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BMW Centennial Books

By David Lightfoot

It is sad to see that there aren’t many books published any longer about BMW. The trends for ink-on-paper remain grim but BMW’s centennial year gave us the gift of a number of books to celebrate 100 years of BMW. We were fortunate to see so many fine volumes appear in 2016, so we better enjoy them while we can.

Most of these centennial books were factory efforts although the first one was privately published.

The BMW Century by Tony Lewin, published by Motorbooks, an imprint of Quarto Publishing Group USA, Inc., 2016, 240 pages, hardbound in a large format. Available from Amazon for $50.

This is a big, spectacular coffee table books that covers the 100 year history of our favorite car company. The subtitle is “The Ultimate Performance Machines” and the foreword is written by Tom Purves, former head of BMW NA.

While a coffee table type of book with lots of well-produced color photos, the text is also well written. There is a lot of ground covered with 100 years of BMW products, including cars, motorcycles, and airplane engines. Plus, the corporate adventures and misadventures of BMW’s history are told. Only in the last couple of chapters does the author mention the future for the company. At $50, this book is a bargain.

BMW Group, 100 Masterpieces edited by Andreas Braun, published by Hirmer Verlag, 2016, 236 pages, hardbound in a large format. Available from Amazon for $44.25.

Dr. Braun is the Curator at the BMW Museum in Munich. . The book was written to accompany a special 100 year retrospective at the BMW Museum. This book was written in German and translated to English; both languages are in the print version. Sometimes the English suffers in these efforts but the English is good in this case. But the book has one major oddity.

I would expect the “100 Masterpieces” to be 100 BMW products to showcase the company’s history. A highlight film on paper perhaps. But instead the “100 Masterpieces” include BMW products but also significant achievements or milestones in the company’s history.

Here is how it plays out. There is a page or two on groundbreaking BMW cars such as the 328, 507, Isetta, New Class, 2002, M1, Z8 and all the other significant cars one would expect. Similarly, there are many significant beamers. And concepts such as the pioneering E1 electric car and the X Coupe that introduced flame surfacing. All of this makes sense to me.

What came as a surprise was the “100 Masterpieces” include such achievements as the introduction of BMW healthcare,  the introduction of market research, the legendary shareholder meeting of 1959, introduction of flexible work schedule models, the foundation of BMW Bank, the first corporate environmental officer, introduction of corporate identity and the South African HIV and Aids policy. These are all masterpieces? Significant events, certainly, but masterpieces?

This is all interesting if one is interested in the history of BMW as a business but less so if one’s interest is confined to the company’s products or just automobiles. Still, I highly recommend the book at this price as it big and beautiful, filled with a lot of great photos.

Driving the Future edited by BMW AG, published by Piper Verlag GmbH, 2016, 144 pages, hardbound. Not available commercially but copies available on eBay.

A copy of this book was given to each employee of the BMW Group in the United Kingdom. It was printed in Germany but I have not seen any copies in German. But there are plenty in English available on eBay. The book was given to each employee in either a red or black canvas bag with the Next 100 Years logo on it. So if you find a copy on eBay to buy, there is a good chance it will come with one of these bags.

The messages of this book are that BMW is a worldwide company and they employ a diverse group of employees. The story starts via biographical snippets of BMW employees worldwide. The next chapter is a short history but then gets into many reasons on the theme of why BMW is such a terrific employer, such as healthy food at the company cafeterias and fitness programs.

The final chapter gets into the company’s strengths in terms of technology, innovation and progressive practices. There is quite a bit about the company’s youth initiatives. It is a bit of a brochure for the company. You should be able to find a copy for about $25 including the bag. At that price, the book is heavily subsidized by the company, as are most of these publications.

BMW Group The Next Hundred Years notepad.

This was the first publication of the centennial year, probably because there wasn’t any text to write or lay out. This is simply a journal-sized, hardbound notepad of blank paper with a sliding metal clasp. I think it is a dealer item for under $20.

Centennial Six Pack

Early in 2016 BMW announced that they would be doing an installment series of books and then tying all of these installments into one volume. Or something like that. As near as I can tell, six small, soft-cover books were published by BMW Group and produced by Hoffmann und Campe Verlag GmbH. These six titles then were included, verbatim, as chapters in a much grander book I’ll tell you about in a moment.

