It's been over a year since I started looking for the right car. Although my interests may have swayed to faster routes like turbocharged Subarus and E36 M3s, and through various types of BMWs, it was one car - one shape - always drew me back.
The E24 635CSi came at the right point for the right company. Following the legendarily beautiful E9 and powered by some of the hardiest engines of the 1980s, BMW's first 6-series was a testament to power, grace, and durability. Hampered as it may have been in this country by the 5mph impact bumpers, the 6-series remains a beloved vehicle by enthusiasts.
Although few cars were braving the snow a few months ago, this E46 325xi Touring was at home in its natural environment. For this car, the snow-covered back roads of Vermont are not a danger but a proving ground, and with a very competent chassis and all wheel drive system, this Bimmer made quick work of the ten inches of fresh powder that had fallen the night before. Enjoy this brief video, and keep an eye out for upcoming, more spring-like films as well.
Brand identity is a term thrown around a lot by the modern enthusiast, especially with the advent of cars like the BMW i3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA-class, and before them the BMW 335d. But while these cars caused turmoil in the American market, the European car-buying public was probably unfazed; as I’ve recently witnessed while visiting that continent (specifically, Italy, France, and the principality of Monaco), these German marques are not nearly as isolated to high-end platforms as they are in this country. In that market, it’s the front-wheel-drive, diesel, and (in the case of Mercedes) commercial vehicles made up the majority of German vehicles I saw on the road. For this reason, I suspect that, should our complaints of brand dilution reach European shores, it would result in nothing more than a flurry of rolled eyes.
Nick Parente's 1991 BMW 325ix has been featured (or at least used as a camera car) in a number of Hitting Redline videos, and from the moment he purchased the car in July, I knew the video on it would be something special. The Alpine White E30 had, at that point, been a scattered assortment of scratches, dings, and fading paint. Upon closer inspection, it had been the victim of a minor front-end collision, and needed a top end rebuild and exhaust work before one could consider it driveable. Despite these flaws, Nick began work on the car almost immediately.
The restoration that resulted is an incredible example of devotion to a specific idea that, in the process, created a car worth several films. And, coincidentally, there will be several; keep an eye out for more videos on Nick's E30 throughout the winter, as he and I have some already in the works. For now, though, enjoy the film.
After a long delay, another video is finally up. Last month's Oktoberfast, sponsored by the BMW CCA's Green Mountain Chapter and hosted by the Grafton Inn, was a nice local meet for Vermont and NH BMW owners. Despite the rain, and the fact that BavAuto's famous show was held the following day in New Hampshire, a great range of vehicles turned up. There was an E46 ZHP, several E30s, Mike Miller's pristine 2002, and all the way up to an E92 M3. Several 911s and a Ferrari 355 also passed by over the course of the day, adding some supercar flavor to the Bavarian show.
Enjoy the video, and stay tuned for some of the other projects that are getting closer to a release.
Weather here in Vermont may be cooling off, but Nick Parente's 1991 BMW 325ix, fresh from a mid-level restoration, is just entering a new phase of its life. The car was originally intended to be Nick's winter beater, a car to compliment an eventual summer car, but with its creamy white paint, classic red interior, and rebuilt top end, this E30 is so much more. Check out the gallery from last weekend's photoshoot with the car, and before you click away, remember to check back in a few weeks for a video of the car - I'll be filming a Real Drivers episode of it at some point.
Lime Rock never ceases to amaze. Between the cars, the sounds, the spectator lots, and the access to every element of the races, it was one of the most exhilarating auto enthusiast environments I've experienced. The camping area was full, much like on an ALMS weekend, and the spectator lots were brimming with Healeys, Jaguars, M cars, hot hatches, and anything an enthusiast might use, and more than a few had Lime Rock track outlines. On track, we were graced with the presence of vintage F1 racers, a BMW 3.0 CSL Batmobile, and dozens of Porsches. Speaking of which, the video even features some rare in-car footage, from both racing prepped and stock 911s (a privilege for which I thank Joe Gawlik, Dave Hembree, and Dave Hutchings). Off the track, a 2011 Porsche Speedster, a Ferrari Dino 246, and several Morgan trikes (old and new) wandered the grounds.
It was a fantastic day for me, and I'm sure it will continue to be a fantastic, four-day weekend for those still at the track. Enjoy the video, and be sure to turn up the volume.
The car show season isn't over, but it's certainly winding down. The Cruise Ins at the headquarters of Hemmings Motor News in Bennington, VT were a staple of summer, and the number of vehicles at the final show should be a testament to that. Cars were overflowing; there were so many classic vehicles present that they were parked on the street, on the grass, even the hotel across the street. Among these were a DeLorean DMC-12, dozens of first-gen Camaros, a real Shelby Cobra 289, a Chrysler Airflow, and the assorted hot rods that regularly turn up at these events.
While the series may have come to an end this year, be sure to stop by at a few next year. As for the videos, stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!
Last weekend's hillclimb at Equinox was an event that, inexplicably, I had missed for years. Just a couple minutes from my house, and hosting a strict field of vintage racers (including a Bugatti Type 37, Devon D, and even a Morgan trike last year), a film this year was no question. And thanks to Skyline Drive's many lookout points, I was able to get some shots trackside as well. Enjoy the video, and stay tuned for more in the future.
In Internet years, the Sports and Exotic show may have been a while ago, but it's still not too late to post some pictures from the day. As you may have seen in the video, anything from a Mercedes 300SL to a Ferrari 458 to a Daimler Dart were in attendance. In all, it was a great, if boiling hot, day at the Saratoga Auto Museum. Enjoy the gallery, and click on the pictures to access high-res desktop versions.