Friday, April 02, 2010

A Re-Run

So... a friend e-mailed me to inquire if I'd ever posted any pics of P-Ville in the daylight.  I think she was just being subtle and prolly thinks I'm really a vampire... which isn't too far from the truth if one takes my bizarre sleeping habits into account.  But we digress.  I only make very limited use of Blogger's tag feature so finding pics or posts about certain subjects can be time consuming, if I let it be.  It's way too late at this point to go back over 2800+ posts and categorize each and every one (sigh).

But... that said... I stayed up way too late last night and only just poured my second cup.  Which is a left-handed way of saying "I got nuthin'."  At the moment, anyhoo.  But... in searching for daytime P-Ville pics I came across this lil blurb of a war story you may or may not find interesting.  I added the pics... there was a time when we were short on visuals here at EIP.
Just a little quirky thing I meant to blog, but forgot until just now. My new bike (ed: That would be The Zuki... at right... and since replaced ) doesn’t have a petcock on its gas tank. This is the very first bike I’ve owned without one, and that fact drove me nuts the day I took delivery…I looked all over the bike for the danged thing and came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t there. The bike does have a gas gauge, though. Petcocks have become an anachronism, I suppose. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or a bad thing. Oh, and another thing…the bike is fuel-injected. Another first, for me.

While I’m on the subject…taking delivery of the bike was an “interesting” experience. After signing all the paperwork I was accompanied to the service area by the sales manager. She attached the temporary plate to the bike and then watched as I did my walk-around. I checked various nuts and bolts for tightness, inspected the oil filter area for leaks (and tightness), eyeballed the wheel alignment, checked the chain tension…and, to keep the litany down to a manageable level, just performed a general inspection. I only asked one question: “How do I open the seat?” The answer wasn’t obvious, and the sales lady didn’t know. I figured it out, noticing there was a key receptacle just below the tail light. Insert key, twist, seat pops up. Simple. The sales lady thanked me once again for my business and walked away after that, leaving me and my new bike alone together for the first time. I suited up and rode off…

I couldn’t help but contrast this non-ritual with the most amazing delivery experience I ever had, and one that’s not been matched since. That most amazing experience was at BMW’s Delivery Center in Munich. The Second Mrs. Pennington and I took delivery of a 1983 320i there in the fall of 1982. In Baltic Blue…just like the one at left. Yeah, it looks gray. I thought so, too. But if you've ever seen the Baltic Sea, you understand. Most accurate, those Teutons!

After presenting ourselves at the front desk of the delivery center (where we were signed in), we were escorted into an office where a BMW employee… fluent in English… walked around from behind his desk, introduced himself, and then sat back down behind his desk after we were seated. He verified our identities (passports and other assorted sales and delivery-related papers) and finished processing our paper work. This took all of about 15 minutes and was quite pleasant and efficient. The signing of the paper was concluded with a crisp “So, are you ready to take your new car?” Hell, Yes! Let’s GO!

We were escorted out of his small office and across a rather large area resembling a showroom, with various Beemers sitting around in all their glory. On the far side of the showroom were two sliding glass doors that opened into a spotlessly clean garage area, where our new baby was sitting, along with several other cars. We were met at the door by a middle aged man in a white lab coat. The paper processor introduced us, by name, and informed us Mr. Herr I-Forget-His-Name was going to “introduce” us to our new car.

And introduce us he did. He demonstrated every feature on that car, and I mean every single one…including popping both hood and trunk, showing us where the dipstick was, just to cite one example… demonstrating the oil level was indeed full, in the process. He showed us the fuse box. He showed us the spare, and the jack, and demonstrated how to remove and replace each. He showed us how to tune the flippin’ radio, how to operate the sun roof, adjust the seats…in short, everything imaginable. And then he asked if we had any questions. I had none: the briefing and walk-around, which lasted the better part of 45 minutes, had been more comprehensive than any I’d ever had, before or since. TSMP, honor-bound as she was to never let an opportunity to ask questions pass her by, had a few which were handled politely and with aplomb, even the one or two eye-rollers (on my part and my part alone).

