The Story of How I Got My Car

I feel the need to separate my life stories & blogs that deal with the site so this why there is a Stories section now. Plus, it’s pretty long. Feel free to skim! Skip down to the bottom to see pictures of my car & the other possible cars.

How It Started

My brother had been begging my parents for a car since we both have different schedules–he’s still in high school & I’m in college–& after relentless nagging, they decided to give him my car (originally owned by my Grandpa) & buy me a new one. My Grandpa traded in his 1997 Lexus LS 400 for my dad’s 2006 Mercedes S430. Obviously, my Grandpa got the better deal but he deserves it since he’s approaching 80 & deserves to drive a beautiful car given to him by his favorite son-in-law.

I Want a Hybrid

When asked about the car that I wanted, I said, “a Toyota Prius,” or anything that is below 30 grand & gets great mileage. I know it’s what most people call “ugly” but I love it. It’s similar to when you meet someone & you don’t find them attractive but as you get to know them, you begin to admire their personality & then all of a sudden you find them more attractive. With the Prius, I initially thought it looked like a pod but I realized what it stood for: responsibility. It’s one of the most successful hybrid cars of its day & has started a frenzy in the auto industry. Automakers are scrambling to beat the Prius by putting out their version of hybrids. The competition for a better hybrid out on the market is “Earthlings-trying-to-be-responsible-after-we’ve-consumed-so-much-of-Earth’s-resources”. There are many wrongs with the Prius, such as where its parts come from. The shipment of such parts is from countries overseas which means the shipment of the individual parts creates a lot of pollution but the car in general is a step toward a change in the way we behave. The car inspired me to recycle & to promote being Green. :) I got past the pod look & fell in love with it. It is the most fuel efficient car & I don’t drive fast so I don’t need all that horsepower that other “hybrids” boast. The engine may be small but driving from 0 to 60 in 5.4 seconds is not what I need! I don’t like driving fast, it actually scares me & if I hurt someone in the process I would be tormented for the rest of my life. I couldn’t live with the guilt.

Rejection and Reason

My father rejected it! :( He told me that he wouldn’t feel safe with me in a Toyota but would feel better if I were in a Lexus. I argued with him that they’re the same company & they practically (not all, but most) use the same sheet metal & parts. He was furious with my “naivety” because he believed that Lexus is more dependable, reliable, & safer than Toyota. I felt I needed to prove him wrong so I did my own research. I looked up the Toyota Prius’s safety ratings on a government website. To my delight, it tested the exact same way its luxury line, Lexus, did. The Lexus IS 250 received the same amount of stars the Toyota Prius did. Since the Prius is lighter, it had a 13% chance of rollover compared to the 10% chance the Lexus had. I was sitting at my computer thinking, “AH-HAH! I WAS RIGHT, WHAT UPP?!”

When my father came home we discussed my findings. He still rejected the thought of his only daughter being in a Toyota. (Hondas, Kias, &/or Hyundais were not discussed as future cars…because they suck.) His claim to such pride in the “brand name” cars was the fact that they cost more money because they are safer & more reliable. German cars have much heavier and thicker sheet metal than Japanese cars. Go up to a Mercedes S550 in a parking lot, knock on it & you’ll notice how much of a tank it is. Then go up to a Honda Accord or even a Lexus LS & see if the knock is more hollow than the Mercedes. Trust me, my dad’s car is a tank!

We agreed to test drive some cars until my father found one suitable for me. After all, it is his money & it wasn’t really about wanting a Prius, saving the Polar Bears & my dad’s money, it was more about finding a car that would keep me safe…for him at least. I honestly would’ve been down for anything.

Discussing Possible Cars

We discussed the cars that would be suitable for a 19 year old. He asked me how I felt about a Lexus, BMW, Volkswagen, or Mercedes. He skipped over all of the affordable Japanese/Korean cars just because he didn’t feel that they would be safe enough for me. My brother’s dream car was the Lexus IS 250, well actually, it’s the ISF but anyway, my father said that we take a closer look at the Lexus. He then brought up the Mercedes E-Class. Immediately, I told him it is way too expensive & my Aunt just got that car. How would you feel if you just bought a nice E-Class for yourself & two years later, your niece gets one!? We crossed off the Mercedes & moved onto Volkswagen. I told my parents I had always wanted a Jetta but then for some reason they declined & went onto the BMW 3-series.

