You know what the problem is with technology? It’s us. As a society, we don’t know when to stop. Technology is a convenience that solves problems… until it ultimately becomes an inconvenience that causes problems. Let’s take some random examples.
Having a refrigerator beats the hell out of… not having a refrigerator.
A fridge keeps your food cold. That is a win for technology & nourishment, right! But when refrigerators start to come with LCD screens & wifi that connects them to your phone… it’s gone too damn far. Hopefully, we don’t need a fridge that reminds us to go to the grocery store. It’s silly. The screens will fry at the first tickle of a lightning strike. And your new ‘smart’ refrigerator will no longer be able to perform its single primary function (cooling your groceries)… because of a feature it absolutely never needed in the first place. Meanwhile that old ’90s fridge out in your garage is still sucking power & cooling like Coolio. Why? Because it was built to be everything you needed, and nothing you didn’t. It was built to be good, not gimmicky. Another example…
A broom is better than picking up crumbs by hand…
And a vacuum cleaner is often better than a broom. But when your vacuum cleaner becomes an electronic robot that spreads dog sh!t all across your floors while you’re not home… well then the technology has put behind square-1. One more example, I promise…
Cars with seats are better than cars with no seats.
Lol I think we can all agree on that. Then – we upped the ante a lil bit & made car seats that recline and slide back/forth. Now we’re talkin’!
But modern cars with 80lb seats that are 32-way electronically adjustable – that’s overkill. You’re never comfortable, because you have too many options. These over-luxurious seats automatically slide back with you turn the car off… cracking the $8 inflation-eggs you just bought at the grocery store. And it’s not freaking cool anymore. When our seats have to be wired into our ECU, we’ve gone too damn far. That sort of tech is no longer enhancing your life… it’s just making you a life-sized chicken nugget. C’mon.
Examples can be given time & time again… in pretty much every area where technology has infiltrated our lives.
Which these days… is literally everywhere. Look around. Why do we need something strapped to our wrist that counts our steps? Why are we plugging-in mountain bikes? Can we not see how lame & pointless it all is? Technology is creating expensive solutions for problems that shouldn’t even exist. And nowhere is this truer than right now in the automotive industry. Let me try & get back on track.
The bottom line is: Good cars make good drivers. And dumb cars make dumb drivers.
Look around these days – and you’ll see that we have a whole lot of dumb cars & dumb drivers… who don’t know any different. Because for every driver-engaging part of a car that we remove & put into the past (like a manual transmission), and then replace with tech that ‘does it for us’ (like driver assistance systems)… we make worse drivers that are less connected to driving.
We lower the bar & create a more incapable human, while simultaneously raising the costs & complications of travel. We’re turning vehicles into completely soulless appliances… and people don’t get passionate about appliances. Car culture suffers. And the way that humans have always felt a connective freedom in driving… that dies. Right now – the auto industry is giving up the very thing that made it remarkably special.
The E30 BMW was not an appliance.
BMW’s slogan is/was The Ultimate Driving Machine. And back when BMW was making the E30, they lived by that slogan. Driving was everything to them. BMW spoke to people who saw driving as more than a task or a commute… but as a sport, an activity, an escape, a passion, a reset. Nowadays, BMW makes The Ultimate Driving Capsule at best… with wild maintenance costs… largely due to unnecessary tech & complication. And when BMW’s marketing department speaks of connection… it’s wifi or bluetooth first. At some point we all came to a fork in the road, and BMW took a different path from the purists. It is what it is. But at what point can we no longer even call it a machine? A machine implies ‘mechanical’. You don’t call your phone a machine, you call it an electronic device.
That’s part of why MacKenzie’s story with this E30 sedan got me inspired & hopeful.
See – MacKenzie was kind of magnetically drawn to the E30, with no outside influence. There was a soul connection there. She didn’t come from a family of obsessed car lovers. But she did come from a family who had a general ‘appreciation of cars’, the way that American used to. Meaning – they’d go to the local car shows on summer holidays & whatnot. That appreciation was passed down to MacKenzie.
