The seed was planted in 1999, in France of all places. My wife, Betty, and I were on a trip of a lifetime, attending the most famous auto endurance race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We had flown with our friends from the Kansas City BMW Club, Kurt and Angie Gibson, into Paris, where we had reserved rental BMWs.
The BMW CCA is a great venue for playing with your car, with instructional programs ranging from Street Survival teen-driver courses to high-performance driving schools. But there are other forms of automotive fun; some chapters put on autocross competitions, while others lay out tours or rally events.
2013 was a stellar year for the BMW Group as BMW and Mini sales hit record levels. Vehicle designs have been attractive and, unlike those of many other manufacturers, have successfully managed to differentiate the various model lines and trim packages.
While most of us do experience the true joy of the season, there is an undeniable amount of reckless energy toward the end of the year. After the gift-giving holidays are past, and we start to realize how much we’ve spent on our loved ones to appease the nature of the holiday spirit, there isn’t much else to do but drink.
I view the wretchedly-over-restored microcar fad with some amusement, having driven a basic BMW Isetta as a reporter in London in the late 1960s. Back then it was a bottom-feeder’s car, and I was a marginal motorist. I needed a car as a reporter, but never had enough money for a decent one. “You’re the last step between the last owner and the wrecking yard,” said my brother. Sometimes I actually bought cars from my local wrecking yard, and was dismayed to find something really wrong with them.