I’ve joined the dark side

For years, I promised myself I would never become one of those truck people. Yet for a variety of reasons, I now find myself in possession of a gargantuan Ford Expedition. It’s fitted out with a 5.4 liter V8 — an engine capacity greater than both my BMWs and my motorcycle combined. I can lie down flat on my back behind the front seats without bending my legs. It’s so tall that as you climb in, you quickly realize that if you don’t step on the running boards, you’re not going to make it into the driver’s seat. All of this just to tow a little BMW around every now and then. Sigh. Nothing exceeds, they say, like excess.
Why tow my car to the track? Well — part of it has to do with safety. Earlier this year, I bought a new (used) M3, tricked out with race seats and a full rollcage. Though this setup is considerably safer on a racetrack, it does require that the driver wear a helmet at all times while driving it. Rollcages have the counterintuitive effect of rendering a car more dangerous for a helmetless driver; there’s enough exposed metal near the head to help even a minor collision turn lethal. The idea of driving 400 miles strapped into competition harnesses and wearing a helmet didn’t hold great appeal.
Reliability is another. There’s only so many times one can drive finicky 18 year-old car for 400 miles, flog it for two days on a racetrack, and expect it to make the trip home without some significant breakdown. I did this for three years with my old M3, but I figured my luck would run out at some point. Finally, there’s always the risk of the unmentionable, as my friend Will found out last summer.
Hence, a trailer and tow vehicle. I don’t plan on using the Expedition for anything other than towing; it’s too big, inefficient and unwieldy to be much use around Cambridge… so for the forseeable future, the 325is will still be in the picture.
The further you slide down the slippery slope, the steeper it seems to get.

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