MacKenzie always saw older cars as ‘more’ than the sum of their parts.
Passion in sheetmetal. Kind of like rolling art & history. She had an interest in their design, their nuances, their presence, and their story. Who had owned them way back when… and what kind of special moments did they share with their owners? How were they used & loved over the years?
Vintage BMWs in particular, just spoke to MacKenzie.
I can relate to that. There’s a kind of simplistic sophistication in the DNA of older BMWs. Some of us just see it. And like I said – it naturally inspires me that someone without huge car influence in their childhood, can look at cars like that… and intuitively see what I see.
10 years ago, MacKenzie wasn’t deep into car culture by any means.
And 10 years ago, her husband Bryant… was still her boyfriend. He was also not deeply involved with car culture yet either. But he got the itch to get a 240sx. MacKenzie was like…
“Yeah but what about an E30?” … “Hey look at this E30!” … “Aren’t E30s cool!”
Eventually her subtle suggestions took root, and her husband decided on an E30 (convertible for style points). Very shortly after, Mackenzie realized she needed one too. And as fate would have it, this unusually clean white E30 sedan nestled-up next to their vert in the garage.
The 2 E30s have sent this young family down a rabbit-hole of vintage BMW appreciation errrrr obsession.
MacKenzie’s daily is an E28 BMW (80’s 5-series). Her husband drives an 80’s 7-Series. They own a vintage 2002. And the love for old BMWs has basically matured into a love for… old in general. They see the beauty/appeal in it… and in preserving it. Hell – they even went out & bought an old house!
They’ve developed an appreciation for the heart & soul that went into things of the past.
When the pace may have been a little bit slower, but it was more authentic & passionate & lasting. Often times, you don’t see that in todays products. Heart & soul has been replaced with cookie-cutter. Craftsmanship has been replaced with automation. And the craftsmen, have been outsourced.
I say this a lot in articles, but it’s never any less true: Every time you make a purchase, you’re casting your vote on the way you want the world to be. When you buy from Amazon instead of local… you’ve casted your vote. When you buy an automatic crossover instead of a soulful convertible, you’ve casted your vote. Eventually… those votes add up. What kind of consumer habits are we grooming in this society? Anyway back to the point…
MacKenzie had a vision for her BMW E30 sedan right from the start.
It just felt like there was a right way to do this. And that was to preserve the classic, analogue, sportful soul of the E30… while accentuating it with a more modern/aggressive wheel fitment & ride height. MacKenzie got her dream set of retro/modern/iconic/timeless wheels – a classic set of BBS RSs. Then, she had them redone in white with 18k rose gold plated hardware. The rest of the car stays clean and period-correct, with the IS-model aero kit & Euro trim.
The car hasn’t really ‘changed’ in years.
A lot of people like to change-up their car every year. And more power to ‘em. But what do you change, when the car just feels so right. A lot of times, some of the most inspiring builds are the ones that preserve the energy of their era. We’re not talking about a Youtube kind of inspiration… with likes, comments, and big views. That’s different. Here – we’re talking more about an intimate level of inspiration. 1 one 1. When you can look at this car in these absolutely stunning photos by Benny Whiles… and your mind fantasizes off to a different time, place, and pace. You feel it.
I say this a lot in articles too lol: But vintage cars are a form of time travel. They take you back to the energy of their decade. And they do it in a way you can feel & connect with – in 4D. You can look at a historical painting in a museum & get inspired. Even emotional. But you can never sit in it. You can’t fire it up, have it come to life, smell it, touch it, hear it, drive it, and see light reflecting through it. It’s a different form of art – the living kind.
Text by Wooley // Photos by Benny Whiles
BBS RS wheels
Euro trim, lights, grille
Nardi steering wheel
Alpina shift knob