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Elvis’ BMW 507 Lives On

Elvis’ BMW 507 Lives On:

Comeback at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach

Story and photos courtesy of BMW Group Classic

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Elvis Presley's restored BMW 507 in Front of Diner

 

The glittering comeback is now following one of the most spectacular classic-car discoveries of recent times. The BMW 507 was driven by US musician Elvis Presley, famous already at that time as the “King of Rock’n’Roll,” while he was doing his military service in Germany. After that it disappeared for nearly 50 years and was believed to have been lost before returning to the limelight. After almost two years of exacting restoration work, BMW Group Classic is presenting the roadster for the first time in a public arena. Restored to its original condition, it will be exhibited on 21 August 2016 at the Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach, California. The BMW 507 with chassis number 70079 will be on view for visitors to the popular classic car show exactly as it was when soldier Elvis Presley took delivery of the car on 20 December 1958: with paintwork finished in Feather White, the 150 hp V8 aluminum engine under the bonnet, center-lock rims, black-and-white interior and a Becker Mexico radio.

Elvis, in uniform, taking delivery of his 507 on December 20, 1958
Elvis, in uniform, taking delivery of his 507.

 

“The opportunity to bring back the BMW 507 owned by the King of Rock’n’Roll to us here in Munich for purposes of restoration in accordance with the wishes of the previous owner, Jack Castor, was a dream come true for all those involved,” commented Ulrich Knieps, Head of BMW Group Classic. “This was an exceptionally fascinating project. The outcome is not simply a source of great pride to us. Jack would undoubtedly have been delighted by the outcome.” In the summer of 2014, the exhibition of the unrestored discovery at the BMW Museum generated a great deal of excitement among classic car enthusiasts, but it also threw up questions: Was this really once Elvis’ BMW 507? And will it even be possible to transform this roadster back into a jewel of the 1950s?

The car was exhibited in 2014 in ‘found’ condition at BMW Group Classic.
The car was exhibited in 2014 in ‘found’ condition at BMW Group Classic.

 

From “Return to Sender” into “It’s Now or Never”

The condition of the two-seater really was a cause for concern. Although the original body parts and other components were virtually all present and intact, the roadster had lost its engine and gearbox. The rear axle was a “replacement part” of unknown origin, rust was eating away the floor assembly, the seats were worn and there was no instrument panel. However, the fascination of a rare and beguilingly beautiful automobile outweighed all the inadequacies and deficiencies, augmented by the memory of Elvis Presley and his greatest hits. While the roadster came back to Munich under the slogan of “Return to Sender”, the solution was undoubtedly “It’s Now or Never”. A project managed by BMW Group Classic succeeded in restoring the automobile. In-house experts and external specialists joined forces to carry out the work and the result defined new benchmarks for the restoration of a BMW 507.

Looking back on the process, the story of Elvis’ BMW 507 and its restoration is pure Rock’n’Roll: as captivating as the swinging hips of the “King”, energy sapping, an emotional roller-coaster, and full of surprising twists and turns. This is not simply a tale about the young GI Elvis Presley. It is also about the experienced “hillclimb champion” Hans Stuck, kissable lips daubed on white paint, a retired space engineer and a warehouse for pumpkins, a Chevy engine that was much too big, rubberized coconut mats and door handles printed in a 3D process. And the story already began three years before the “King” started military service with the US Army stationed in Hesse, Southern Germany.