The ritual ended with the signing of a delivery form, we were handed maps and detailed instructions on how to reach the autobahn (after being discreetly asked if we were leaving Munich right away), and we were out the door. Literally, accompanied by hand waves of good-bye and shouted exhortations to “Enjoy your new Beh-Emm-Vay!!” And we did…from that moment on and for ten years hence.

I marveled about that experience for months, if not years. It was extraordinary. And that was for a bottom-of-the-line Beemer. Lord only knows what hoops they jump through if you buy an expensive one… It’s been a while since I thought about that experience, but taking delivery of my bike brought it back into focus. Bright, sharp focus.
Well... I said you MIGHT find this interesting, didn't I? 

Apropos of nuthin'... Blogger has pissed itself again.  I began attempting to post this at 1215 hrs (it's 1255 1318 hrs as I type) only to get multiple error messages.  I also find I cannot comment at my Daily Reads that use Blogger.  Frustrating.


  1. Ah - the Beemer. It has always been my wish to own one, any of them will do. My dad had a 1979 320i, his first. He'd been a Ford-man before that for a very long time. Once he made the switch to BMW he never drove anything else until his last car - an Acura Sport Coupe, circa 1989. Which was not a bad car; we bought it after he died and drove it until 2003. It was still a cream puff at 14 years of age.

    But my mother had the best Beemer - a 733i circa 1991. It was a beast and a 5-speed. Gorgeous car - my dad sold it just before he died.

    And I do remember him talking about the Beemer experience when he picked up that '79 320i. Similar to what you described Buck.

  2. Nothing like white glove service when you make an extraordinary investment. And cars are extraordinary investments -- the good ones become family; the bad ones are more like the crazy ol' bag lady down the street.

    I really miss the service department of the downtown dealership we used to patronize before Katrina. Unfortunately, that dealership was also the onhe the NOPD broke into to commandeer vehicles to replace their own flooded ones. It just kinda gave up a few years into recovery. Now I'm relegated to a fast-track Toyota place near the lake where ya takes a number and gets in line. *sigh*

    I seem to recall a video of P'ville in the daylight.

  3. Okay -- it just took me FOUR tries to get the veriword to accept what I typed above and I definitely double- and triple-checked after the first rejection. Methinks there be ghosts in the cyberworld!

    Let's see how many tries this takes . . . .

  4. So there are no daytime pictures then? See, I saw how you did that "oh, but I digress" thing. :)

    I have never even had the privilege of driving a BMW! You guys are extra lucky that owned them. I'm jealous!

  5. Heh! Never owned nothing more exotic than a Dodge Dart ('73 Swinger Edition).

    But, #3 son just traded his really cool crotch rocket for an '86 Harley with cast iron pistons??? I'll take pictures.

    Yeah, Buck...The Globber has definitely been constipated today. I just kinda decided to sit back and enjoy the frustrations of others. ;)

  6. I drove a 5-series from Indianapolis to Atlanta for an auto broker friend of mine. (He drove the 3-series, and I had to keep up).

    I'll never forget going through Chattanooga on I-24 at 85 MPH *at rush hour*...

  7. I drove my 95 BMW through Montana at 105... and waved hello to a State Police. That was back when there was no posted speed limit and it was a gorgeous Saturday morning without another car in sight. I really enjoyed that car.

  8. Kris: Like your Dad, I really loved that lil 320. I was gonna replace it with another BMW but Fate intervened in the form of living in Deetroit and working for GM. Management didn't look kindly upon employees who drove Furrin' Cars, nor did my neighbors. So I replaced the Beemer with a SAAB... GM owned. Worst frickin' car I ever had. ;-)

    Moogie: My experiences with Beemer dealerships in the US was mixed. Some were good, most weren't. I finally found this ol' German expat who had his own German car bid'niz in Deetroit and that guy was GOOD. American car dealers generally suck, so I hear ya bout the Toyota place. And you're right, there WAS daytime video of P-Ville.

    Kath: There are daytime pics of P-Ville on the blog, I just can't find 'em.

    Andy: Hey! I had a Swinger... of the 340 cu in pocket-rocket variety. It went like jet-stink! Got all of nine mpg, too.

    WWW: If I ever won the lottery I'd have an M5 parked in my garage.

    Sam: You scared me in that Beemer... you know that, dontcha? ;-)

  9. I always hoped to be able to own a 320i. It was one of my unrealized favorites in the 80's.


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