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Do I Fit In Here?

Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by olyeller, Mar 3, 2012.

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    olyeller

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    I am a second year member but have had little interaction with the CCA. I'm beginning to wonder if I am just not a good fit for this group. Please don't flame me as I'd love to find a way to make it work. I am 58 years old and disabled due to heart failure. I drive a lowered, 2002 325CI with a body kit and TSW 18" wheels (see sig) with less than 70K miles on it. I now understand why BMW calls their cars "The Ultimate Driving Machine". I love my Bimmer.

    I am a car guy who has restored many cars in my lifetime. Those days are behind me now. I have been a member of several Car Clubs in the past mostly Buick related. I have been in charge of our local chapter's very succesful annual car show and even had a couple years stint as chapter director. I have participated in National car shows as well.

    I bought my Bimmer to have a nice daily driver that sees little use and a lot of pampering. I have attended 2 local events here in Washington and found the crowd to be exclusively made up of 20 something kids who are very friendly but other than BMWs we have nothing in common. And they don't spend much time talking about their cars. I read my Roundel cover to cover every month and see many of the contributors have as much gray hair as I do so where are you hiding? Am I driving the wrong car? If I have to step up to new 6 series to be around people my age, it isn't in the cards. Help me out here as I am searching for answers.
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Hello and welcome!

    I can understand where you are coming from. This forum does not seem as active as some of the more youth oriented BMW forums out there in Intenet land. I am a 50-something dude like you and like a bunch of the folks I have met at club chapter events here in the Philadelphia area. People like us are out there. I think folks in our demographic group are not as active on web sites and on forums as younger folks, which makes it seem like there are fewer of us. I have been watching the traffic on this forum pretty actively for the last month or so and it is not super busy here. I am trying to participate more myself to see if things get more active.

    There was a changeover in the BMW CCA forum about 9 months ago from an older platform. Prior to that change, this group seemed much more active. When they first made the change, the new platform was terrible and many of the previously active participants got frustrated. Within a month or two, they had fixe the forum platform (to this one we are on now which seems to work fine) Maybe a bunch of them left this forum and have not come back because the chaneover broke all the links to prior threds and conversations.

    I am hoping to be contracdicted, but this forum is in a rebuilding phase now. So take heart: if people like you and me can say a few outlandish things and pull in some others to contradict us :) , we'll get this group more active!.

    Meanwhile: Nice car! I am partial to the e46 Touring myself. Hope you hang in there and give this a go!
    • Member

    olyeller

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    Interesting observations, thanks. Too bad we are so far apart geographically. I wasn't speaking so much about the Forum as I was speaking about the CCA in general. Although, now that you mention it, the traffic here is kinda sparse.

    About 15 years ago I restored a couple of VWs and went to a local chapter event. People were very friendly and I had several great conversations about VWs even though the crowd was definately younger. I told my wife that in order to fit in she would have to get some tattoos and body piercings. She wasn't so inclined. I went to a few events but eventually drifted away.

    My Buick club had the opposite problem. Their members were all getting older and not very many young people were interested in Buicks. I was one of the young ones in that group. The local chapter met once a month at a restaurant for a chapter meeting and social get-together. I really enjoyed those meetings. We would have guest speakers come in or hold a "trunk auction", or have a show and shine, or plan our annual car show. More active members also participated in the monthly Board meeting usually held at a board member's home. That also gave members a chance to show off their Garages and collections. We also had an ROF (Retired Old F*rts) Tour Group who toured backroads during the weekday when everyone else was at work. I see little to none of this from the CCA. Maybe I am just missing it but it seems the local chapter gets together only every few months. The do put out a terrific newsletter. I know how hard that is as I edited our chapter newsletter for 5 years and it was amateurish compared to their's. The Roundel puts the BCA's monthly magazine to shame. I do find it interesting how many of the letters to Satch seem to find reasons to dislike BMW rather than share the love.

    I have been on a couple of the more popular websites for BMWs and I am very disaapointed with the tone and childishness of many of the posters. Evidently there is no need for new posts as every question has been answered and all you have to do is SEARCH!. Some are very helpful but the vast majority are hateful or at the least uncivil and just looking for a reason to jump down someone's throat. Not a very welcoming environment. I am hopeful that the CCA is different. As I said earlier I am encouraged to see people who appear to be 40+ writing for the Roundel. In fairness the 2 events I went to were NOT CCA events. I always seem to be busy on the days CCA events are scheduled that I 'd like to attend. I gotta manage that better.

    I love my E46 and I'd love to meet up with like minded people which is why I joined the CCA. I am seriously thinking of selling the car and getting something that has a more supportive club.
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    • Staff

    steven s

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    Every forum develops its own flavor.
    I don't think you will find 2 BMW-centric forums that are the same.
    Looking at our forum, posts are down from what they where a year ago but many of those posts where articles so they are no longer reflected in the stats below.
    I really don't know the quality of the content was back then either.
    I mean, how much can you listen to people whine about the lack of dipsticks and runflats?
    I'm sure it was the same when the 2002 when to square tail lights. BMW has never been the same.

