It all started out as the brainchild of a vintage enthusiast who also owned and operated a vineyard.He decided to invite a bunch of ragtag fellow enthusiasts to come down to his vineyard to gather and talk about our cars and drink beer and wine. I forget now how many of us actually showed up, but it was maybe a couple dozen. Almost entirely 2002's with perhaps a couple of 635s and a CS. Scott called it Vintage at the Vineyards, and he and his wife did a fine job of making it feel like the beginnings of something big. There were goodie bags and a few organized activities, and of course some driving. That was a long distance award, and a patina award which went to a vehicle with no two panels were the same color or from the same car. The event grew the next year and soon it outgrew the Vineyard and was moved to a larger one nearby. Then it outgrew that, and eventually moved to take over most of the Old Winston-Salem historic district. It is now one of the premier events in the country for vintage BMWs, and attracts some of the most spectacular cars from the propeller marque. The vineyards part of the name has gone away. This no longer a bunch of ragtag 2002 owners from the mid-Atlantic region, as there are cars from Texas to Canada in attendance.
if you have been a regular reader of this blog, you are well aware that this event has provided some pretty interesting adventures regarding getting to and from the event (see proper procrastination). This one was no exception, but I will save that story for another time. Somehow, a setting of cobblestones and houses dating back to the 18th century only enhance the presentation of these cars that are from the 20th century. Something to do with being beautiful and basic and timeless. Even those with some patina (although there are fewer and fewer of those at the event these days), fit in with the well-worn streets and, after all, an iron cauldron only gets better with age.
Of course the event is also an opportunity to reunite with those who are of the original attendees, and meet new attendees. It was great to see Humberto and Mike. It was great to meet Glen and Dan and others. The cars and the stories are always priceless. I learned more about the Sahara color than anyone should be exposed to in a lifetime, and heard wild stories about how Max Hoffman influenced the cars that ended up in the USA. I also got to meet two of my favorite scribes from the Roundel. Rob Siegel (The Hack Mechanic) was there and we chatted for a while about common pilgrimages to Limerock Motorsports Park and common challenges working on multiple projects simultaneously. Mike Self was there (02 Cents) and we had a long conversation about the velour interior options for the tii and how to convert the 320i steering wheel to a 2002. There is encyclopedic knowledge in the brains of these two individuals.
However, it is also an event about cars, and there were plenty of those. This year there seemed to be a number of ti models with their highly desirable twin carb setups, which made their way down from Canada. There was also a long line of beautiful CS cars. 2002s of every stripe adorned the streets, rendering otherwise outstanding cars ordinary. A few nice 320i cars were present as those previously unloved cars now become cool. The sharks are always out at this event, and the E30 brigade never disappoints. M cars, Alpina cars, Dinan cars, and M conversions pepper the streets with mild to wild variations. And most of the cars drove to the event, including the Canadians. The cars have now spilled over into lots on the side streets, and the swap meet area has choice items. I did not find the kidney grill I need, but I do now have one for a 320i (package deal). I did however find a much needed non rusted-through pedal box.
If you attended the initial events, it is hard to imagine the size and quality of this now multi-day event. That would require a grand vision and a great deal of hard selfless work. Thank goodness that Scott Sturdy had large portions of both.