Myth among rarities: The BMW 507 of the “King”

The BMW 507 has always been one of the most exclusive and sought-after rarities in the model history of the brand with just 254 automobiles being produced between 1955 and 1959. Right after its world premiere at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in 1955, the two-seater penned by designer Albrecht Graf Goertz was hailed in the press as the “Dream from the Isar.” Celebrity owners like Alain Delon, Ursula Andress and John Surtees contributed to the image of the roadster as a status symbol. However, no other automobile of this model is shrouded in mythology like the BMW 507 once owned by Elvis Presley. This particular roadster was believed to have been lost for almost five decades. In fact, there was not even certainty about the chassis number of the car driven by the “King”. There were also doubts about whether Elvis Presley had ever transported the car back to the USA after he finished his military service in Germany, and nobody knew anything about the subsequent ownership of the car. All these puzzles have now been solved thanks to the experts at the BMW Group Classic Archives and American journalist Jackie Jouret, who works for “Bimmer” magazine in California. In 2006, she was already searching through contemporary reports for Elvis’ BMW 507 and relevant literature going into the history of this model. During the course of her work, she uncovered an essential detail. Various sources highlighted the fact that the BMW 507 delivered to Elvis Presley in Germany was not a brand new automobile but had previously been used by racing driver Hans Stuck. Between May and August 1958, the racing driver known as the “Hillclimb Champion” won a number of hillclimbs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland – in a white BMW 507 with chassis number 70079 and registration plate M–JX 800. It is also a known fact verified by photographs that this roadster rolled off the assembly line on 13 September 1957. A few days later, it was exhibited at the Frankfurt International Motor Show and repeatedly used for test drives by the press. As early as October 1957, Hans Stuck presented the car at the London Motor Show and then drove the roadster through Belgium, where he presented it to King Baudouin, before motoring down to the Turin Motor Show. And as if that were not enough, in the summer of 1958, Stuck’s BMW 507 won the automobile beauty competition in Wiesbaden and then played a role in the Bavaria film studio for the feature film “Hula-Hopp Conny” with Cornelia Froboess and Rudolf Vogel.

Hans Stuck Sr. competes in a hillclimb prior to Elvis’s purchase.
Hans Stuck Sr. competes in a hillclimb prior to Elvis’s purchase.

 

This vehicle had been carefully serviced at BMW after every race, the engine had been upgraded and a new gearbox fitted when it ended up with a dealer in Frankfurt in the autumn of 1958. The young US soldier Presley was 23 at the time, and he came along and took it out on a test drive for a spin. The “King” was immediately impressed by it and decided to buy the car. Photos taken at the time show that export license plates had already been fitted to the BMW 507. Later on it was given a registration from the US military that changed every year. This was part of the reason why subsequent identification of the vehicle proved to be complicated later on. The experts from the BMW Group Classic Archives were only absolutely certain about its provenance when they came across the insurance proposal from December 1958 which contained the chassis number 70079 alongside registration of the keeper of the vehicle as Elvis Aaron Presley.

Pampered in Germany, Radically Modified in the USA

Elvis Presley used the BMW 507 to drive between his home in Bad Nauheim and the US Army Base in Friedberg. His female fans always kept a close eye on him and he was often mobbed by them. The paintwork of the roadster was frequently daubed with messages of love painted in lipstick. These signs of adoration were by no means unusual for a rock star but they were an embarrassment to Presley as a young US soldier. A new livery in Red for the vehicle solved the problem.

In March 1960, Elvis Presley ended his military service in Germany. Back on American highways, he must have abandoned sheer driving pleasure in an open-top BMW since a few months later he traded in the red roadster bearing chassis number 70079 with a Chrysler dealer in New York. The dealer in turn sold the car for the ridiculously low price (from today’s perspective) of $4, 500 to radio moderator Tommy Charles. Charles took the automobile to his home town of Birmingham in the state of Alabama where a very successful racing career began, although this move was very questionable when it came to the issue of authenticity. The BMW 507 was fitted with a Chevrolet engine in preparation for action on the race track. This took up so much space that parts of the front frame carrier had to be cut out. The gearbox and the rear axle, and the instruments in the cockpit were replaced. Charles won a race in Daytona Beach/Florida with the radically modified roadster and he lined up on the starting grid in several more competitions before selling the vehicle in the course of 1963.