My dad & I gathered around my brother’s computer monitor to see the two possible cars he’d like for me to test drive: The Lexus IS 250 & the BMW 328i. He looked at the Lexus & felt it wasn’t such a bad car & was about 80% sure that he would get me it. Then, he saw the BMW 328i & exclaimed, “It’s so beautiful!!” Despite it’s beauty, I told my dad that it starts at $33,000 & is about $2,000 more than the IS. Again, he reminded me that money wasn’t an issue to him, safety comes first. Either way, I was excited for my future car. I was about 80% sure that I was going to get a Lexus IS 250 in a midnight blue color. I was happy! I couldn’t believe I would be getting a new car so soon & that my parents were so concerned with my safety that they’d be willing to put me in a SUV! I knew money isn’t an issue for my parents but it was to me. I wanted to save them as much money as I could because I know how hard my dad works to make the money that we have. Let’s face it, he really doesn’t get paid enough. I would know, I do the billing at his office & it’s amazing how much he charges for a procedure & the amount of money he actually gets paid by insurance companies. Sometimes, I kid you not, the insurance companies only pay him $0.42 for a procedure that costs $900. On top of that, I plan on transferring to a University & attend Medical School. I don’t want him to be broke when he retires!

Vroom Vroom!

His philosophy of “safety comes first; money is not an issue” is pretty tough to fight. We test drove the Lexus IS 250 & the Lexus GS. I knew he wasn’t going to get me a GS but it was nice to test drive a car that was similar to my old one. It drove the exact same way & of course, it looked a lot nicer. Driving the Lexus IS 250 was a lot more bumpy considering it’s a sports car & not so much a “luxury fine driving” car. The steering wheel was harder to turn & it was a much smaller car than the ’97 Lexus LS 400 I’d been driving. My dad said it looked too much like a smaller version of a Toyota Camry that he might as well buy me the Camry & save money. In the current economy we’re in, it’s not a good idea to buy an expensive Toyota Camry with leather seats, the L logo, & pay $35,000. To him, the Lexus & Toyota were no different at the moment he saw how similar they looked so he immediately withdrew his position on getting me the Lexus IS 250. Besides, if you were on a budget & wanted a nice car, you might as well buy the Toyota Camry. It looks like a Lexus, minus the leather seats (although that is an option), the L logo, & the 15 grand. Lexus was crossed off the list. I was a little sad but the mystery of what my future car became foggy. I still wanted a hybrid but I also didn’t think my dad would buy me a BMW. There goes the Lexus IS 250’s 80%.

Dude, I Got a BMW

Later, my father took me to test drive the BMW 3-series at Sterling BMW in Newport Beach. He told me he had always wanted a BMW when he was in college but stuck with Mercedes because they had some crazy deal & he was mad broke back then. He said that I would be getting a car within 2-3 weeks. I told him that we should just ask them for a quote & find another dealership to bargain with afterward. After all, it is Newport Beach! You can’t expect to find a great deal there since the BMW dealership was right next to the dealership that sold Ferraris & Porches! We test drove the 328i & I fell in love with it. The steering wheel was a beast to maneuver at first but on the road, it drove so well. A guy in a black sedan next to me looked over to check out the brand new car I was test driving (he was cute), shook his head in amazement, & sped off. When we got back to the dealership, we sat down with the dealer. I was amazed! I thought we would look around but my dad sat down, planted his foot, bargained all that he could, & bought me a BMW 328i! I was so shocked. I couldn’t believe it. I thought we would wait but BMW had this awesome $1500 rebate that my dad wanted to take advantage of. I felt so lucky to receive such a beautiful car! Most people can’t even afford the car that I was getting it. I have the best parents in the world. :) They rock. I love & appreciate them so much. :D I didn’t ask for a 3-series, I asked for an affordable car with great mileage yet they felt my worry for money was ridiculous. :)

I love my new car but I’ll only have it for 3 years since it’s a lease. :( I’m still a little sad that I couldn’t convince my dad to get me a really fuel efficient car (I LOVE POLAR BEARS) but .. come on, the man got me a 3-series. :) I can’t complain, although filling up the BMW will be a pain, for the love of Polar Bears, the man got me a BMW. I’d do just about anything to keep it running.

Possible Candidates

BMW 328i
Lexus IS 250
Mercedes-Benz E350
Toyota Prius

As years pass, most of these links may or may not work. If you don’t know what a certain car looks like, just google it. Make sure to include the year 2009.

My 2009 BMW 328i