Twenty years ago, BMW brought over the U.S. version of the E36 M3. It was wildly successful; even though it lacked the more powerful Euro M engine, its 240 horses were more than enough power to inspire a generation of driving enthusiasts.
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.
Calm, serene: Crisp air hovers above the frosted grass in the passing yards as a single car traverses the local main road en route to work on the typical Monday commute. Sound dribbles from the speakers; the driver tunes in a favorite station. Gloved hands struggle to hit the tiny steering-wheel button; then the driver instinctively reaches over for Preset Number One.
I hate surprises. Anytime someone says, “I can’t tell you, it’s a surprise,” I want to force the surprise out of them with a sucker punch, knocking them down and stepping on their neck until the secret comes out. Maybe that makes me sound like a jerk, but let’s be honest: How many people really like surprises?
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.