Bimmerfest: the annual mecca for BMW fanatics of all types. A place where owners unveil their unique creations and relish over the countless late nights spent in the garage. To say Bimmerfest 2016 was a success would be an understatement. Not only was the entire infield of Auto Club Speedway (a Nascar-sized track) packed to the brim, but the exterior parking lot was filled too, making this event the biggest BMW-centered event of the year.
With the huge number of enthusiasts comes a considerable diversity of personalized BMW's - ranging from 50 year-old classics to day-old cars driven straight from the dealership.
With the release of the F80 M3 and F82 M4 going on 3 years, the chassis have become a staple in the BMW community, with Bimmerfest 2016 being a testament to their popularity. Not only were the parking lots filled with countless F80/F82 BMWs, but they proved to be the most popular car for aftermarket companies to showcase their products as well.
With much of the show being dominated by the newer chassis, it was easy to pass by many, but BBS set the stage with a pair of show stopping M4s. The first was an M4 GTS, showcasing BBS' FIR wheels, a Porsche Ultra Violet exterior and RPK carbon bodywork done by IND Distribution. BBS’ second creation payed homage to the lime rock edition M3, with Fire Orange paint, BBS FIR's, KW coil overs, rear diffuser, and a subtle carbon front splitter.
The sea of F80/F82s left me looking for more familiar, older chassis, and my search did not leave me disappointed. The infield held some impeccable E30 M3s, as well as a clean example of Pandem's new E30 body kit. The Pandem fender flares throw a nod to the original M3's boxy shape, but up the ante, with a more aggressive aftermarket and modern look.
Stanceworks’ Rusty Slammington was another crowd favorite - consistently drawing a crowd of onlookers admiring the seemingly endless modifications done to a once-average E28.
My search also took me to the parking lot, where I found a beautiful Reseda green E21, as well as a clean Alpina e28; their owners standing by ready to spark up conversation about their builds.
BMW and Toyo Tires represented the biggest booths at the event, displaying some remarkable cars. Toyo had some particularly unique builds, including a bagged BMW Bavaria and bagged E91 wagon, which sported Liberty Walk fender flares and a manual gearbox conversion. BMW, on the other hand, focused on their racing roots.
One of the greatest parts of Bimmerfest is that both days double as track days. Attendees can take their cars onto Auto Club Speedway, but if you don’t feel up to the task, you can ride in a M3 or M4 with a professional driver behind the wheel. The M3s and M4s, while cool, couldn’t hold a candle to the racecars brought by BMW - a Z4 GT3 car, and the very McLaren-F1 GTR that dominated the 1997 FIA GT series.
Bimmerfest 2016 was a sea of bright colors, loud noises, smiling faces, and an almost endless list of unique BMW's of all eras. With an event of such epic proportions we can only wait to see how BMW and their fans outdo themselves in 2017.