I have been interested in BMWs since the 1960s when I first saw a very cool 1600-2 owned by a professor at the University of Connecticut. I remember showing the car to my future wife, Alice, and her commenting that it was indeed very cool.
My first extensive personal experience with a BMW came in 1986 when I worked for Porsche Cars North America. I purchased a new red 635CSi 5-speed for a competitive comparison driving event we did around the country. Alice and I flew to Oakland where we picked the car up from Weatherford BMW and drove it back to Reno. I remember how wonderful the car was to drive. And as I got to experience the car more during its break-in period, I marveled at the great the clutch/shifter action and how smoothly and evenly the power came on as you accelerated. Then as I got to drive it on three racetracks during the Porsche event during the summer of 1986, I learned how truly great the car was. I wanted one!
I bought my first personal BMW in September 2003 when I came across a beautiful 1972 2002tii on consignment at Sport Haus. It was Polaris Silver with a mostly-original, blue interior. Special features were a Nardi wood steering wheel and Campagnolo alloy wheels. It was a BMW I always wanted to experience – the classic round-taillight tii in a perfect color!
Once I had the car I joined the BMW Club as both Alice and I have been long-time Porsche Club members and we always enjoyed the car-club experience. At the time there was no local chapter in Northern Nevada so I was assigned to the Sin City Chapter in Las Vegas. That was too far away and I was delighted to be part of the core group who formed our Sierra chapter in 2007.
I sold the 2002tii in 2009 but continued to enjoy driving a BMW as our daily driver was a silver 2008 E83 X3. Today we have a grey 2012 F25 X3 xdrive 35i daily driver and a red 2003 E46 M3 6-speed convertible. My other German performance car is a 2009 Porsche Boxster S with the PDK transmission and Sport Chrono package.
The optional Dynamic Handling Package on the F25 X3 makes it amazingly fun to drive when the roads get curvy. Changing the setting from Normal to Sport brings everything to life and really makes a difference in the handling. Moving the shifter to the manual mode and using the steering wheel paddles to control the 8-speed automatic also adds to the driving fun. It’s definitely not your typical SUV – BMW’s label of SAV – Sport Activity Vehicle – truly fits!
As for the E46 M3, what can I say…to me it’s the most beautiful 3-series to date. And with the 6-speed manual and a 7,900 rpm redline and 333 hp, it’s so much fun to “play with”. And we can enjoy cruising with the top down!
I’m a car nut for sure! I’ve owned lots of unique and interesting cars over the years and there’s nothing I like better than talking about cars and experiencing them. Cars have always been an avocation and in 1981 I was able to combine this avocation with my vocation when I went to work for a large car dealer in Roanoke, Virginia, doing Organizational Development work. I spent over 30 years in the car business, working in retail for four years, for Porsche Cars North America for six years and 22 years running my own business providing training, coaching and consulting, primarily in the car business.
Alice and I have always enjoyed our car club experience. We describe it as a social club based around cars – very special cars! We’ve been Porsche Club members since the early ‘90s and BMW Club members since 2003. We’ve hosted many events for both clubs and attended many, many more. I served as the newsletter editor for both clubs and as President of the Porsche Club in 2000. It’s truly “about the people not just the cars.” I say, if you like people and you like cars, join the club and have fun with both!