The six titles are:

  • Where is the BMW Group Headed? Based on interviews with BMW senior staff about the direction of the auto industry and BMW in the future.
  • Back to the Future. Subtitled ‘100 Years of Forward Thinking at the BMW Group.’
  • Every Mini is My Mini is the story of the Mini concept vehicle that was done for the centennial and its theme of personalization to the driver’s tastes.
  • The Grand Sanctuary is about the Rolls-Royce concept vehicle presented in 2016.
  • The Great Escape is about the concept motorcycle that BMW Motorrad created.
  • The Ultimate Driver is the story of the BMW Vision Next 100 concept vehicle.

I don’t think these books were made commercially available. They don’t have ISBN numbers and can’t find any for sale except rarely on eBay. It appears these six books, along with the Centennial notepad, were given as a package to members of the press. I found mine on eBay with the seven books as a package. Never fear, the contents and more are included in…

The Next 100 edited by Adriano Sack, published by BMW Group and produced by Hoffmann und Campe Verlag GmbH, 592 pages, hardbound in a large format. Available new from eBay sellers for under $100 including shipping.

Subtitled ‘Ideas, Views and Visions of Tomorrow’s World.’  This six-pound tome is BMW’s ultimate present to itself on its 100th birthday. It has eleven chapters, six of which I mentioned above and are incorporated in this book, except this book is bigger so the layout is a bit grander than in the smaller, single-chapter publications. The other five chapters are:

  • Where Do we Go from Here? About what the future might look like and what are the opportunities it will offer.
  • Meeting of Minds features thought leaders from science, research and art talking with BMW Group executives and board members.
  • Fast and Curious is an exploration of innovative forms of mobility from the past, real and imagined.
  • The End of the World was Yesterday is a compilation of essays about various visions of the future.
  • Out of the Box. My favorite chapter. A host of surprises from the BMW Group Archives. Consider the cases of the BMW 531, three-wheeled delivery vehicle, motorized plow and Rolls-Royce soapbox racer.

This is a monumental book and really oriented to the future of BMW as a company. There are conversations between many thought leaders and BMW leaders, mostly members of the supervisory board. Included in these are the most public profiles I’ve ever seen of the Quandt family members who own 46.6% of BMW’s stock. The youngest generation of Quandts, Stefan Quandt and his sister, Susanne Klatten, are both pictured and quoted; quite a break from the past. Stephan interviewed neuroscientist and Nobel Prize winner Thomas Sudhof on the Sanford University campus. Suzanne Klatten shares a conversation with Carlo Ratti, an Italian architect and engineer who teaches at MIT, at BMW Welt in Munich.

At $100 this is really, really a bargain! Almost 600 pages, heavy paper and great production values. You should get it, if the topics interest you. Some chapters are a bit out there, but I like it. And BMW isn’t going to be doing it again.

 


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Peter Gleeson beside an M1 speaking to the crowd

Peter Gleeson at America’s Car Museum

Peter Gleeson beside an M1 speaking to the crowd

For our first meeting of the new year, on January 28th, we were treated to a presentation of some of Peter Gleeson’s cars on display at America’s Car Museum in Tacoma. Peter is a chapter member and has a world-class collection of BMWs. But he also collects other marques and his display at ACM is pretty eclectic. This display is part of the Museum honoring Peter as a ‘Master Collector’ but it also coincides with the year-long BMW display to celebrate BMW’s Centennial. Many visited the Museum last May when we had our chapter’s Centennial Celebration.

This time, Peter’s cars were displayed on one of the ramps in the Museum. Peter walked the crowd of about one hundred down the ramp, explaining the history and significance of each car as we went. BMWs in the display included: the M1 Art Car painted by Frank Stella for Peter Gregg, the Dexter Brown-painted 3.3Li, a Z4 race car from Japan, a 3.0 CSL Batmobile, a red Z1, the Johnny Cecotto M1 street car and a couple of BMW motorcycles. Non-BMWs included a very special Aston Martin, a beautiful Series 1 Jaguar E-type and a 1939 Lincoln streamliner hot rod with nary a 1939 Lincoln part on it.

Upstairs the BMW Centennial exhibit is still there but not for much longer. Make the trek to ACM if you haven’t seen the show yet or wait another hundred years.

Thanks for Peter Gleeson for sharing his enthusiasm of the marque and care in general.

