ImageFront and off center is my first flame, a ’66 Austin Cooper S, new I had to have a Mini before I even had a license and been owned by this one since 1975. And no, I have no intent to allow BMW’s cartoon caricature of a Mini anywhere near my garage! Center and next back is the ’84 BMW R65LS I bought new, looks like a rat bike but still runs great. To the right is the tank off the ’92 GS I bought new, it’s in the next room over getting it’s transmission leaks plugged… It spends a ot of time in the garage. The ’01 Buell is a lemon, so I keep it down in hurricane alley, AKA my tin shack on the edge of the Everglades. To the left of the LS is the ’84 ST with the Motorvation Spyder sidecar I bought with 67k miles in ’04, now has 111k miles on the clock and I need to fix the slipping clutch. On the far left with just the windshield and a mirror sticking up is the BMW F800S I bought new in ’09, Been bulletproof till 59k miles when the first known bug surfaced, fired alternator. Currently out of service until BMW extends the Canadian recall for the other known defect, the rear axle bearing, to the rest of North America.  Front and center and ready to head out that closed door is the ’00 Guzzi Quota I bought last year with 12k miles, hitched to another Motorvation sidecar of unknown age that I bought used about 5 years ago. Outside sits the ’03 Golf TDI I bought new, now at 134k miles, goes into the infamous “limp mode” if I beat it too much, and I should probably get around to installing the struts and springs I’ve got sitting on the shelf. That bit of white peeping out behind the toolbox it spends a lot of time next too is the ’98 Ford Ranger I bought new, ran great until everything underneath rusted out. Not visible is the ’86 VW Golf diesel with the now ventilated floor hidden behind my garage in Minneapolis, the ’75 Yamaha MX250 dirt bike I acquired for $25 at the literal “bachelor farmers” estate auction, and my brothers XS650 that keeps it company in my living room.

OK, I confess… I’ve been unfaithful and a serial vehicular adulteress. I should have followed in dad’s footsteps and been a regular customer in Ford showrooms. But the hand me down ’52 Ford was boring and rusting away, and then I got a job at a Chevy dealer. I missed out on the chance to score a new Z28 at dealer cost (the superintendent’s son has first call), but got a deal on a ’61 Corvair Monza. Then after a stint at Sears spent a year at a Mercury dealer, getting some good deals on a ’61 Econoline and a salvage ’66 Brit Ford Cortina GT. Both were well used, but I paid something like $300 for both, so got my money’s worth. When those died got a rusty ’62 VW bus with camper conversion, which got rammed by a runaway “driver” in it’s edge of the alley parking spot. Then a ’66 Corvair, a hand me down from mom after my little bro creased up the whole right side, which then got it’s whole left side creased up by a drunk driver while parked on the street. Looked like hell but still ran, ’til another errant driver, though at least a sober one, locked ’em up on icy pavement and hit it head on. Oh ya, there was a ’70 Kawasaki KE100 dual sport bike in there for a year, of which it spent 5 months waiting for parts.

But then in ’75 I’d finally scraped up enough money to buy my true love, a Mini. But the last of the few Mini’s had been imported to the U.S. in ’67, so my chances developing any “brand loyalty” for the Mini were rather slim. And I quickly found that quirky old Brit cars are not reliable go to work every day devices, and around then VW came out with the Golf. I drove one of the first ’75 models and was sold, and by the time I had a decent job and could afford one in ’78, VW had added diesel power for the Golf’s charms and I bought one. And despite my unpleasent experience with Kawasaki, by the summer of ’78 they were giving away new ’76 RD400s for $800, and I couldn’t resist. So here I was, not even 30, and I’d already blown through a half dozen vehicular relationships!

But my slutty vehicular selection process was just beginning… I supplemented the RD with something with more long life potential, the BMW R65LS, in 1984. Yup, literally walked right past the shaft drive Yamaha triples on the showroom floor to buy the BMW. At least I showed a bit of brand loyalty when I replaced the ’79 Golf diesel with a new ’86 and supplemented the LS with a new GS in ’92, but that’s as vehicularily monogamous as I’ve gotten. Went back to my cheatin’ ways with the new Ranger in ’97 after I’d inherited a century old house and had need to haul 4 by 8 sheetrock and such, and the new Buell in ’01 to fill in for the lemon GS. Then I came running back to VW in ’03 for another diesel ’cause the Ranger could barely manage 20 MPG downhill with a hurricane behind, the R80ST to haul the ‘hack after the GS broke down (again), the F800S because it gets fantastic MPG in ’09, and the Quota in ’12 because they don’t make airheads anymore and it was the closest thing I could find.

Dang, vehicle serial serial monogamy must be hard work! Sure, like iconic faithful wife I could have suffered through a series of Falcons, Cortinas, Pintos, Escorts, and Foci. Heck, if I would have timed it right I could have scored a diesel Escort in the couple years they sold it back in the 80s and shared the diesel pumps with the VW’s until it disintegrated via oxydation. And like a faith wife, I’d run over to the local Ford cathedral and pray for a Focus, any Focus, because they only keep two in stock behind the row of F150s. Then GM pulled the Corvair before I could buy a new one (another deal that fell through after the Z28 deal died), and then the British Motors Corporation gets repeatedly sold and bankrupted and pulls out of the market before I could even acquire one of those hideous jacked up rubber bumpered MGs. And by the time I need a pickup, VW’s lovely Golf based ones are a decade out of production and rusted away.

Same with bikes… I needed more than that Kawasaki’s 100 ccs, and put on more miles than an RD could stand. And then BMW up and quits makin’ airheads, HOG(NYSE) first cripples and then murders Buell, and now I live 3 hours ride from a BMW dealership. But I’ve been faithful too Motorvation sidecars… The Spyder is rollin’ right along after 110+k miles, they stand by there product, and their just down the road from me in northwestern Iowa.

Brand loyalty? I don’t know how you guys do it! Too damn many temptations out there, for a start…

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