BimmerFest, the largest gathering of BMW enthusiasts in North America, kicks off this weekend (May 1 & 2), as thousands (yes, thousands) of BMW and MINI enthusiasts make the trek to Santa Barbara for the event. Not only is the event special and unique and growing each year, but the stories and efforts to prep and make the trip are sometimes as interesting if not more so than the event.
This has been true for the BRracing team and our customers, as many went into panic prep mode to ensure they had the latest mods and updates to their cars for the trek. At the shop, many spent complete 24 hour cycles working on their cars with no sleep at all, to make the massive preparations. One example, Erik Cutshaw, worked for three days straight with absolutely no sleep at all, to complete the painting, side window creation, main front and rear window installation, interior installation, wiring, custom dash creation, oil cooler installation, Accusump installation, cooling system change, and new wheels and tires so that this amazing project car could make the trip. And, this being Day 1, he did indeed complete the car and make the trek to Santa Barbara (for those who don’t know, this was a complete re-do of an E30 M3, down to the bare body, and reassemble with custom parts all the way around, plus, the custom installation of a S50B32 Euro motor into the M3, along w a Carbon Fiber Euro intake plenum and custom intake system and side exhaust. This is an amazing build. If you are at BimmerFest…look for this car…WOW.
Then, besides the cars and the people, there is the trip down itself which is always filled with stories, and when you get several hundred BMWs together to meet for the trip down, its not only fun, but, it catches all sorts of attention by other interested parties.
The BRracing group left the shop in our own caravan at 7:30am, and headed to Gilroy. The meeting place, caravan, and event logistics had been set up by Bay Bimmerz (www.baybimmerz.net), and they had this really well organized. But, we did not make it on time, as some other interested parties choose to delay us a bit, to inquire about the trek, our cars, and method of transportation. We were happy to entertain the CA CHP with great stories and tales, and soon were on our way to join the masses gathering in Gilroy, at the Lowe’s parking lot.
Its always nice to see a group of well taken care of cars, and especially BMWs, but seeing row upon row upon row upon row of them in a parking lot is always a sight…groups meeting, chatting, getting acquainted again, and prepping for the next stage of the trek. We met in the Lowe’s parking lot in Gilroy, where the Bay Bimmerz group handed out instructions for the caravan, addresses, locations, and meet points. This really helped, and have meet points really helped keep the team together, and reduce confusion…plus, allowed the larger group to stay in communication with all interested parties, and other activities going on….thanks Bay Bimmers!
The masses left Gilroy at 8:30am, but the announcement of the trip had already hit CNN, and we were happily greated by groups of interested parties about every 5 miles. So, the group tried to stay under control, but, ya know, when you get this many enthusiasts together…somethings bound to happen. We used scanners, radios, cell phones, and other communication devices to keep in contact and some sort of order…..and then, just had fun w the group.
The CA bay area group always stops at an In-n-Out joint for lunch…and again, the throng of cars completely overwhelms the location and establishment, and you can spend most of the lunch break just walking around looking at all the great cars. Cars that you have heard about….read about, but now can see in person. We (BRracing) also had one of those cars in our group, as our E46 M3 had just completed the installation of a Euro Touring Car Championship Carbon Fiber intake, one of only a few in all of North America, and this intake fills the complete drivers side engine bay, and has custom ducting and uses a stock MAF. Very pretty, and just amazing build….thanks goes to our lead team for the custom intake fabrication and tubing to make this work so well.
Now, we’re here in Santa Barbara, and have joined the masses….we take over most of the hotels in the whole area, and fill all the hotel parking lots with our cars. You name it, it is here…new E90 M3, E92 M3, RD Sport bored and stroked E92 M3’s, E60 M5, E62 M6’s, hundreds and hundreds of normal M3 of all vintages, 135is, 335i’s, Alpina E30, track cars, show cars, E39 M5s, MINI’s…you get the idea.
Stay tuned…we’ll have more updates from the event as it unfolds, and pics and video clips of everything that is going on….BimmerFest…..yeah baby.