BMWs parked on the America's Car Museum plaza

The poster for the Peter Gleeson Master Collector exhibit

Long shot of the plaza, full of BMWs


BMWs Go Mainstream as Collector Cars

 

In the last five years, BMW have been discovered by mainstream auto collectors. By this I mean, the big car collectors did not have BMWs on their radar until about 2012. But let’s go back even further.

Twenty-five years ago, 1992, the Big Three of BMWs were all $100,000 cars. That is, the 328 from the 1930s, the 507 from the 1950s and the M1 from the late 1970s could all be had for about $100,000. In the late 1990s, keeping the symmetry, the Z8 joined the list of great BMWs.

With the Z8s appearance, there was an interest in the 507, being the inspiration for the Z8. I thought this would be short-lived, but I was wrong.

Still, mainstream collectors continued to chase the classics they had always chased. Pre-war marques such as Duesenberg, Bugatti, Mercedes-Benz and exotica such as Isotta-Franchinis, Hispano-Suizas and the like. With the passage of time, post-war cars such as Mercedes gullwings, Cobras and, of course, Ferraris captured the imagination of those with lots of money.

BMWs just never caught on. Maybe that was because pre-war BMWs were relatively inexpensive. And in the immediate post-war period, BMW just didn’t build very many cars. Let’s face it, the company had several near-death experiences and only finally found their feet with the investment by the Quandt family in 1959.

Whatever the reasons, BMWs have finally been noticed by the major collectors. This is a mixed blessing. The good news: BMW is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The bad news: Prices have skyrocketed. The sort of good news: Restoration can be economically justified for more cars now and more replacement parts are being remanufactured.

The Rules Change: Provenance and Originality

The rules of the broader collector car world now apply to the most valuable of BMWs. For example, a particular car’s provenance is very important. Race history, especially factory race history, means a lot. Previous owners, especially famous ones, can raise a car’s value significantly. Being able to trace and document the chain of ownership is important. Preferably back to the beginning of the car’s history.

The other change for these cars is the importance of authenticity/originality. BMW enthusiasts have historically not placed much importance on this. Swapping out parts was considered acceptable. Many Bimmerphiles considered it good to make ‘upgrades.’ But these ‘automotive mores’ don’t hold for cars in the upper strata of collector car hobby and lately even for the new-found jewels from BMW like E30 M3s. Collectors want authentic, original, as-delivered from the factory parts on these cars. Substitute parts, even for ease of drivability, typically will decrease value. Okay, nobody wants to drive on original tires from a prewar 328, but you get the idea.

For older BMWs, such as pre-war cars, 503/507s or anything pre-New Class, this has been clear for a while. But for those of you with newly found classics, such as an E9 coupe or E30 M3, it probably makes sense to put the car back to factory original or stockpile the parts to do so.

Should BMW CCA chapter events start judging cars for originality and authenticity? Maybe. Let’s talk about some of the specific models.

507

The 507 from the 1950s is the most valuable BMW model.
The 507 from the 1950s is the most valuable BMW model.

The 507 is the most valuable model of BMW. The 507 got a bump in values when the Z8 was released. Some people wanted a 507 to go with their Z8 so they could have the original and the updated version. But then a weird thing happened. The values never went back down. In 2013, 507 values really took off and 2014 saw the values go completely nuts. The 507 is particularly beautiful and very rare; both add to the value, of course.

During 2014, the late Bill and Star Young’s 507 sold at Amelia Island for $1.8M. Four days later, a 507 from the Pray Collection sold for $2.4M, setting the record. That particular car, besides coming from the collection of well-known collector Malcolm Pray, is the only 507 raced in North America. The auction house, R&M, located the original owner and obtained documentation of every event the car participated in. This seemed to raise the perceived value to bidders by about half a million dollars. In my mind, the amateur racing history really isn’t that significant. But bidders felt otherwise. Importantly, the new owner is said to have spent $1 million on ‘restoration’ of this car after spending $2.4 million to acquire it! That car was at Pebble Beach last year and looked good, as well it should.

At one of the Pebble Beach auctions in August 2015, a 507 that had been fully restored by TT Workshops in England, was sold for $1.8 million, at the low end of estimates and considered to be somewhat disappointing by some. With seller’s premium, the full price was $1.9 million. BMW Group Classic raised some questions about the fidelity to which cars were restored by TT Workshops. This car was found to have a non-original engine a couple of days before the sale, which brought the price down. For locals, this car was previously owned by Brown Maloney of Sequim, WA.