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    We are picking up new people everyday. Not everyone posts. People visit forums for different reasons, just as people enjoy their BMWs for different reasons. And people join the club for different reason.
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    eblue540 Fourth Gen Bimmers

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    Wow, Steve! The graph is pretty telling. I had suspected that things slowed down while the forum was in its "dark period", and I guess recovery will take time.

    I wonder what that graph would look like with just Satch's posts superimposed! I've never met Satch (been reading him since the day when Autoweek was a tabloid). I think it is cool that he chimes in here regularly - Serous car pasion there!

    "Olyeller": I had very similar experiences with my B3 Passat wagon back in the 90's. I went to a few local Vee Dub gatherings, but I was too old for the crowd - very similar to what you describe. I loved my 5-speed VR6 wagon and was just looking for people who appreciated how cool that off-the-radar car was - maybe they'd be cool too. Thing is, I never saw many others with that car, mostly Golf's, GTI, and all kinds of air cooled.

    I tend to be attracted to the fringe cars of the marque, and IU have met some nice folks who share the interest. There is a large BMW Gathering planned north of Baltimore (Bimmerfest East) for some time this summer. While most cars there will be pretty heavily modified, maybe there will be a few of us from the Northeast corridor who just share the appreciation for these cars and the people who are passionate enough about them to want to hang out with others who feel that way.

    Hang in there man!
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    MGarrison

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    Are you in Washington State or Washington, D.C.? To answer your question - Do you fit in? Yah, I'd say, of course you do! 70-some thousand members across the whole country in the largest single-marque car club... you can be pretty sure the membership runs the gamut along any metric you care to specify; age, interest, car models owned/liked/whatever, etc. You could start your own special interest group for 58-yr. old health-disabled non-M, E46 enthusiasts if you were so inclined and I don't know that you'd get 1000, 100, or 10 members, and it might take some time, but I'd seriously doubt you'd find yourself the only one, given enough time.

    If you really love your car, don't prematurely throw the baby out with the bathwater by tying a keep-or-sell decision to anything related to the club... particularly if you haven't fully explored the social scene with your local chapter. Sure, every chapter is different, and some are relatively small and may not have enough members locally to create much of a social scene; that doesn't mean you have to throw your hands up and walk away - it's a volunteer club - get involved, get to know your other club members, possibly help organize some kind of event you might like, etc. If you have some other enthusiasts in the area, you might be surprised with the friendships you can make. Just like so many things, this club can be what you make of it, just as you've undoubtedly found with your other car club experiences. If you find after getting to know your local BMWCCA members that the active corps are all, for whatever reason, 20-somethings that you can't find any way to relate to even with a common marque enthusiasm, then perhaps reconsider participating locally. Even with that, the club is a tremendous collective resource for anyone driving and maintaining a BMW, what with the advertising vendors, parts discounts for members, model-specific maintenance info (including Mike Miller & other tech reps), and so on. When a big maintenance project comes up, the annual member dues can pretty easily be covered just in parts discounts if you end up needing just a few expensive parts. I could go on... (hey, I've only been a member for almost 27 years now... :)). If you can't find some gray hair in the rest of the gang locally, come to Oktoberfest - you'll find a few folks that have been going to that event for nearly 40+ years!

    Does your local chapter have monthly meetings, as so many do? Is your chapter's website up-to-date with upcoming chapter events? You may find that the scene with your local chapter has a broader spectrum of age ranges (highly likely, I'd suspect) than what you experienced at the non-club events you attended . Not sure what to tell you if that's not the case and your chapter's active members are way out of your age range - you can always stick yer nose in and stir up the pot, however!

    The forums here are also a mix, but just by speakin' up, ya pretty much fit in (after all, they even let Satch in here! Although, I guess there is that whole major-national-club-magazine-editor-in-chief-club-grand-poobah-acclaimed-auto-journalist-career thing goin' on there.... ;) (<--- that wink's for you, Satch! :D)) In any case, I hope that your club experience can be further enhanced by a little more interaction with club members, here and locally! Oh - and... no, you're not driving the wrong car - nobody here is driving the wrong car... even... 5er GT drivers! :D
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    olyeller

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    I live on the wet side of Washington State. You make some good points. You get out of a club exactly what you put into it. Your suggestion is good to check out their website as I didn't think of that. I'll start there. I'm not looking for a club of people exactly like me, rather I'd like some comraderie based upon some common interests, foremost being BMW. The 2 times I went to BMW events I was the oldest one there by 30 years. They were very into social contact but cars never came up. I couldn't find anything in common to form a connection. I will make a better effort to be a part if I see some common interests in the local chapter. Thanks for your thoughtful reply!