Two more changes of ownership followed and the BMW 507 then went to California. Space engineer Jack Castor acquired the car in 1968 and he used it occasionally as a runabout for everyday use before deciding to put the car into storage for a subsequent restoration. Castor was a passionate collector of historic bicycles and over the years he also amassed an impressive collection of classic automobiles in Half Moon Bay to the south of San Francisco. He got involved with several classic car clubs and delved into the history of the vehicles he had acquired.

Jack Castor with documentation he had compiled on his red 507.
Jack Castor with documentation he had compiled on his red 507.

 

The “Holy Grail” in the Pumpkin Warehouse

Castor also put together a comprehensive dossier on his BMW 507. Meanwhile, the engineer had gone into retirement and one day he happened to see the article in “Bimmer” magazine. Castor wrote to the author, told her about the BMW 507 with chassis number 70079 that he owned and invited her over to look at the vehicle. He was aware that he was the owner of the racing car driven by “hillclimb champion” Hans Stuck, but up to then he had only been able to speculate about a potential connection with Elvis. However, Jackie Jouret was absolutely certain about this issue. She accompanied Jack Castor to a warehouse for pumpkins where the red BMW 507 was stored alongside other venerable vehicles. “Jack had tied down its engine bonnet with ropes,” recalled the journalist when she looked back on the moment of discovery. “It took some time until we actually got the engine compartment open and identified the stamped chassis number: 70079, the Holy Grail among BMW numbers.” Jack Castor had already collected a large number of parts carefully stowed in boxes for the planned restoration of the roadster to its original condition. What he lacked was an appropriate engine and the necessary time to see the project through. However, things then started to happen. Jackie Jouret set up the contact with BMW Group Classic where new information about the identity of the BMW 507 used by Elvis Presley in Germany was being gathered. This allowed the facts that had been researched in the USA to be confirmed. Jack Castor was not interested in making a fast buck out of the unexpected additional fame of his BMW 507. However, the contact with BMW Group Classic was strengthened. After several years and a number of discussions with the experts for restoring classic cars at BMW Group Classic, Klaus Kutscher and Axel Klinger-Köhnlein, an agreement was reached. Alongside the purchase of the vehicle by BMW Group Classic, it also included the authentic restoration of the car along the lines envisaged by Castor.

Jack Castor hands over the keys to BMW Group Classic for restoration of his 507.
Jack Castor hands over the keys to BMW Group Classic for restoration of his 507.

 

 Jack Castor with his barn full of treasures.
Jack Castor with his barn full of treasures.

 

By Container to the Museum, and From There into the Workshop

The time had come in the spring of 2014. The BMW 507 was shipped to Germany in a container, together with the spare parts collected by Castor. The first stop in Munich was the BMW Museum where the roadster was presented to an admiring audience in the special exhibition “Elvis’ BMW 507 – lost and found.” Work then began on restoration in the workshop of BMW Group Classic. As was usual for projects of this nature, phase one was primarily destructive in nature. The vehicle was completely dismantled; a process which in this special case took an entire week, rather than the two days that had been originally planned. Initially, the aluminum body was separated from the floor assembly made of sheet steel. This was the only way of retaining as much of the original material as possible. The paint was then removed from the floor assembly in an acid bath and from the body in an alkaline bath. The engine had already been removed and the remnants of the interior that remained had been set aside.

The car was disassembled prior to restoration.
The car was disassembled prior to restoration.

 

The tedious work of paint removal.
The tedious work of paint removal.

 

A dipping bath will protect the restored body.
A dipping bath will protect the restored body.

 

The new paint is sprayed by hand.
The new paint is sprayed by hand.