During 2016, the Elvis Presley 507 and its companion car were both brought to Monterey by BMW Group Classic and certainly gave a boost to 507 values. But the only 507 offered at any of the Monterey auctions was painted an awful non-factory turquoise and was a no sale at $1.8M.

The market for 507s seems to be about $1.8M to $2.0M currently for very nice cars with very special cars or those in exceptional condition being worth up to 20% more and of course there will always be a premium  everything else being equal for a series two car. Of course, it seems that every 507 owner thinks their car is a $2.4M car but the market thinks otherwise. Interestingly, 507s have seen a slight softening, like so many cars that accelerated from 2012 to 2014; this slight correction seems healthy.

503

Karra Canum’s 503 Cabriolet is likely the best example in the world.
Karra Canum’s 503 Cabriolet is likely the best example in the world.

The sister car to the 507 is the 503. Both models were designed by Count Albrecht von Goerz for BMW and both debuted in 1955. The coupes are now worth $220,000 to $312,000 according to Sports Car Market. The convertibles are worth $328,400 to $330,000 according to the same source. That seems like an awfully narrow range but this is clearly a thinly-traded market. In my mind, the convertibles are significantly more attractive. Probably the best 503 in the world is owned by Karra Canum of San Jose. Many club members have seen this car at the LeMay Museum, Monterey, Griot’s Garage catalogs or in Roundel. With its brown and beige interior, it is a show stopper. It would probably sell for over half a million dollars if brought to auction.

501/502/3200CS

This 502 Cabriolet was restored by the President of the BMW Vintage and Classic Car Club.
This 502 Cabriolet was restored by the President of the BMW Vintage and Classic Car Club.

The other big BMWs from the 1950s and 1960s are the 501, 502 and 3200CS. The standard 501/502 sedans aren’t worth much and can’t be restored economically. Unusually-bodied cars are worth enough to bother with. These include the Baur cabriolets which have drawn around $350,000 at auction. 501/502s from Autenrieth or other coachbuilders are worth even more.

The 3200 CS Bertone is rarely seen at auction but Sport Car Market puts the value range at $58,800 to $103,050.

328

Nancy and John Martin’s beautiful 328 is well known to club members.
Nancy and John Martin’s beautiful 328 is well known to club members.

The pre-ware 328 is the second most valuable of BMW models. Built from 1936 to 1940, this car’s rarity, beauty and race history make it a real classic. In 2015 Bonhams sold a Condition 3 (1 is best, 5 is a mess), restored 328 for $831,451 which was called market correct by Sports Car Market. Later the same year, Bonhams sold a Condition 1- Frazer Nash-BMW for $934,868. Sports Car Market says the range is $667,400 to $1,287,153. The wide range is due to condition, of course, but 328s also often have very interesting ownership histories and many have strong completion histories, which helps account for the wide spread.

Many 328s were hidden away during World War II and the chain of ownership is sometimes hard to document during the war and immediate post-war period. Some 328 owners fear that their cars could have claims made against them by their former German owners, much like what has happened in the art world. So many of these cars remain hidden away.

The most valuable of the 328s are the factory race cars. Most of these are now owned by BMW but the crease-fendered roadster from the 1940 Mille Miglia team is the exception. BMW made a copy of this car but the original car was acquired by Oscar Davis for about $3 million.

Other Pre-war BMWs

This lovely 327/28 Cabriolet was restored in Vancouver, BC for Steve and Annie Norman.
This lovely 327/28 Cabriolet was restored in Vancouver, BC for Steve and Annie Norman.

The predecessor to the 328 was the 315/1 and 319/1 sports cars. These lovely roadsters are roughly $250,000 cars in good condition. Curiously, the 327 and 327/28 cars are not listed in the Sports Car Market Price Guide although I’ve seen nice ones sell in the range of $250,000 to $350,000.

 

 

 

Isetta/600

Who could resist an Isetta?
Who could resist an Isetta?

Microcars are very popular with collections since they are relatively affordable and cute. The favorite of all microcars is the BMW Isetta. The price range stated by Sports Car Market is $30,000 to $93,500, the latter hopefully the result of too much auction excitement/wine. But nicely restored Isettas bring in excess of $40,000 regularly.

