2015 E30 Picnic – The Biggest Yet!

E30 Picnic Panorama, photo by Christian Bouchez
2015 E30 Picnic Panorama, photo by Christian Bouchez

The fourteenth Annual E30 Picnic was the biggest and best one yet! About 225 E30s were present under mostly sunny skies at the LeMay Family Collection. We’ve almost exceeded the site’s space but for this year it was a nice cozy environment for all this E30 goodness. E30s traveled from seven states and two Canadian provinces.

This show has become the biggest E30 show in the world and has a worldwide reputation. The furthest traveled award went to Ryan Carag, who traveled to Tacoma from Maryland by way of New Orleans, Texas and Arizona; a total of 4,469 miles one way! Ryan received a Car Care Kit from Griot’s Garage. Alex Sukhovetskiy came from Tennessee, which in any other year would have made him the furthest traveled. Alex broke some other record by traveling with three of his closest friends in the car. At least, they still seemed like friends after this cross-country dorm-on-wheels adventure. Presumably they stopped to shower every few days. Picnic organizers passed the hat for gas money for these two far flung travelers and were able to send them homeward bound with about $80 each, enough for two tanks of gas.

Lance Richert, E30 impresario, always recruits some interesting cars to be featured and one of the highlights of the E30 Picnic is hearing these stories. Two cars were brought by local BMW collector Peter Gleeson. The first was a red Z1, which is mostly an E30 underneath. It is actually the only modern production BMW that does not have an E/F number. The roll-down doors of a Z1 are always a hit. Most people in the U.S. have never seen a Z1 in person. While 8,000 were built, they were never imported to the U.S.

Peter also brought out his white E30 M3 Evo II Cabrio, the only one ever made. This car is the stuff of legends but it does exist. It almost didn’t make it to the Picnic as its fan belt broke on the way down, causing the car to overheat. Peter’s mechanic, Paul Skelton, found a fan belt at O’Reilly’s and managed to replace it on the side of the freeway with the tools in the BMW trunk kit! Good show! Meanwhile, Peter was sampling some awful coffee at “a petrol station forecourt along the motorway.” Translation: He got shitty coffee at a gas station just off Interstate 5. Anyway, this amazing one-of-one M3 did make the show.

Kevin Doyle showed his tube-frame E30 with very few E30 parts left. This monster has been built to be an endurance racer. Everything is designed to provide exceptional power-to-weight, reliability and every major component, including the engine, can be quickly replaced.

Following the E30 Featured Car presentation was the always popular raffle with over 40 items this year, also a record. The coveted “Free Paint Job on an E30” from Haury’s Lake City Collision went to Peter Levine at his FIRST E30 Picnic. Peter, you lucky dog!

"Respect Your Elders" author Owen Craft speaks to crowd at this years E30 Picnic.
“Respect Your Elders” author Owen Craft speaks to crowd.

Owen Craft, the maker of the film, “Respect Your Elders” was on hand. Owen’s film now has over 100,000 views on YouTube and has become a cult classic. The film’s first shooting was at last year’s Picnic, so it was only fitting that Owen came back to celebrate his success with the faithful.

The award for the highest mileage E30 went to Chuck Meyer and his car with 348,000 miles. The youngest owner was Jacky Zheng, 16 years-old and beating out another 16 year-old by mere months. We’ve quit giving out the oldest E30 owner since they don’t seem to want to admit their ages! Suffice it to say it is over 70. But they are very young 70+ year-olds.

Next year we will celebrate fifteen years of this unique event. Be there!

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Thanks to these E30 Picnic supporters:

  • 425 Motorsports
  • Accuracy Automotive
  • Bavarian Autosport
  • Bavarian Restoration
  • Bimmerheads
  • Bimmerworld
  • BMW Northwest
  • BWeiss Leather
  • Car Tender
  • Griot’s Garage
  • Garagistic
  • Garage Welt
  • Gear Switch
  • Gipson Motorsports
  • Guten Parts
  • Haury’s Lake City Collision
  • KD Motorsports
  • R3VLimited
  • ReKnown