 

A lot of components had to be remanufactured from scratch because the stocks of original parts for the BMW 507 are limited even at BMW Group Classic. Traditional craftsmanship in the style of the 1950s was melded with high-tech production procedures of the modern world. The instrument panel was newly cast on the basis of the original. The leather upholstery was created to precisely match the pattern shown in old photographs and catalogues. When the seats were reconstructed, it proved possible to use the original steel subframe for the seats after all the rust had carefully been removed. A rubberized coconut mat was then drawn over the steel springs. This natural material was already being used in the 1950s for series production of the BMW 507, alongside the overlaid felt and linen layers to make the seats as comfortable as possible. Window winders and door handles were remanufactured in an advanced, modern 3D printing process based on the original dimensions. After producing a digital data set by three-dimensional scan of the original part, a facsimile was generated with the help of additive manufacturing and mirror finished afterwards. By contrast, the rubber seal for the tank cover was reproduced in a conventional manufacturing procedure. Since this component like many others in the BMW 507 had fallen prey to the ravages of time, a small series was produced. This means that roadster users are now able to source this spare part in the parts shop of BMW Group Classic.

The rebuilt engine ready for installation.
The rebuilt engine ready for installation.

 

The BMW 507 Makes a Comeback

The engine for Elvis’ BMW 507 was completely rebuilt from spare parts. The 3.2 liter V8 engine was reconditioned precisely in conformity with the original specifications of the BMW 507, but it was not given an engine number on account of the unavoidable but otherwise unusual use of old and new components. The front frame carrier, which had been cut down at an early stage, also had to be reproduced in its original geometry and integrated in the floor assembly. The wooden nailing strip for fixing the soft top in place was also reproduced using materials and processing methods in keeping with the 1950s. Maximum authenticity was also the objective in painting the vehicle. The BMW 507 is now resplendent once again in Feather White. The primer coat, the filler and the top coat were not applied by the methods that are commonplace today. Rather, they were implemented in a procedure that corresponds to the technology in use some 60 years ago. This enabled the excessive color brilliance to be avoided which is considered desirable nowadays but is inappropriate for classic cars. Similar to the reconstruction of the V8 engine and the use of true-to-original parts and production procedures, the selection of paintwork also corresponds precisely to the conditions defined by Jack Castor. Right from the start, he wanted to restore the roadster to the original condition it was supplied in back in 1958. However, his aspiration to be able to see the BMW 507 through the eyes of the “King” remained unfulfilled. Jack Castor passed away at the age of 77 in November 2014. We will therefore remember him at Pebble Beach. The BMW 507 will be presented there for the first time not simply as the automobile of the “King”, but also as the legacy of Jack Castor and a masterpiece of BMW Group Classic.

Assembling the new body.
Assembling the new body.

 

Dash before restoration.
Dash before restoration.

 

Dash after restoration.
Dash after restoration.

 

A little bit of Elvis’s red was retained on the restored car.
A little bit of Elvis’s red was retained on the restored car.

 

Door_Open
Door open

 

Front 3 qtr from above.
Front 3 qtr from above.

 

Rear 3 qtr from above.
Rear 3 qtr from above.

 

Front View
Front View

 

Side View
Side View

 

Number plate
Number plate

 


PRO3 Highlights from the 2016 Pacific Northwest Historic Races

image from in-car camera of chief PRO3 driver, #119 Jim “The Voice Guy” Cissell.

PRO3 highlights from the 28th Annual Pacific Northwest Historics vintage races at Pacific Raceway, July 1-3, 2016. Filmed from in-car POV of PRO3 driver #119 Jim Cissell.

The Historics races video runs 11:58--with footage from 7 races and 3 drivers, including 2 charity races with passengers, with all proceeds benefitting Seattle Childrens' Hospital. This is the biggest road course motorsports event in the Northwest.


Vintage BMWs wanted for car display at Flying Heritage Collection’s Luftwaffe Fly Day, Aug 13 at Paine Field

LuftwaffePlane_500pxWVintage BMWs Wanted!

Flying Heritage Collection is looking for Vintage German Vehicles to display outside the hangar as part of Luftwaffe Fly Day, Saturday August 13 2016.