The ‘Isetta limousine’600 isn’t worth as much even though it can actually be driven in modern (non-freeway) traffic; it just isn’t as cute as an Isetta. Taking an Isetta to a car show is like taking a puppy and its seems a “BMW puppy” is a must have item for all kinds of collectors.

M1

This M1 Procar is pictured at Laguna Seca.
This M1 Procar is pictured at Laguna Seca

The M1 supercar from the late 1970s has finally been discovered by mainstream collectors and is getting the attention it deserves. Sports Car Market puts their value at $440,000 to $605,000, which seems about right and has recently been confirmed by a nice car just brought to the USA from Japan with zero paperwork, selling for $577K, no doubt a low mileage great provenance car may shock the market at a higher level. Motorsport M1’s Particularly Procars with race history are worth much more.

Z8

This is an Alpina Z8
This is an Alpina Z8

Z8s are beautiful, modern cars. There were 5,700 built, so they are not rare. But a curious thing has happened. The original price was about $130,000. Initially the values dipped to around $80,000 at the lowest. Then they started climbing to where the value is now $181,200 to $309,269, again quoting Sports Car Market. Why so expensive? They are lovely, reliable and fast with the M5 engine. But they can’t be driven hard since the unibodies flex and newer M Cars are faster. But these values, in excess of what they cost new, have persisted for years and while there seems to be a leveling of late, who knows what the future brings.

Standard E9 vs. CSL vs. Batmobile

Peter Gleeson’s ‘Cow Car’ is an example of a full race 3.0CSL Batmobile.
Peter Gleeson’s ‘Cow Car’ is an example of a full race 3.0CSL Batmobile.

Now we’re getting into more affordable cars that many club members can relate to. The E9 coupe is one of the most beautiful cars BMW has ever built. The standard 2800CS and 3.0CS are valued in the range of $31,300 to $65,000. The drivetrains are such that these cars can be driven in modern traffic and the beauty of the car just gets better with age.

The 3.0CSL values are now $60,200 to $91,346 according to Sports Car Market, this obviously needs updating, while an outlier rust bucket example sold for $85,309 at a recent Bonhams’ auction. The reality seems to be between $150k and $250k depending on lightness they left the factory with, carbs or injection and condition.

The 3.0SCL Batmobiles are where the bigtime collectors begin to be interested. They range in value from $180,000 to $275,778 according to Sports Car Market but that seems low. Perhaps the ‘comps’ aren’t keeping up with the market because Batmobiles have been on fire the last few years, with three known private sales in and around $400,000, a Bonhams sale last year of a series one Batmobile at $341K and a couple of very average cars selling for above $200K.

The racing versions of these CSLs, especially the very small group of factory race cars are now up with the 507s in terms of prices and the recognized major teams of the period, Schnitzer, Alpina, Luigi, etc, can easily enter the 328 price range.

Here is where the conundrum comes in for E9 owners. Do they ‘upgrade’ their coupe with a more modern, more powerful engine and other changes that make the car more usable? Or do they put the car back to box stock in anticipation of standard E9s following the CSLs upmarket?

Standard 2002 vs. 2002tii vs. Turbo

The greatest 2002 of them all, the Turbo.
The greatest 2002 of them all, the Turbo.

The issues are similar for 2002s. Standard 2002s in good shape are coming up in value but the 2002tii, especially in round taillight form, is more desirable. Sport Car Market has the 2002tii valued at $31,500 to $41,800, which seems a little light for exceptional cars. The greatest of the 2002s, the 2002 Turbo, is listed as being in the range of $50,400 to $54,535. I don’t think so. A well restored 2002 Turbo is clearly worth over $100,000 and we have seen sales approach $150k for the very best

Which brings up another point, which is the higher the value of a car the more examples of that model can be economically restored.

Z1

The Z1’s drop down doors are an attention getter.
The Z1’s drop down doors are an attention getter.

Restoration of a Z1 isn’t something that is likely to be needed. They aren’t that old and the bodies are made of plastic. The Z1 was built from 1988 to 1991 but this model was never imported to the U.S. There were 8,000 built and now Z1s can be imported Many Z1s have been brought into the country by members of the BMW Vintage and Classic Car Club. Z1s use a 3 Series drivetrain and the drop-down doors are always a showstopper. Oddly, Sports Car Market doesn’t even track the values of Z1s. Too bad because the values have gone from about $25,000 to $50,000 a couple of years ago to twice that now. A really nice one, especially in an unusual color, can be worth $100,000.