    Greg
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    A car club is what you make it. You'll fit in if you want to fit in. As others have said, no two forums are the same and no two car clubs are the same. I bought my M3 last year to complement my 911 - I'm also a PCA member and I find that the demographics of the two clubs are different, but in reality, there are several segments within each club.

    At a high level I see the PCA to be biased towards the older demographic - very few owners less than 35, but most in the 50+ range. My experience of the BMW crowd so far has been that it is biased on the younger side - many members younger than 35. If you dig a little deeper you see sub-groups. In the PCA there's the track guys and the guys who like to socialize and have no interest in the track. For the BMW group I see the tuners and the socializers. Notice there is an overlap of the same group that has a love of cars and like to spend time with others that share the same interest. There are forums for each sub-group, you just have to the place where you feel comfortable.

    The PCA motto is "It's not just the cars, it's the people". I disagree - it's only about the cars. It's only about the shared passion. I've found car enthusiasts generally to be a welcoming bunch, because we all care about our cars and their shared enjoyment. We meet, we admire, we chat, we drive, we go home and have a life. The reality is that your "fit" will depend on your expectations. If you go to any meet you will find kindred spirits that like to admire our cars and their enjoyment - enjoy the cars and the moment, then move on. If you're looking for lifelong friendship, then I would suggest match.com might be a better fit. I come to my car clubs without the expectation that I will find a life long friend, or meet people like me, but I will find people that are passionate about are cars and that I can enjoy a conversation, or drive with - Anything beyond that is a bonus.
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    steven s

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    Well said.
    We all enjoy are cars differently but are all enthusiasts.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    I re
    Yup!

    I really love the diversity of people and cars that I meet at the various car events. It's clear that we share a bond of our love for cars, despite the differences in backgrounds and the way we show our passion. Whether you're a Subaru or Lamborghini owner, you do what you do because you love speed and handling.
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    steven s

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    Years ago I went to an event called Hyper-Fest at Summit Point.
    I wanted to see what it was all about. Plenty BMW people looked down on it.
    I enjoyed myself. And what I enjoyed the most was a 18 year old explaining to me who was more than twice his age how drifting was scored. It was all about people having fun with their cars.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    I had a similar thing after I bought my 996. Me and a buddy went to the drag strip in Englishtown NJ - two porsches lined up with every kind of souped up car imaginable. I still remember the young guy behind us telling us how for a fraction of the money we spent his highly modded Mitsubishi would kick our asses on the quarter mile. Truth is, it did. His car was built for it. He had invested time, money and effort into a highly tuned straight line racer. We were a couple of Porsche newbies that both stalled on the line when the light went green. :)
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    steven s

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    Hate to highjack the thread but the drag race story reminded me of this.

    wellardmac likes this.
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    Ouch! Now that's a painful lesson. So much for launch control. :(

    That's the point that most of the boy racers don't get when they want to race you on the street - it's a pointless endeavor for all involved. I've been baited by everything from Neons to F-150s. I just smile and let them go.
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    steven s

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    Same here and it always seems to be when I'm heading home from the track.
    My car is pretty low with lots of decals and a fart can for an exhaust. :)
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    I ca
    I can only imagine the confusion on their faces when you don't take the bait. The great thing about our cars is knowing that we don't have to race and we can kick butt when we want to.
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    olyeller

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    I used to get baited all the time in my '65 Skylark. I never took the bait. It usually was some kid in souped up Honda with 4 or 5 different colors or primer and some body kit poorly applied. I always felt that there was a reason why my car looks so nice and you have unmatching fenders, I don't street race. My gray hair has come with some lessons!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    To get back to the original point, Greg. . . I think you would agree that you DO seem to fit in with the folks on this list. . . but of course we do not have any age restrictions, so a few of them may be whippersnappers among the geezers. The BMW CCA National Board tears their hair out---those who have any left---trying to figure out how we can attract a younger demographic, since our median age is very close to 50 (or, as I call it, Young Adulthood).

    The one event I try to make in Washington State is the E30 Picnic. No age requirement there, either, but I think E30 owners tend to skew to the lower end of the age scale. And although we had some pretty passionate discussions about the cars, sure enough, eventually the lads had to compare iPhones.

    Last Sunday I attended an autocross in San Diego, where I was happy to see folks older than I (well, one or two) along with quite a few new faces. I know at Oktoberfest I will be among more people my age, but I measure these relationships more by the shared passions. In fact, now that I think about it, almost all of my friends are people I met through the BMW CCA. Including Party A.
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    steven s

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    That might have been the figure used +5 years ago. :)
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    wellardmac Ninja World Traveler

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    Certainly not the experience I've had with BMW owners in the Tarheel region - the demographic I've seen at the coffee events was in the 30-40 range and a significant number of younger (older car) owners.

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