Article by Dmitriy Orlov. Photography by Steven Nguyen and Robert Schiller.
Bayerische Motoren Werke, most commonly known as BMW, is one of the most recognized and respected automotive brands in the world. With almost one hundred years in the automotive industry, the company has spent the last fifty years defying the status quo in design, engineering, and motorsport. Anything bearing the BMW roundel undoubtedly carries history, class, and the pedigree of a purebred performance machine—the ultimate driving machine. It is precisely that which unites owners and enthusiasts of these cars, forming one of the largest followings and clubs in the world.
Bimmerfest has been one of the largest BMW owner and enthusiast gatherings for the last fourteen years. Originally held only on the West Coast, the event has been organized very successfully on the East Coast for the past two years—even matching, if not surpassing, the West Coast. It gets bigger every year, and this time around was no exception.
With almost 1,600 registered vehicles and more than 3,100 attendees, Bimmerfest East 2013 made for one impressive collection of BMWs. From immaculate classics and the latest models to state-of-the-art Grand Am racecars and heavily modified street cars, there was something for everybody. Hosted at the Cal Ripken Baseball Stadium in Aberdeen, MD, the main parking lot was completely filled up, a very impressive sight, with a very large number of cars of a single make. If you are in the market for a different BMW or wanting to get one, try to attend one of these events. Seeing the vehicles in person and talking to the owners about the small nuances and details of ownership and maintenance is a priceless and particularly inspirational experience.
Events like Bimmerfest allow you to see, in one place, the progression of design and engineering in BMWs. Walking among the cars, one can find the evolution of many models—from the iconic 1960’s E21 "2002” models to the 2014 F30 3-series. Somehow, the old cars look as good as the newer models. What’s even more interesting is that BMW managed to keep the platform an industry leader with every model year in between. Looking at the current 2014 models across the product line, it seems that BMW is not looking to back off in driving innovation and standards, and we look forward to the future.
Some of the biggest names in the BMW aftermarket sponsored the event, showing off the latest upgrades and supplies and bringing out some of their top-notch toys for the community to enjoy. These companies help keep these cars on the road and push their limits, taking advantage of BMW’s original "overengineered” components and creating even more aggressive "ultimate driving machines.” Many of these upgrades could be found on cars in the lot—any imaginable combination of powertrain and chassis parts, wheels, brakes, custom colors, and more. The BMW modification market is massive, so there are plenty of options.
Turner motorsports is no stranger to BMWs, and the name is widely recognized by almost every BMW enthusiast. They are the go-to guys for any generation, any model, and any purpose build.
At Turner, we take pride in being on the cutting edge of performance and technology for all BMW models, especially the latest. We have been bringing expertise and technology from the racetrack to the street for over two decades, and we will continue to do so as BMW rolls out new models. Our Sales Team, R&D Engineers, and Race Team are all very motivated and focused on keeping up with the latest evolution of BMW and providing the highest-quality performance upgrades and parts in the market.
We are very excited and eager to be on the forefront of performance parts for new BMW models; currently, our R&D engineers are working on new performance parts for both the F30 and F10 chassis. We feel that the latest 3 and 5 series are great platforms and look forward to seeing and working with more of the new BMW models. As a leader in BMW Parts and Performance, we must always make sure we are right behind BMW as they release new models. We are all BMW enthusiasts here, and we all love what we do, so it’s a natural fit. —Jay Baier, Director of Marketing, Turner Motorsport
With the new models and more technology, many BMW purists believe that the agenda has changed course: away from a "driver’s car” to more of a consumer-friendly product. BMW has steered away from producing M-specific engines, for example, and many feel the M models, which are supposed to be the crème de la crème, are tamer these days.
Bimmerworld is right there alongside Turner and another leader in BMW performance and aftermarket support. With a strong racing background and a great team, they support the race and enthusiast community with their in-depth knowledge, expertise, and products. James Clay, president of Bimmerwold, is excited with what BMW has been working on and is looking forward to what they will bring next. Indeed, the platforms are changing, but this change and integration of new technology to reach new levels of driving and performance is the future.
Without question, the direction of BMW is changing and to a good degree as a factor of their interpretation of the direction that the entire car market is changing. We are an aftermarket performance company, first and foremost—we sell OE parts and maintenance items, but our identity is our performance work. We work hand in hand with BMW and their models to produce the parts that they can't—not because of their lack of resources or technology, but we fit small niche market segments they simply can’t or can’t justify pursuing. Our development and resulting product lines take the average BMW sports luxury car and make it something unique and special.
Certainly the car culture is changing, but change is just a part of every facet of life. BMW directs their future to meet the changing needs and demands of the majority of their customers, and without question some of the new technology is exciting in both BMW’s intended application as well as potential to fuel our demands for performance vehicle development. If you are in the camp that feels that the new cars are becoming too vanilla without as much of the raw performance of years past, maybe now more than ever is our time to shine, as we take these new cars and turn them into what we feel they should be for the true enthusiast. —James Clay, President, Bimmerworld
Overwhelmed with the scale of the event, talking with owners and vendors, and wandering in the heat, we are left with a sense of belonging, excitement, and a strong inspiration to own and collect these wonderful pieces of engineering and history. The individuals in the community set their differences aside and enjoy the common bond that is BMW. Everyone has his own style, and various groups may stick to certain trends, yet everyone can appreciate each other’s passion, and Bimmerfest will continue to grow as new generations of BMW owners join in.
BMW is changing with the times and is working hard to stay ahead of the curve, and it will be events like Bimmerfest where we come to respect the past, enjoy and share the present, and take a sneak peek at what the future has in store through leaders in aftermarket performance, styling, and lifestyle. Most importantly, we come to stay in touch with fellow BMW friends and to make new ones along the way.