Peter Pickering - Words and Worlds Interwoven

The V12 and the Deluge: A BMW's Stormy Sojourn

In the pantheon of luxury cars I've had the pleasure of owning, the BMW 750iL with its glorious V12 engine takes the crown for a blend of comfort, safety, and prestigious performance. It's a car that embodies driving pleasure and commands respect on the road. But every grand chariot has its tale, and mine is a stormy saga of man versus nature.

One tempestuous evening, with work as a roof restoration consultant taking me across the city, I found myself driving home after a client visit. Nature was in a foul mood, throwing a tantrum with winds that howled and rain that lashed out horizontally. The desire to return to the warmth of my home and the comfort of my slippers was overwhelming. The night, draped in an inky cloak, was pockmarked with puddles and streams where streets used to be.

Navigating through this, I came upon a sharp bend—or more accurately, a deceptive curve in the road. I was pushing a modest 60 km/h, oblivious to the aquatic trap that lay ahead. My headlights caught the shimmer of water at the last second. A heartbeat's notice, that's all I got before my mighty BMW ploughed into what seemed like a mere puddle. Oh, but it was no mere puddle—it was an urban river, a flash flood lying in ambush.

The impact was biblical. I half-expected a staff-wielding Moses to appear as the waters parted before my steely steed, only to reconvene in a torrential canopy over my car. There I was, a stationary island in a road-turned-river, the engine's heartbeat still throbbing in the key of resilience.

Once the initial shock subsided, I pressed on, the BMW's purring engine a testament to German engineering. Yet, a ticking noise emerged from the bonnet, a morse code signalling potential distress. I attributed it to a minor hiccup—a drop or two in the electrical orchestra, perhaps causing a slight misfire. After all, when you have a dozen cylinders at your command, what's one less in the grand symphony of motion? I made it home with that rhythmic ticking serenading me all the way, and resolved to deal with it come dawn, I parked the great beast in my garage.

Morning greeted me with silence; the ticking had cured itself—or so I thought. As a precaution, I steered towards the BMW sanctuary in Victoria Park. The experts, after a cursory inspection, echoed my diagnosis and sent me on my way. But fate had a twist in store.

Passing by the Burswood casino a couple days later, a sound like none other—an explosion of such ferocity from the engine bay that it felt like the car's very soul had erupted. The once silky hum was reduced to a beleaguered groan, a giant now limping on a few stubborn cylinders.

With the automotive gods' grace, I crawled into the sanctuary of BMW Dealership, Auto Classic, luckily just 300 metres away. Trailing behind was an oil slick worthy of a disaster movie. The prognosis was dire: hydraulic lock had caused a piston to burst through the engine block—a terminal injury for most, but not for a BMW bathed in insurance.

A dance with paperwork and a few days later, the insurance company agreed to foot the impending hefty estimate of $12,000. Though I managed to source a much cheaper alternative in the form of a complete, new engine, from Germany, the insurer preferred to let the local wizards weave their mechanical magic. The final price tag? A breathtaking $30,000, marking it as the most exorbitant repair in the dealership’s storied history—a fact I learned during a nostalgic visit years later.

In the end, the BMW emerged from the ordeal with a heart as strong as ever. The ordeal, now a war story of endurance, serves as a reminder of the capriciousness of nature and the resilience of man's creations. My beloved BMW and I had weathered the storm, and in doing so, etched our tale in the annals of motoring legend.

© Peter Pickering 2024