SoCal Vintage BMW 2017

Photos and writing by Riley Koidahl. Video by Alex Rodriguez.

This year marked the 10th anniversary of SoCal Vintage BMW, one of the biggest and best BMW gatherings in the country, if not the world. Interestingly, it's one of the few events that BMW and the BMW Car Club don't sponsor or organize. It's these enthusiast roots that maintain the laid-back vibes and diversity of cars, from perfect original specimen to rat rods, and everything in between.

Shot on Super 8mm film to best capture the ambiance, Alex's short film highlights just a few of the nearly 400 spectacular cars at the gathering.

If you're planning on attending the show next year, the best advice I can give is to arrive early. Watching the cars file into the field as the sun rises is just magical. The lighting is soft and warm, and the cars aren't dusty yet. Perfect for photos, or just taking it all in.

Rocking an M62 V8, this 1968 BMW 2000tilux was the epitome of a rat rod. The only exterior cues to what laid beneath was the dual-exit exhaust and the noise it made rolling into the show. The Neue Klasse BMWs, such as the 1500, 1600, 1800, 2000, etc are the iconic 2002's weird aunt/uncle. With the same M10 powerplant and similar design genetics, they are a great choice for someone looking for a similar experience but a more unique approach.

While predominantly a car gathering, the BMW motorcycle contingent never disappoints at SoCal Vintage. A personal favorite was this cafe racer built by Oshmo Motorworks, a local motorcycle shop in Van Nuys. The handmade aluminum bodywork and custom fuel injection setup was a unique blend of classic styling and modern technology.

Rows upon rows of 2002s were strewn across the grass in seemingly every model and color.

While they shared the same M10, 4-cylinder power plant, this pair of Bristol-grey BMW 1600s couldn't have been more different. On the left, a 1600GT, with it's Italian bodywork exudes an unusual, low-slung sexiness not typically seen from BMWs of the 1960s. On the other hand, the 1600 (Neue Klasse) to the right demonstrates classic German engineering - it's luxurious and sporty, yet practical - a recipe deeply engrained in BMW's DNA to this date.

This beautiful E30 sported a clean M30 engine swap and a custom Sakhir orange paint job, a color offered on the new M3 and M4. The diversity of builds at SoCal Vintage ranges from mild to wild, and everything in between.

2002 fanatic Mike Le is constantly upping the ante. His 2002 is a work of art, with an M42 swap, custom interior, bodywork, and more. However, that was just the beginning. Next, he built a BMW cafe racer to match, with matching paint and the same custom pin-striping his car sports. The next logical step? To build a matching trailer, of course! And yes, you guessed it, the trailer has matching paint, pin-stripes, and even BBS wheels as the cherry on top. Hats off to you, Mike!