Merry Christmas to All

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes from

Christmas Tree at the BMW Zentrum

Christmas tree inside the BMW Zentrum.

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That Time of Year – HomeComing Memories

If you are a long time Z3 or Z4 enthusiast you know what happens about this time of year.  Your thoughts turn to convoys, plant tours and time at the Zentrum in South Carolina.  It is hard to believe that it has been 14 years since that first Z3 HomeComing.  BMW sponsored the event for a handful of years before it found it’s way to the road and started to move around the country under the name of ZFest.  This year Zfest is back in the upstate for their gathering.

BMW Zentrum

Take some time this weekend to refresh your memories at if you have that empty spot in your heart for the upstate of South Carolina and your fellow BMW enthusiasts.

Happy Labor Day!

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BMW Art Cars and The One That Got Away

It is hard to imagine how the idea of getting famous artists to paint an actual race car for racing and show could even get out of the gate, but it did back in the mid 1970′s with the help of a race car driver, Hervé Poulain and artist Alexander Calder.  That first Art Car started a tradition that has lasted for more than 30 years and featured 16 different artists to date including; Warhol, Stella and Lichtenstein.  We have  seen at least eight of the art cars over the years at the Zentrum in South Carolina and at other car shows throughout the Southeast.

To honor the great history of the Art Car program BMW has launched a website entitled, Art Car Tour.  The website’s gallery includes a 30 minute video on the program and individual details on each of the cars and the artists.  The site is very interactive and you could easily spend a couple of hours admiring the cars and the artist’s vision.

But, not all of the BMW Art Cars can be found on the website, there is one car that has a more cloistered life as an unofficial Art Car.

BMW Art Car

This M1, called Polar Coordinates, was created by Frank Stella in honor of his friend and racer, Ronnie Peterson.  Stella’s first BMW Art Car was a 1976 3.0CSL and was officially sponsored by BMW.  This car circumvented the normal channels, but has lived a very different life in private hands.  The first owner was Peter Gregg a racer and a good friend of Frank Stella.  The car has never been raced and was rarely seen by the public. We happen to see the car way back in 1998 at Korman AutoWorks during an Open House event where it was being carefully restored.  Korman usually holds an annual Open House and invites the local BMW community to the shop for a car show, swap meet and general BMW discussion.  Check out photos from the 1998 event by following this link to our Photo Gallery.  Not long after this public appearance of the M1 it was donated to the Guggenheim Museum by its owner.

But that may all change in a couple of weeks…
BMW Art Car

This very special BMW M1 painted by Frank Stella is up for auction.  The car will be featured at the Bonham’s Auction being held at the Quail Lodge in California later this month.  The expected auction price of $450K to $600K will be used to fund the Guggenheim Museum’s exhibitions and acquisitions.

The lucky owner of this car will be able to boast that they own a rare piece of history on many different fronts.  The question is will BMW try to capture this lone car for it’s private collection.

UPDATE: The car sold at auction on August 18, 2011 for $770,000 and a Buyer Premium of $84,000.

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What’s in your Trunk?

Sports cars aren’t  supposed to be practical but who really cares when they are so much fun to drive. Over the years I have hauled an incredible amount of items in the Z3 and M3.  Below is a short list by car of the unusual stuff:


  • 6 foot palm tree and other misc. landscape material
  • Cat-back exhaust
  • 4 tires (to be mounted)


  • 2′ x 4′ sheets of Styrofoam (insulated 3 car garage door project)
  • Crown molding
  • Folding tables
  • 4 tires (to be mounted)

Why is this worthy of being written about?

Way back in 1998 I took photos of a BMW E30 pick-up truck at the Z3 HomeComing event in Greer, SC.  The story surrounding the E30 truck, as told by the curator of the Zentrum museum, was that a group of German BMW techs built this one of a kind 3 series as a project car.  He was never clear if the project was supported by BMW or not but the fact that it made its way from Germany to the US is enough support for me.  Other  enthusiasts throughout the years have converted BMWs into pick-up trucks but this was built by BMW techs from the ground up.

This car was the Ultimate Hauling Machine for the enthusiast that wanted style and functionality.  It captured a lot of interest on display at the time and based on a review of popular site searches it still does today.  Enjoy the original photos below.

E30 pick up truck

E30 pick up truck

E30 pick up truck

Although BMW builds the X3 and X5 SUV lines it can’t match up to the functionality of a pick-up truck.  At the plant they always said if we built a pick-up truck the employees that used the leasing incentive would be 100%. Practical will almost always win out over stylish–unless you are up to the challenge.

We can all hope that BMW builds a pick-up truck someday.

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