Club News

What is love? We’ll grab the first (and most generally consumable) definition found on a quick search: “an intense feeling of deep affection.” How many of us have said it—“I love that car!” or “I love those wheels!”? It’s this emotion from which a burgeoning automotive event no longer hidden in Minnesota derives its name—AutoLieben, literally translated to Auto Love. And there’s a lot of late July on the snowless hills of a ski resort in Afton, Minnesota, just miles from Wisconsin’s western edge and the St. Croix river.

More than 800 people came out to the AutoLieben Motorsports Festival this July 30. They had plenty to appreciate spread out on the grass below chair lifts and towering trees. More than 120 vintage and modern German cars, including VWs, Porsches, Mercedes, Audis and of course, BMWs, all dotted the landscape in Afton for the third year now. Overall, these three years have seen cars like an E36 M3 LTW, BMW 319, Singer Porsche 911, and a Z1 on the slopes at Afton.

This year again, beyond unique single-owner Mercedes Pagodas and a fantastic mix of colorful restored VWs, this event was also highlighted by its ease of access—both geographically and cost-wise. Just 30 miles east of St. Paul and free to spectators and just $10 to show a car, the event continues to pique interest for automotive enthusiasts as far as Chicago and across Wisconsin, Minnesota and beyond.

Another highlight for BMW CCA members was that this was run—and founded by—one of our own members, Jackson Richter. “Sometime around spring of 2015, I was watching all the coverage for a wide range of events such as Amelia Island, Bimmerfest, and a few other nationally recognized events,” Jackson recalled. “I was in my college apartment and I thought to myself how cool and interesting it could be if we started a unique German show up here in the Midwest. I’ve never seen anything like that in our community before, and it was kind of like a switch that went off, full of motivation for me to start something for our Midwest community. I took it upon myself to reach out directly to awesome people like [BMW CCA Executive Director] Frank Patek, and the other clubs for some guidance, and the more I learned about how to run a show, the more that my vision would become a reality!”

It has definitely become a reality. “It’s good to see the German marques together with their comparative strengths and beauty,” commented BMW CCA North Central RVP, Tim Beechuck. “It’s a beautiful location at the foot of the ski slopes of Afton Alps and the quality of cars was good. Strong support from our Northstar Chapter with their tent and member cars helped, too. Jackson did a great job in putting this show together and improving it each year.”

Tim then joked, “If only they could have the snow machines working, it would have been perfect.”

The AutoLieben Motorsports Festival is off and running, destined to capitalize on its early success. Maybe it’s the love of the cars, love of the crowds, love of the atmosphere or love of the charity contributions, but Jackson certainly loves the path on which he sees AutoLieben. “My top highlight for the event would be setting up in the morning!” he claimed. “Something about the anticipation of the unique cars about to descend on the grounds that’s a really satisfying feeling and full of anxiety at the same time! A close second would be all the wonderful charity contributions! I would especially like to thank the BMW CCA and Michelin for the support for the event and for our charity, River Valley Riders. The Riders loved being out at the show and they even put on a horse display demonstrating what they do for children and adults through their programs.”

There was a lot of lieben in the air in Afton this year. Great work, Jackson, the chapter and all the supports.—Kyle van Hoften