Conclusion

If you’re looking to keep your collector BMW long-term, think about the value to be had by putting the car back to stock or at least keeping the stock items you remove. You can’t take it with you and eventually that car could be a nice addition to your retirement plan.


Motorsport Column Q1 2017

2016-m6-gt3_500px325

Just because it is raining outside, kind of cold, and dark does not mean that you can’t think about the upcoming track season! Hopefully, you got some cool upgrades to the car or at least asked for them. Maybe you got some holiday money or bonuses that you can use on the car. Check out the major BMW after-market suppliers like 425 Motorsport, Bimmerworld, Turner Motorsport, Bavarian Motorsport, HMS Motorsport, and of course BMW Performance. Just a reminder, if you have a 2005 Snell helmet, it can no longer be used at any track day. All car clubs are requiring the newer helmets, not just BMW. So, check inside your helmet and look for the sticker. Any helmet after 2005 is okay.

We will be promoting an on-line course by Ross Bentley for first time participants to HPDE events. In the past, we have held in-person ground schools for new drivers. With everyone’s busy schedules and the Puget Sound traffic, we have that decided that a short on-line eCourse will be helpful. Look for future ATS notifications as the time draws nearer.

What is HPDE? As you know, it stands for High Performance Driving Education. Did you notice that nowhere in the title does it say racing? If you are reading this article, it means that you belong to the BMW CCA and probably own one or more BMWs. Your car was designed by BMW engineers as a performance car that can be used to drive to the grocery store, drop off the kids to school, then go to the track for a day of fun, then home again! There are no special modifications you need for you to enjoy the incredible engineering of the Ultimate Driving Machine. All you need is a helmet, a car, an inspection report, a MotorsportReg account, and that is it!

Yes, there are a million ways to spend a lot of money on your car. But that is not the point. We want you to come to the track. We want you to take our Car Control Clinic for a day and just see what your car will do on a closed course. You will understand the value and feel of the ABS and just how stable your car is even when you get to push the limits. More importantly, you will get to see just why those BMW engineers went to school when you can play with the traction control settings; something that you would never do on the street!

Your first track day at a HPDE event will be great, exciting, and educational. Your instructor corps are the club’s ambassadors. We are here to provide a safe, yet exciting time at the track. For the first-time drivers, you will always have an instructor in your right seat, with a communicator. You will be guided around the track at a speed that is comfortable for you. At no time, will you ever be forced to drive at speeds that you feel are unsafe for your comfort level. However, having said this, learning always occurs in increments and sometime we must move a little past comfort level to achieve this.

So, start thinking about the track and car control clinics! I am and cannot wait to get back on the track. What am I doing? Well, the speedy 318is “TRAKCAR” will be getting its annual track maintenance in my garage. It is a good excuse to spend the day in the garage, listing to a rock station, and getting my hands dirty. In March, I will be attending the Audi club Instructors’ Clinic to keep my instruction skills sharp. Also in March, the Porsche Club will be hosting a national instruction certification program put on by the national Porsche Club. Many of the instructors will be attending this certification program.

Happy 2017 and get ready for a great track season!

Steve Libby, Senior Instructor, Driving Events Coordinator

 


Motorsport Column November/December 2016

track-by-christian-bouchez

The 2016 track season was pretty exciting in my opinion! We had only one rainy day, the last track event of the year at The Ridge, where pontoons on the cars might have been useful! For those who were there, you all learned how to hone your wet-driving skills. All cars came home on their own power, just a little wet. In fact, we had an incident-free event for the entire year, a testament to the driving skills of the all the drivers! Let’s continue this into 2017!

For the coming year, we will continue to have run-group leaders and have them organize download sessions. I have received numerous comments on how well this is working and how much you all get of them. This past year, we added a D-group leader which I think has really helped educate new drivers and build confidence. Does it take a dedicated instructor to be willing to wrangle all you drivers; yes, but that is part of being an instructor. I would encourage you all to take advantage of these sessions. As you move up to C-B-A groups, we will show you alternative lines, analysis of corner entry-exit point, and advanced car handling skills. Note, this is not racing and we do not run a racing school. If you have the desire to go racing, check out the PRO3 Line or talk with a PRO3 racer!

