3-Series coupe, from the side skirts to the trunk lid, yet a set of chunky wheels and aero kit transform it, with the 235-series rubber poking out from the fender. It’s as if the designers knew all along the ordinary E36 would accommodate such enhancements, even when there were no plans to bring the M3 to the U.S. Today’s  performance variants need lowered suspensions, 19 inch wheels with tire monitors, LED lighting and 500-watt stereos to convey performance; the M3 accomplishes the same without a bumping system and Von Dutch pinstripes.

Most of all, it’s a giant middle finger to our throwaway society. It’s got 153,000 miles of memories, and is testament to a proactive maintenance schedule and passionate owners. Today’s gadget-hounds and window shoppers find contentment knowing they’ve purchased the latest and the greatest, and tremble with the realization that newer and better will be here in six months – or worse yet, next door. Good for them, I suppose. Hope that new infotainment system keeps them occupied – God forbid they actually find driving engaging enough.

And that might be the bottom line of all of this. If you enjoy driving, you find pleasure in the tactile sensations of older vehicles, from the smell of fuel wafting through weathered gaskets and the rough leather patches of a worn steering wheel with hand-stitched M colors. If you just want to ensure your ego can keep up with the Joneses, your driveway will become a revolving door. If you want a forever car, you buy an M3.

Crap Wagon Twofer!!!

April 17, 2013 at 12:34 pm

While at a stop light on Melnea Cass Blvd in Roxbury, I came across a rare “twofer”! An open-wheeled BMW stopped behind a Volvo that has seen better days.

photo (1) photo


It appears that open-rear wheel racing is back in Roxbury!

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