What is your Best Note-On-Windshield Story?

The note on a car windshield is old school, but it works.

Perhaps you’re on a walk through your neighborhood, decompressing from a day of doomscrolling on the social media channel of your choice, and a lopsided BMW 325e catches your eye. Or maybe it’s a clear-coat peeling F-body with a lot of potential. Or the 1990s Japanese car of your dreams. You really only have one course of action: leave a note on the car and see what happens. 

The hand-jotted, phone number and name note on the windshield has survived the death and mourning of analog forms, outliving steering feel and reversing without a camera. The Drive wants to hear about the best cars, or the best characters, you’ve encountered by leaving a note on a windshield. 

Was it the pristine example or the trash-filled trunk that led you to leave a note? Were you left hanging or notarizing with a bill of sale? 

To my eyes, a trash-filled trunk or a missing badge is always a good sign. While I rarely lift a windshield wiper to leave a note these days, I was on the hunt in my high school days.

 A year of beige Swedish steel and center console ignition in the form of my 1991 Saab 900 Turbo left me wanting the rear wheels driven. An extensive search for a properly battered E30 325e began. Every day after school, and to my parents’ annoyance, I would drive across Portland parking next to every E30, confirming it was manual, and leaving my name and number.  Notably, I drove a 318is with a shattered rear shock tower and stooped to the level of convertibles twice.

I eventually settled into a two-owner 1987 BMW 535i with a failing brake boost pressure accumulator. And even though I am not car shopping these days, I did leave a note on a graying SA/FB RX-7 in Red Hook days ago, out of pure curiosity for the contents of its trunk. 

And curiosity, combined with mystery, is what makes note leaving so enticing. Unlike classified scrolling, stumbling upon a car, a car you want, is a surprise. Often, the car present leaves you with less information than a poorly worded Facebook Marketplace ad. Tire age, paint condition, and transmission type can be deducted from a quick glance, the rest being an unknown. Until an unknown number rings, that is. 

Tell us your car note story!