Perhaps one of the main reasons for attending the run-group sessions is to become acquainted with other drivers in that group. Remember, you will be sharing the track with them, letting them by-being let by, and having lunch! Get to know your run group members. We will be sending out a group email to each group. Hopefully, I will be leading several track walks early in the morning at Pacific Raceways and hopefully The Ridge.

What should you be doing in the off-season? Getting ready for 2017 of course! Read as much as you can about performance driving. We are fortunate to have Ross Bentley in our own back yard; take advantage of his webinars, on-line weekly newsletter and try to attend on his in-person seminars. Start thinking about what your goals are, what aspect of your driving do you want to improve upon, and yes, what modifications do you want to make to the car.

The journey to right seat starts at the beginning. Your instructors all started as D-group drivers and put the effort in to work on their driving skills. Not everyone wants or should be an instructor, but if you are an advanced driver, please consider it. We have a program in place to develop the skills needed to become an instructor. Just let us know, we will help.

As you might know, I will no longer be President of the chapter which only means that I will have more time to devote to the track program. I am already thinking about what changes and repairs I will be making to the speedy 318is “TRAKCAR” for 2017! So, ask Santa for some a set of R-compounds and plan on freeing up track dates for 2017!

See you in the paddock,

Steve Libby

 

Track Days for 2017:

May 12- Pacific Raceway

June 16- Pacific Raceway

July 14- Pacific Raceway

August 25- Pacific Raceway

September 30-The Ridge

 

 


The Next 100 Years

bmw-vision-next-100

Over the last year we’ve reviewed BMW’s history from 1916 to 2016. BMW’s first 100 years were fraught with several near death experiences. Being a German company didn’t help. At the end of both world wars BMW almost went out of business. In 1959 there was a third brush with corporate death that almost ended with BMW becoming a part of Mercedes-Benz. Since the Quandt investment in 1959 and the debut of the New Class in 1961 things have improved. And even when things have gone poorly, BMW has had the strength to weather the storm.

BMW’s theme for their centennial year is The Next 100 Years. The company starts its second century from a position of strength. They have great products and one of the strongest brands in the world. But they will face an industry entering a period of upheaval that is unprecedented.

The industry will have to take cars out of the environmental discussion. Private car ownership may cease to be desirable. The comprehensive cost of cost ownership is too high. BMW competitors will likely be new companies with disruptive technologies rather than their traditional rivals. And what does ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’ mean when cars drive themselves?

There is much to admire in BMW’s comprehensive approach to their i cars, in particular the revolutionary end-to-end solution for the production of carbon fiber to reduce weight. But will the Germans be up to the challenges of Silicon Valley and Asia? The history isn’t good.

In the meantime, these are the good old days. How is it that we can still buy a street car that will do 150 mph? What justification is there for that? I don’t know how this has been overlooked but every day at the track in a BMW is a gift. Let’s enjoy the extraordinary performance of these cars for as long as we can.


PRO3 Line

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With the onset of the gray and wet, another season in ICSCC Conference racing is in the books. The PRO3 championship went to Olivier Henrichot running away. His driving skill and car preparation made him a contender out of the gate and he sealed the championship before the final race with second place going to Corey Peters, third through 5th will be Chris Hart, Brad McAllister and Jim Cissell—not necessarily in that order. The seventh and eighth place positions will be Danielle Hovington and Brian Bercovitz or vice versa. Gama Aguilar will probably be nineth, and either Duncan Pearce or Matt Lowell tenth.

With a couple of noteworthy exceptions, the entire season went off without any serious incidents. Olivier suffered a significant T-Bone impact at Mission, and still managed to complete the race and win the championship in the damaged car. The final race at The Ridge Motorsports Park also had a couple of fender to fender episodes between PRO3 and other cars and a significant accident during the Enduro---but everyone walked away. Speaking of walking away, local driving great Randy Blaylock announced his retirement from racing at The Ridge. His in car video shows the tribute he received from workers and racers and Randy’s tearful reaction. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvb1YicxPUw

pro3video_lagunasecaraceway_500px300In late August PRO3 ventured to Sonoma Raceway and Laguna Seca to participate in the BMW Club Races as a feature at the 100th Anniversary Oktoberfest. PRO3 showed up with 16 cars and 23 drivers of the 80 total, so we were well represented. It was fantastic to race among all-BMW fields of some serious national-level talent and cars. The facilities, host club, and accommodations were all first cabin. PRO3 received the “Spirit of the Race” award--a checkered flag signed by all the participants. Notably, Danielle Hovington won her first race, and Kyle Byers won his race with an astonishing 0.10 second lead at the finish line.