Location: 3407 109th St SW, Everett, WA 98204 (Paine Field)

Showing Vehicles must arrive by 9:45 to participate and stay until 2:00pm. There will be special parking corral for Vintage German vehicles of ALL TYPES, plus Complimentary Clubs can bring brochures, banners etc. to set up if they would like.

Flying will be at noon!

All car participants will receive hand stamps for complimentary admission into the hangars if they choose. Admission for the driver and passenger (children with the driver are also free). They are also allowed to walk out when the flying starts if they so choose. Before the flying begins, we will have to ask any participants to clear the ramp with the rest of our guests while we start the planes and taxi them to the runway. Vehicles will stay and no one will be near them. Once the flying is over, the space is reopened and participants can return to their vehicles. Participants will commit to stay in place on the ramp until 2pm, and they escort you out the gates.

Our Fly Day events are free to the public, but admission is charged if guests decide to enter either of the hangars.

Please contact Kristi Douglas, Special Events Coordinator for the Flying Heritage Collection at KristiD@flyingheritage.com, or by phone: 206.342.4253 by August 5th to sign up to participate with your car, as space will be reserved for you to park.  Space is limited to about 30 vehicles.

~If you don’t have a vintage car to bring, come anyway! This is really a fun event to see the vintage planes in the collection fly. The Flying Heritage Collection holds some of the rarest and most iconic German aircraft of World War II. On Saturday, August 13, the famous Bf 109 Messerschmitt and Focke-Wulf Fw 190 will take to the skies once again! Also scheduled to fly is the super-slow-moving Fieseler Storch spotter plane!

More information about they Flying Heritage Collection Fly Days available here.

 


BMW PRO3 Racing 2016 Calendar Cover Photo

PRO3 at Spokane Raceway Park

Follow video highlights of 4 drivers in 5 races in one PRO3 car.  Sprint races, 1 hour endures, lots of action!


2016 BMW CCA Raffle: Enter to Win the Car of Your Dreams!

Win the Car of Your Dreams!

2016 BMW CCA Raffle: Enter to Win the Car of Your Dreams!ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN THE CAR OF YOUR DREAMS!

Get Your Tickets Now!

Raffle tickets are only $25 each. You could win the Grand Prize M4 GTS, an M2 with a full complement of M Performance Parts, or an M235i! There is no limit to the number of tickets you can purchase, and proceeds benefit all the BMW CCA programs you know and love to keep the Club fun, exciting, and accessible for members across the United States.

WE WILL GIVE AWAY ONE CAR FOR EVERY 5,000 TICKETS SOLD. THE MORE TICKETS YOU BUY, THE MORE POSSIBLE PRIZES THERE WILL BE!

Over the past fifteen years, 105 prizes have been awarded to lucky BMW CCA members. With chances like that, can you afford not to buy a ticket?

GRAND PRIZE: 2016 BMW M4 GTS | MSRP: $134,200

The BMW M4 GTS in a special edition limited to approximately 700 units worldwide, with roughly 300 units of this high-performance Special Edition M4 available for the first time in the US market and we’ve secured one for this year’s grand prize in the raffle!

BMW CCA Car Of Your Dreams Raffle 2016 Grand Prize M4 GTS from BMWCCA on Vimeo.

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SPECIAL DRAWING PRIZES!

There are even more ways to win! Purchase a Car Of Your Dreams Raffle ticket during one of the special drawing periods and you’ll be entered to win the associated prize. For every raffle ticket you buy, you’ll receive one (1) entry into a special drawing for one of the prizes listed below!

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Tickets are available now!

Members, tickets are now available for purchase. Not a member? Join today!

 

 


BMW PRO3 Track Experience 2016

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EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME!!

Ride shotgun in a BMW PRO3 Race Car and experience five exciting laps around the road course at Kent’s Pacific Raceways during the annual Pacific Northwest Historics Vintage Races on July 2 and 3. A group of PRO3 cars fitted with second race seats will provide rides with top speeds over 100 MPH and cornering G forces over 1.0 on the 2.25 mile 10-turn road racing course.

