Peter Pickering - Words and Worlds Interwoven

The Beamer Chronicles

A Tale of Horsepower and High Society

On a breezy afternoon in West Perth, I found myself at Peter Berryman's Car Sales on Newcastle Street, a familiar haunt where the allure of luxury cars, and a new deal, always pulled me in. The smell of fresh leather and the gleam of polished chrome was always irresistible. My routine here involved checking out the latest cars, enjoying a cup of tea, and swapping stories with the team: Peter, Lindsey Hayward, and the recent addition, Michael Kar. They knew me well here, which meant I could roam around at my leisure without the typical sales pressure often applied to 'ducks on the pond.' There were no sales tricks, just genuine conversations and the freedom to explore.

Michael brought a new level of professionalism and respect to the team, which I deeply appreciated. His qualities not only enhanced the operations but also led to a strong friendship and eventually a business partnership. While I enjoyed interacting with Lindsey, known affectionately as "the policeman" for his rigid, vigilant posture with his arms plastered to his sides, direct dealings with Peter, the dealer principal, were often more effective. Lindsey's nickname and relaxed demeanour made him a hit with clients, adding a touch of humour to the dealership. When Peter was busy, Michael became my go-to. His background with Mercedes infused the team with a fresh dedication to client service and decorum, greatly enriching the showroom atmosphere.

One day, my curious gaze fell upon a dark blue BMW 535i. Lindsey, quick to spot my interest, nudged me toward it. Though I’d driven many a brand, the BMW experience was alien to me. He insisted I take it for a spin—why not overnight? But the car, with its noisy tappets and unfamiliar growl, didn't sing to me. Lindsey, ever the salesman, urged me to extend the test drive. Surprisingly, the Beamer grew on me; its solid drive and responsive agility slowly overshadowing the initial acoustic discord. I’m sure I felt years younger driving a car that was so spirited.

Yet, as fate would have it, just 3 weeks later, my wandering eye soon caught the glint of gold—a BMW 750iL, no less. Its long-wheelbase silhouette cast an imposing shadow. This wasn't just any car; it was automotive nobility. I caressed the woodgrain, breathed in the rich leather aroma, and felt the power pulsing at the slight touch of the accelerator. Lindsey, playing to my awe, had me recline in the back with the touch of a button—luxury I hadn't known I needed. Under the bonnet, the masterpiece of engineering—a V12 5 litre engine—whispered promises of raw power and silky smooth acceleration, capable of delivering a thrilling 296 horsepower.

Half-jokingly, I lamented him not having this gilded chariot 3 weeks earlier when I’d bought the 535i. The jest turned into a prospect when my pal Brian Barber, a die-hard BMW aficionado, showed interest in the 535i. A flurry of handshakes and paperwork later, thanks to Lindsey’s craft, Brian was set with the 535i, and the 750iL was mine.

Driving home, the realisation truly sank in: this was no ordinary car. Previously owned by the CEO of Wesfarmers, this BMW once fetched a grand $252,000 back in 1988; I found the receipt in the glovebox. Now, it was in my care, still majestic and commanding as ever. It's a bit surreal to think about its history—from being the prized possession of a corporate giant to becoming a cherished chariot under my roof. As I drove, the car's storied past and undeniable presence made every mile more meaningful.

One day, driven by a mix of curiosity and the urge for a thrill, I ventured on the tranquil country roads leading to Mandurah. The road ahead was clear, the horizon beckoning, and the legendary prowess of my Beamer's 250 km/h governed speed limit tempted me. As I pushed the accelerator, the needle surged forward with an effortless grace, pressing me back into the seat. Speeds of 230 km/h were surpassed in mere moments, the vehicle as stable and serene as if it were merely ambling along at 60 km/h.

However, amidst this exhilarating dash, a flicker of worry crossed my mind—concerns about livestock, kangaroos, or other wildlife that could unpredictably dart onto the road. Such thoughts cast a shadow over my reckless abandon. With a heavy but wise heart, I reigned in the beast beneath me, pulling back the speed to safer limits. Although I decelerated, my heart continued to race, pounding with the adrenaline of what had been a brush with the untamed spirit of the open road. This moment of daring had been thrilling but was shadowed by the stark reminder of the unpredictable and often perilous beauty of Australia's rural landscapes.

This BMW was far more than just a vehicle to me; it was a masterpiece of engineering that resonated with my soul. Throughout my extensive experience with premium cars, this Beamer not only excelled in performance, safety, and luxury but stood out as the ultimate gem of my automotive passions. Now, some 30 years later, it remains unrivalled in my heart as the best car I've ever owned—a true pinnacle in my lifelong love affair with cars.

© Peter Pickering 2024