An analog sports car is one that provides unadulterated thrills, void of electronic gadgets and computerized nannies. I'm talking about a high revving naturally aspirated engine, three pedals with a short shifting gearbox, rear wheel drive, two doors, and an unforgiving suspension setup.
Unfortunately, analog cars dying an untimely death as a result of stringent emission standards and faster shifting automated gearboxes. The E9x BMW M3 and Porsche 997 GT3 are the last of a dying breed and in a few months time they'll be replaced by force fed turbo engines, electric power steering, dual clutch gearboxes, and a host of electronic aids that aim to put distance between man and machine.
More specifically, the 2014 M3/M4 won't be naturally aspirated and the 2014 GT3 will lose its bulletproof race bred Mezger engine and manual gearbox. No stick in a GT3? If early rumours can be believed that may very well be the case.
There's no doubt that the next generation M car will be lightning quick and very, very engaging. Forced induction allows for an earlier punch lower in the rev range and as a consequence requires less of the black nectar to reach peak performance. Turbo cars can be awesome too. Take the BMW 1M Coupe, although I've never had one on the track, I'll take people's word for it and call it perfect. And I'm sure the GT3's new dual clutch PDK will make you feel like you're driving for Team Manthey in an RSR at Fuji Speedway. But I can't help but sit here, only in my twenties, and already saddened by the end of an era.
I honestly believe I share a connection with the E9x M3 and GT3. Call me crazy, but after having raced both cars on a track, albeit the GT3 was a 996 body Cup car, and having rallied both the E92 M3 and 997 GT3 RS on the street, I have developed an emotional bond with both cars. Even though some of those experiences are from several years ago, I can still clearly recall the way their gearboxes shifted, and most importantly, what godly sounds they produced. Between 5 and 7,000 rpm, the M3 screams while the GT3 reaches another level altogether. They're what driving is all about, yet they're the last of a dying bread, and as of this writing, you can't order a fresh one from the factory anymore. But there's a silver lining! While the 997.1 GT3 hasn't depreciated much from original MSRP, a previously loved E92 M3 can be had for around $35,000 USD. For 6 grand extra you'll also be able to pick up a high mileage stick shift 997.1 Carrera S. I say act now before people catch on that an era has passed.
You won't be surprised then to find out that my dream garage's two youngest members are a Melbourne Red E92 BMW M3 Competition and a Signal Orange 997.1 GT3 RS. I don't want anything newer or more complicated as I can find everything I desire pre-2010. Just for fun, the rest of the lot include a Silverstone '02 E29 BMW M5, Royal Blue 1990 E30 BMW 325i Convertible, '07 E63 BMW M6, '04 Rosso Scuderia Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradale, Orancio Atlas Lamborghini LP670-4 SuperVeloce (pictured), '86 silver Porsche 911 3.2 Carrera, my current '07 Black Magic VW GTI Mk5, and an '03 E53 BMW X5 4.6is in Estoril Blue to haul tires to the track.
Dream big, my friends.