If you’ve ever dreamed of riding in a real race car,

this is your chance!

These race simulation rides will take place at Noon on July 2 and 3 during a break in official racing. Participants will be fitted in the PRO3 car’s second racing seat and secured in a 5-point safety harness. The excitement begins with a warm up lap leading to a race formation for an exciting green flag start! Passengers will experience three speedy laps in close formation with the other PRO3 race cars, which will simulate the back and forth of position changes similar to a real race. After passing the checkered flag the final cool down lap will allow you to wave to turn workers and thousands of fans lining the circuit.

Participants must be 18 year or older and will be required to wear long sleeve shirts, full length pants and closed-toed shoes. Helmets will be provided.

Space is limited. To register or to obtain additional information please contact Elna Duffield (206) 779-5046 / L.Duffield@comcast.net

 or, check in at the BMW Northwest tent in the paddock to see if space is available.

Demonstration rides cost $250

All proceeds benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital.

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2016 Burgers & BMWs Recap

i3and_i8_atXXX_500px300Burgers & BMWs continues to be a favorite event. Probably because it is casual and the Triple XXX Drive-In in Issaquah is a great place for cars.

On May 29th, we filled the lot as usual, but almost everyone cleared out about noon due to a torrential downpour. We’re a hardy bunch and many were braving the light rain early, some attended the event in tee-shirts just to show their disdain for the early drizzle (This rain is not worthy!). But what we were hit with mid-day chased off even the most hardened Northwesterners. It was fun while it lasted!

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The PRO3 grid enters the first corner at Portland.

PRO3 Line

2016_May_CSCC_G1R_12_byDougBerger_500px330PRO3 Line

Welcome to this first installment of the PRO3 Line from your new reporters Bill Ecker and Jim Cissell. Bill is in his first full year of PRO3 in car 137 and Jim has, well, more experience in car 119.

When Mike Olsen announced in the last issue of Zündfolge that he was retiring as author of the PRO3 Line after nine years, there was a collective gasp in the PRO3 and northwest BMW community. Not because we’ll miss Mike, though we will, but because we thought we’d lost his wife Melanie Olsen—who really wears the funny pants in the family. If enough of you Like her on FaceBook, maybe we can get her back here occasionally.

If you like BMWs you almost certainly like spirited, high-speed driving. Which means you would LOVE PRO3 racing! There are plenty of opportunities to test the waters, so to speak. ProFormance Racing has a PRO3 track car for rent at Pacific Raceway. Wes Hill, Chuck Hurley, Kevin Doyle, Hank Moore, and several others have PRO3 cars available for rent at all six of the northwest tracks.

To race in Conference, first you must get your ICSCC competition license, complete at least three Novice races, pass the upgrade test, and complete your worker requirements... But here’s a way to get a taste of PRO3 racing without all that commitment: 

For just $250 sign up as a passenger in the PRO3 demonstration race during the Pacific Northwest Historics at Pacific Raceway over the 4th of July weekend. Call Elna Duffield (206) 779-5046 or elna@pnwhistorics.com. It’s typically the largest grid of the year with 40+ PRO3 cars. And ALL proceeds go to support Children’s Hospital. But hurry, seats sell out fast.

PRO3 will be featured in two other prominent events above and beyond the regular ICSCC Conference race schedule this year.

Thanks to much work by Lance Richert and Steve Schlossman, following the 100th year celebration of BMW at the Monterey Festorics and Oktoberfest at Laguna Seca/ Monterey, BMW CCA Club racing invited PRO3 to participate in two special Club races August 27-28. Currently over a dozen PRO3 cars are registered with two dozen drivers.

PRO3 was invited to join the 56th Annual Rose Cup Races in Portland July 29-31. This prestigious event features everything from vintage to NASCAR GASS cars.

