Last year in Monterey, California, many BMW CCA members had an up-close-and-personal demonstration of the impressive activities undertaken by BMW Classic. From BMW Art Cars to historic BMW race cars to the newly restored Elvis Presley BMW 507, it was obvious that BMW Classic knows how to take care of BMWs of all sorts—and on occasion, they let us see some of the vehicles that helped make BMW what it is today.
BMW Classic is the division of the BMW Group charged with coordinating all worldwide activities relating to the heritage of the BMW company throughout its more than 100-year history. These activities include the historical archives, the BMW Museum and BMW's vast collection of cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia, and the interaction between BMW and BMW clubs around the world—including ours.
Recently, BMW Classic announced the international events it has selected for participation, partnership, or sponsorship.
In 2017, BMW Classic will continue to display the restored BMW 507 driven by Hans Stuck and later owned by Elvis Presley in various venues around the world. BMW CCA members and others fortunate enough to attend the 2016 Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion and the 2016 BMW CCA Oktoberfest in Monterey, California have already had the opportunity to view the beautifully restored roadster with ties to one of Germany's most famous race drivers and the American King of Rock and Roll. This crown jewel will be on display at the BMW Zentrum adjacent to BMW Plant Spartanburg in Greer, South Carolina until spring of this year.
BMW Classic will have a heavy presence in Italy in May, starting with the Mille Miglia rally from May 18 to 21, 2017. The modern version of the event runs from Brescia to Rome and back. Only cars that ran in or were registered for the original Mille Miglia thousand-mile race held between 1927 and 1958 may enter the modern Mille Miglia rally. This includes quite a few BMW 328 and 507 roadsters and even the occasional BMW Isetta. Many of the BMW entrants are provided by BMW Classic.
Shortly after the Mille Miglia concludes, one of the world's top-tier concours d'elegance events will commence at Lake Como, Italy. The 2017 Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este will run from May 26 to 28. The Concorso was first held in 1929—the same year that BMW first started automobile production. BMW Classic is a major partner of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, so you know the BMW and Rolls-Royce brands will be well-represented.
BMW Classic recognizes that the BMW Group family includes Mini Cooper, so the 2017 International Mini Meeting from May 25 to 29 in Ireland is on the schedule. Hosted this year by the Irish Mini Owners Club, the IMM is a three-day event at which both classic and modern Minis are welcome. The IMM involves camping by your Mini, socializing, parades, and competitions.
About a month later, from June 29 to July 2, 2017, BMW Classic will shift its efforts to England with participation in the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This gathering of racing cars doing what they were designed to do—go fast—will include many of the classic BMW motorsports machines from years past, and perhaps even a modern car or two.
Later in the year, from September 8 to 10, BMW Classic will be back in England for the Goodwood Revival. This is similar to the Festival of Speed in that historic cars will race, but it is very different in that it is the only historic racing event that strives to capture the romance and glamour of motor racing in days of yore by requiring that particpants attend in period dress. Consider it a virtual time machine for historic racing. By the way, if you attend, you don't have to dress in period clothing, unless you are lucky enough to have a pit pass.
BMW Classic had such a good time at last year's Motorworld Classics in Berlin, Germany that it will return in 2017 at the event happening from October 5 to 8. Held in the historic halls and summer gardens below Berlin's radio tower, the show will be packed with about 1,000 exhibits, including many high-end and rare vehicles. It's also a shopping experience as it attracts many vendors.
Toward the end of the year, BMW Classic will open a new exhibition at the BMW Museum in Munich. It may not sound like a typical "classic" theme, but it certainly is historic. The exhibition will cover BMW i. As BMW Classic explains, "It will cover an extremely innovative topic: the automobile revolution kick-started at our very own company." Of course, if a BMW i exhibit doesn't get you excited, there are slightly more than 100 years of other BMW history to take in.
Some of the events at which BMW Classic will be representing the company's history are great bucket list items, like the Goodwood gatherings. Some could be serendipitous for BMW enthusiasts who might be traveling in the vicinity when the events kick off. The BMW Museum and the restored BMW Classic headquarters are must-see locations for anyone traveling to Munich, especially European Delivery participants. Many more of us on this side of the pond might find a chance to visit the BMW Zentrum if our travels take us anywhere near South Carolina. If none of those opportunities come your way in 2017, you can always browse the BMW Museum app on your smartphone for pictures and a virtual tour of museum exhibits, vehicles, and photos.—Scott Blazey
[Photos courtesy of BMW AG.]