End of another "era" today. The GTI went to Carmax and never came back home. Instead, I happed a cab back to the apartment. While I'd gone back and forth about the whole deal, at some point this morning I just decided that driving is part of what I do, and I want to shift. Without a computer helping. I'd had the appraisal done earlier in the week and they beat the trade-in quote by a couple $K, so I went ahead and did the deal. Felt a little sad, but also somewhat cathartic.
While it was a very nice car (my first car with leather, sunroof, and nice interior...now I'm spoiled), it also was inextricably tied to my motorcycle accident. For those not keeping score at home, I bought the car about a month after the accident, as I could not operate the clutch in my Subie wagon. The crash still haunts me on a fairly regular basis. I chose the GTI because the DSG transmission is about as close as you can get to a "real" manual transmission, as it actually has two clutches, albeit computer controlled. And it is impressive technology and no doubt more efficient than I am.
But once my leg healed, I was back pushing a clutch in the 911, and got back on the track in November of last year. I continued to rehab the leg, and my left leg was horribly bored when driving the VW. And I found I missed the element of visceral engagement in driving that is afforded by a clutch. So I started to think about making a change. The economic realities slowed me down, but as I did more track days and other things fell in and out of place, I edged closer to pulling the trigger despite losing money (although you always lose money on cars unless you buy used and very lucky).
For whatever reason, Wednesday I was compelled to get the appraisal, and this morning I decided it was time. So away she went. Not without a fight tough. I drove home at lunch to pick up the extra keys and clean out the car. Problem is I cleaned out everything. I got to Carmax and discovered that I'd left the registration at home. Oops. So later I drove back home (fighting the usual Friday all day traffic on the 405), finally ditching out of work around 4pm to take care of things. After a bit of a wait (and slightly frenzied call from J as her car was in the shop), I was in a cab heading back home.
And that was it. A page in my life turned. I ended up driving J to the Audi dealership to get her loaner car (in the 911). We had a conversation and she made the argument that I should just accept who I am (ie nuts) and if I want a different car regularly, just lease. I commented that I wanted to find something that I really liked, and keep it. She pointed to a used S4 Avant (340hp wagon), and asked, "like that?" She knows that an S4 Avant has been one of my "dream cars" over the years. I do love me the hatchbacks...especially when they have 340hp V8 engines. Taking her advice to heart I had to do a test drive. Monster car. Not sure that I want the reality of it though. Asking $35K, probably go for a few $K less. Gobs of power, quattro, nice interior. Very nice. I checked insurance and not much worse than an A3, and cheaper than a Subaru WRX. But about 15mpg in the city. Ouch. A3 is alledgedly 25mpg city, although the GTI realistically got about 21mpg.
Anywho, something to think about. There is a used A3 with black interior that I can likely get for under $24K. Much more of a "budget" choice, although very nice in its own right. Front wheel drive which is a little of a bummer, but not the end of the world. And at $10K less...well, that's about $100 less per month in car payment. Money that can to towards the track car. Plus probably tough to sell a gas guzzler in a few years when we hit $4/gal gas. Oh well, as J said, this is the fun part...thinking about what to buy. But I'll have to pick something soon, as commuting in the track car isn't ideal.