With the new Spec E46 class drawing some top racers from PRO3--Dan Rogers, James Colborn, Chuck Hurley, Dan Gavrila--you’d think that the PRO3 talent pool might be deleted a bit. You’d be wrong. Young drivers Kyle Byers and Parker McKean already are engaged in close battles with veteran PRO3 drivers like Olivier Heinrichot and Russell Seewald.

The first two conference races are in the record books. Portland provided a weekend of near perfect spring weather (86 degrees) and a grid of 13 cars. Olivier captured the win with Kyle Byers and Russell Seewald rounding out the podium.

The second race at Pacific provided a more northwesterly flavor--dry qualifying, wet race. In the Mini-Enduro Saturday Jim Cissell and Cody Smith captured the ME2 podium by default as all the other cars in class dropped out when diff oil coated the backside of the track.

The wild and wet Sunday afternoon affair had Parker McKean working his way to the front of the 20-car PRO3 pack for the win. The wet conditions made for exceptionally challenging racing, yet there were no car-to-car incidents of note in the entire race.

How we got here:

Bill Eckert:

The 2016 season is my first full year in PRO3 or racing of any sort. For a little background, I will share that my path to racing started with the Car Control Clinic at Pacific Raceways right after I got my first BMW. After a few hot laps ride-along at the end of the day, I was all in. I progressed from novice HPDE driver through the ranks until I became an instructor for the BMW/PCA/Audi clubs.

My interest in motorsports quickly led down the path to local club racing. To my surprise, the barriers to entry were fairly low-proceed through the licensing program (one full day of school and training on track followed by three “novice only” races) and begin looking for a ride. Both during the novice races and the first few “provisional” races, I was able to choose among several cars available to rent. The biggest hit out of the gate was buying all the personal protective gear necessary.

After attending and participating in several events, it was clear that the pits where the PRO3 cars gathered were where I wanted to be. Almost without exception, everyone affiliated with PRO3 is helpful, friendly and more than willing to share knowledge and experience. Not to mention they are fierce but clean racers."

Jim Cissell:

I didn’t start racing until I was 62. 2016 marks my eighth season in PRO3. Sixth place is the best single race finish I’ve had. And despite making almost every race the past two years, my best overall was 11th in 2014 and eighthin 2015. Why do I keep doing it?

Racing--because it’s the most fun you can have with your clothes on—or at my age, even with them off.

Why PRO3?

One, it’s the biggest class out there, which means no matter where you are in the pack you’re involved in a real race.

Two, it’s reasonably affordable.

Three, the people -- everyone in PRO3 is willing to lend a hand. Even with all the wonderful events put on by BMW CCA, and the sense of community that comes from that, it pales in comparison to being part of the PRO3 family. You develop friendships deeper than you’ve had since school or the military.

Four, it is fun. I hope you’ll get a sense of that from these videos from the first two races of this year."

May 1st at Portland International Raceways

 

And May 15th at Pacific Raceways

See you at the track!

 

2016-May CSCC G1R 12 The PRO3 grid enters the first corner at Portland. Photo by Doug Berger
The PRO3 grid enters the first corner at Portland. Photo by Doug Berger

 

 

Photo of Bill Ecker racing in his BMW PRO3 racer. Photo by Doug Berger
New columnist Bill Ecker. Photo by Doug Berger.

 

 

 

The close racing that is found throughout the PRO3 grid.
The close racing that is found throughout the PRO3 grid. Photo by Doug Berger

 

New columnist Jim Cissell on the top step of the podium.
New columnist Jim Cissell on the top step of the podium. Photo by Doug Berger.

 

Jim Cissell goes for style points with his impersonation of a unicorn. (With a traffic cone stuck on the front bumper of his car) Photo by Doug Berger.
Jim Cissell goes for style points with his impersonation of a unicorn. Photo by Doug Berger.