A visit to the Monterey Historics should be on the ‘list of things to see before you die’ for any fan of vintage cars. It is just around the corner, running from 8/15-8/17, see www.montereyhistoric.com for more details. What the website won’t tell you is just how incredible this experience can be, and that you really need to be there for a full week. There are many events not to miss, especially the concours events that are not really part of the Rolex event, but always coincide with the weekend. This is a bit of a snap-shot from my last visit which was two years ago.
Far left is Rug Cunningham (since deceased) of Cunningham BMW. He was one of the great dealership owners who had an extreme passion for BMW racing and was a staple of the historics as long as BMW was allowed in the gates. Toward the middle is Boris Said, a successful GT Driver and current NASCAR driver for NoFear. I first met Boris at a BMW tech conference in St. Louis and see him at different events here and there. Incredibly edgy driver and a nice guy.
If you are looking for a Classic BMW, but you’re not prepared to spend upwards of $15,000, you just can’t beat the BMW e30 3-series. The ‘e30’ was delivered to the US Market between about 1984-1992, but I’d stick to the 325i versions from 1987-1992. You can get them cheap, they are extremely reasonable to service, and they are a blast to drive. What more can you ask for in an older BMW? The e30 was available in various engine and interior combinations over the years, but the two that stand out are the 325ic and the 325is from about 1987-1992.
The BMW e30 325ic (1987-1992) – BMW goes topless for the Masses
Buying tires for your BMW can be expensive, and with so many brands these days that it can be hard to find what’s best for you and your car. In San Diego we have it easy; all we use are High Performance Summer tires and never really have to worry about wet weather or snow. If you live in an area that is subject to foul weather, my first suggestion is that you pick up another set of wheels and have all-weather tires mounted and keep them in your garage for when the weather gets bad. (more…)
There really is no ‘best’ oil to pour in the engine of your BMW, after all, if there was one that shined completely above the rest you’d be buying it. Engine Oil has always been a great debate for those that are a bit serious about their service. I sometimes feel that debating about oil brands is much like squabbling over which Brewery produces the best Lager. I love beer, and I’ve had some really crap beers (especially in college) and I’ve had some really good beers. Same can be said for Oil. Crappy oil is the stuff that is really cheap, has generic packaging and there is usually almost all of it still on the shelf – the ‘Natrual Light’ of oils. Hopefully none of you are using that stuff, or worse yet, drinking that sort of beer.
I find that the most common oils in the great debate are Mobile-1, Castrol, Royal Purple, and Amsoil. I should say that I am not a fluids expert, I’ve done no crazy amount of testing on any of these oils, nor have I read 15 different case studies that have — this is all based on experience (and opinion). Aside from all the great things that oil does for any engine, modern BMWs need oil to feed both the Vanos unit(s) as well as the hydraulic lifters (if your engine has them). Now for my super scientific test results. (more…)
Working on your own car used to be a big part of Americana, but with the increasing amount of computers, wires, and nifty engine covers, those days are gone. However, there are some things you can do to keep your BMW running and looking good, and they are simple.
One thing that I cannot explain enough to people is that there is no way in hell you’ll feel a significant change in horsepower in your BMW by switching to a different kind of air filter. The most popular of which is K&N filters, which are more of a screen filter with some foam that utilizes a special oil to help it filter. Your local auto parts store will usually have some sort of demonstration with a ping-pong ball that floats higher over one of these filters when compared to its stock counterpart. That’s all fine and dandy, but the last time I checked, there weren’t any ping-pong balls in my engine bay.
I’ve also seen many graphs when one of these filters are installed, and the car is put on a dynometer with the end result being a gain in horsepower and torque. Before getting all giddy, these ‘gains’ are usually about 3-5 horsepower on an engine that produces over 250hp, giving an end result of about a 1-2% gain from that $65 filter you just bought. Remember too that dynometers have a certain margin of error that can produce a different result through many tests. With any modification, I want to feel it in my seat. The only way you’ll feel one of these filters in your seat is if you were to put it underneath your butt. (more…)