Thirteenth Annual E30 Picnic Recap

E30 Picnic Panorama, by Libby
E30 Picnic Panorama, by Steve Libby

The lush green lawn at the LeMay Family Museum in Spanaway, Washington, was staked and ready for the forecasted E30 Tsunami. On cue Sunday morning the wave of over 180 BMW E30s rolled onto the display field under cloudy morning, then wonderfully sunny afternoon, skies. E30s from six states and two Canadian provinces made the annual sojourn to congregate with other like-minded pilgrims.

This was the scene for the thirteenth annual E30 picnic organized by Lance Richert. The first E30 Picnic had around 50 cars. Today it is the world’s largest E30 event. There was even a crew filming the E30 Picnic for an upcoming documentary on the cult of the BMW E30.

Saturday, the day before the Picnic, there were E30-specific tech sessions run by R3VLimited and hosted by Griot’s Garage. From there, many made their way to the pre-Picnic party Saturday night at James Crivellone’s house in Tacoma. This group braved the possibility of hangovers for the next day’s big event.

On Sunday, cloudy skies with intermittent rain kept some E30s home but the true diehards came out to show off their cars, including a beautiful collection of E30 M3s. The rarest E30 this year was a legitimate M3 convertible, a car that most of us have never seen in person. There were also three rare E30 Tourings, one being a diesel. The coveted Furthest Traveled Award went to Anthony Abatangelo for the third time, driving from Chicago, Illinois. Tony retired his ’87 due to some rust issues and brought a different E30 for this year’s trek out West. Griot’s Garage provided helpful car care products for the highest mileage E30 (a 1989 325is with 375,xxx miles), plus the youngest and oldest owners.

This year three 16 year olds piloted their E30s to the show. The youngest E30 owner was 16 years, three weeks. The oldest E30 owner was 71. This is a younger crowd than most BMW events but there are more and more babies and toddlers attending the Picnic with their E30-loving parents. For those without kids, there is the seemingly unofficial dog of the E30 crowd—the Boston Terrier. They seemed to be everywhere.

BBQ2U were back and providing great food for the hungry masses. BBQ2U also had four, count ‘em, four sponsored PRO3 cars on display. With a showing like that, who else could be the food provider?

Haury’s Lake City Collision again donated a valuable paint job for a lucky E30 owner to win. Jacob Albitre was the lucky winner and we look forward to seeing his freshly painted E30 at next year’s E30 Picnic.

Griot’s Garage continues to support car themed events in the Puget Sound area. They and other supporters donated additional of items for the popular afternoon raffle, much of it E30-specific. The raffle was the last activity before everyone hit the road. The event raised over $1,300 for the LeMay Museum Foundation.

A huge thanks to the supporters of the E30 Picnic:

Haury’s Lake City Collision

Creating Composites

BMW Northwest

Car Tender

Bavarian Autosport

Griot’s Garage


425 Motorsports

Guten Parts


BMW CCA Puget Sound Region

ProFormance Racing School

South Lake European

Bavarian Restoration

–Steve Libby

E30 Picnic attendees enjoying the cars on display
E30 Faithful, by Paul Melrose










Matt Barner’s view of the E30 Picnic

Where do I start? The E30 picnic is the one thing I look forward to every year, and I am sure I’m not the only one. Everyone scrambles months, weeks, months, then days before, cleaning, polishing, washing their car; in hopes they will have someone compliment their car. But that’s not important to everybody. My main highlight or goal for the weekend is to see the people I only get to see once a year. Many of us were talking at the pre-meet party, that no other group of car guys must experience what we get to. Whether it is talking to Tony who drove across country about his drive and where he stayed, or talking to someone who you have never met about the E30 they just bought. There is just never a shortage of people to hang out with. The following behind the E30 is so phenomenal. It is hard to explain to others about staying at James’ house and him letting you crash where ever there is a spot, about him having the party catered, and the drinks he provides. They always say to me, “just because of your bimmer?”

It’s not “just because” of my bimmer I tell them, but the entire community that comes along with it. It’s the guy that drives an hour to help you out, who you have never met. It’s the spontaneous meets that you go to meet more of the locals. It’s the friend you bring along, because his car isn’t running, because you know he would bring you. It’s the guy who lets you pick up a part at midnight that you need for your car. I didn’t get into E30s because of the fact it was a bimmer; I saw my friends were having such a great time, and making a ton of friends, getting help etc. I thought I had nothing to lose, and I am glad I made the decision to get one. No matter if you’re the kid, who waits for his paycheck to buy car parts, or the guy who owns five of them, and is thinking about a sixth, this is truly a car for those that are community-oriented. I thank Lance, James, those of R3V, etc. for helping to put on and come to this event. I’ll see you guys next year!

Matt Barner,Kalama, WA