BMW has offered up some pretty cool cars over the years. Like most automobile manufactures, their product lineup has become larger and perhaps less stylish in recent years. For many enthusiasts, BMW’s heyday was the mid 1960’s through the mid 1980’s. A twenty year span that inspired fresh thinking that was not influenced by industrial might and legislative paralysis. The cars were light, nimble and full of character. BMW fans of that two decade period gather once a year to celebrate the cars offered prior to 1986 at Southern California’s Woodley Park. The event is organized by SoCal Vintage BMW and draws an incredible collection of cars. The event is billed as the “largest Independent Vintage BMW event in North America and it’s undoubtedly true.
One of the more interesting cars was Jim Huff’s 1966 Neue Klasse (New Class) , 1600. Jim built the car as a tribute rally car that might have been owned by one of the BMW engineers or assembly line workers of the day and campaigned on the weekends. While some the modifications utilize later model components like an E30 rear end installed at Ryan Gangemi Motorworks and a later 2 liter engine built by Manofied in Pasadena California, the car embodies a period correct look that is outstanding and just right. Jim has installed a set of vintage Corbeau complete with period grommets and a period Nardi wheel and belts to complete the look
Jim competes in some of the road rallies in Northern California and this car is set up perfect for those events.
Several vendors were there with the latest in performance and restoration parts. It’s great to see such strong parts support for these cars. Ben from 2002 AD was there with a display of rare parts and a unique hand crafted 2002 pick up truck.
There were several Alpina models on display and the 1982 B7S Turbo (300bhp) owned by Mark Robbins was in top form. This particular model is very rare and perhaps one of only two in the USA. The striking green color pops in the sun and enhances the 6 series body lines.
E9 CSL’s are always a pleasure to see and this pair was perfect. They look great in silver. The 3.0 CSL’s featured many upgrades and refinements that optimized the car for European Touring Car racing in the early 1970’s.
The largest group on display was the 2002 category. 02’s have always been popular with enthusiasts. The range of modified cars was impressive but there seems to be a strong movement towards restored to “as delivered” condition.
This was the 5th year for the SoCal Vintage BMW Meet and judging by the turnout, the interest in early BMWs is on the rise. Cars like Jim Huff’s 1600 inspire people to not only resurrect and restore their cars but use them as they were meant to be…in anger.
Click on the image below for a full gallery of the SoCal Vintage BMW event.