PRO3 racing remains one of the largest classes, but the grids were smaller this year. Perhaps because PRO3 was extra busy with 13 Championship races, two Enduros, the Northwest Historics, the Rose Cup, and Laguna Seca. Firmly believing in “the more the merrier,” Jim Cissell (206) 933-8642 and Bill Ecker (253) 709-7999 are available to answer any questions you have on how YOU can become a PRO3 driver. One thing you can do is visit one of our sponsors, Griot’s Garage in Tacoma. All through October they have eleven real race cars on display--including Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari F2000 Formula 1 car, Nicki Lauda’s 1975 312T F1, 2 Porsche 908’s, a 1967 Brabham F1, Colin McRae’s Focus WS WRC World Rally Car, and perhaps most importantly, Bill Ecker’s 1987 PRO3 car. Its part of Griot’s Gasoline and Caffeine events held Saturday mornings.

As far as your humble authors are concerned, Bill (#137) finished his first full season in PRO3 attending five Conference events (finishing fourth), two feature events and one Enduro. “This was a tremendous amount of fun, and although I wasn’t near the front of the pack, every race was a race; there was always at least one more car to dice with from green to checker, which is really where the fun is. Outside of that, the PRO3 (and Conference) paddock was an absolute blast. I made several new friends through struggle, sweat and passion over these weekends. I heartily encourage all you regular HPDE addicts to take a look at the race program and come out and give it a try. It is truly taking your skills to the next level.”

Jim Cissell (#119), in addition to attending and finishing (thanks to Rhom Innovations) every single Conference and feature race this year, produced highlight videos of all the race weekends and co-wrote this column. He took first place in the Car Tender Enduro by default and appears to be in fourth or fifth place in the PRO3 standings. Of course there were the squirt guns, balloons, Crocs, and assorted antics he brought to the field to offset his distinctive car handling skills.

What does next season hold? Well, Olivier, in the footsteps of former PRO3 Champions Chuck Hurley, Dan Rogers and Dan Gavrilia is selling his PRO3 car and building a SpecE46, opening the door for the next PRO3 contender.

Over the winter, check out the program for Novice drivers, try some karting or HPDE events, or better still, look into becoming a volunteer for your local race club. That’s an inexpensive and rewarding path into racing. The drivers are eternally grateful for the folks in white who let it all happen. Meanwhile, I’m out to the shop to see if I can find another few HP over the winter. And Jim’s off to the bank to see if he can buy some.

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Ninth Annual M Car Day Recap

e30-m3s-low-resThe Ninth Annual M Car saw another large fleet of M Cars descend on Griot’s Garage Flagship Retail Store on September 24th for a morning of M related camaraderie.

Around 160 M Cars were in attendance, with the newer M3s and M4s showing up in larger number compared to last year. They were complemented by the still strong showing of ‘80s vintage E24, E28 and E30 M Cars (M6, M5 and M3). We saw folks from as far away as Portland and Vancouver BC with M Cars in attendance.

BMW Northwest brought a small fleet of interesting M Cars to show off. Most interesting had to be the M4 GTS that was displayed on the plaza level.

Griot’s Garage was our gracious host for the ninth year. This year they welcomed the large group with 25 dozen donuts, gallons of coffee and free refills of every empty Speed Shine bottle that folks could find and bring in. They thought their 40-gallon barrel of Speed Shine would easily take care of the group. They quickly had to start busting out additional one gallon containers from the stock room to keep up with the empty bottles, eventually distributing 65 gallons of Speed Shine. Thanks Griot’s Garage!

We tightened up the schedule compared to previous years and held the popular raffle at Noon, with eight to ten items each donated from Griot’s Garage and BMW Northwest.

Fun Fact: I thought they taped into a special mountain spring of Speed Shine at the base of Mount Rainer. Actually I learned that Griots Garage produce Speed Shine in the R&D and Distribution Center in Indianapolis!

We’ll see you all at the Tenth Annual M Car Day in 2017, date TBD.

Lance Richert

Chair, M Car Day

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