Back in the year 2000, when the first Bimmerfest took place at Cutter BMW in Santa Barbara, CA, the organizers couldn't have envisioned moving the event to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena to meet the capacity and demand. But that was the case in 2010, when the show found it's new home. And, of course, it's continued to grow, now adding an event for East Coast enthusiasts, called Bimmerfest East in Maryland in July.
This year's Bimmerfest was held on May 18 and drew more people, more vendors and more show cars than ever. And thanks to the rows of classic cars, it's as much a history lesson as a showcase for what's new.
Look one way and you'll see an iconic 3.0 CSL, turn your head the other way and there's a new F10 M5 sitting on the latest forged wheels.
ESS Tuning was this year's title sponsor and its supercharger kits were seemingly everywhere, although competitors like VF-Engineering and a new twin-screw blower from Harrop could also be found. Sadly missing was Active Autowerke: the Miami-based tuners skipped the West Coast event to attend the closer Maryland show instead.
Wheel companies were predictably in full force, with names like BBS, Forgestar, HRE, Morr, Stance, VIP Modular, Vossen, VMR and Work wheels to name a few. If you wanted brakes, there was Brembo and StopTech. Suspension was represented by Eibach, H&R and KW. Or if you wanted to talk to a tuning shop, you could choose from Cobb, Dinan, european auto source, Evolution Racewerks, Gintani, IND Distribution, LTMW, Platte Forme, Sonic Motorsport, Turner Motorsport and several more. There were also a few new styling options, with Vorsteiner showing new parts for the F30, M5 and M6, while Status Gruppe had added to its E46 M3 CSL catalog.
Basically, if you have a BMW and are looking for parts, Bimmerfest is the place where you can talk to everybody. But if your car is already built, it's the place to come and show it off.
With so many vehicles on display, many companies and car owners had selected bright paint jobs to stand out, when a set of giant wheels and lowered ride height was deemed no longer enough.
While Vorsteiner, LTMW, Evolution Racewerks, Sonic Motorsport, Platte Forme and a few other forward-thinking progressives (including european car's own booth with our Project 335i) were among the few to display the latest F30 3 Series, most companies fell back on the venerable E9X M3 for their booth displays. That will probably be the same next year before the next generation M3 hits the aftermarket and everybody scrambles to offer the first parts.
Bimmerfest Show Winners
Best of Show
John Michael Fernandez
'90 E30 M3 Dinan turbo
First: Tom Patton
Second: Shannon Falcone
'07 M5 Touring
Third: Rick Gelhart
Classic category ('88 or older)
First: Anders Christens, '71 2002
Second: Max Polishchuk, '76 2002
Third: Ron Perry, '73 3.0 CSL
First: Felix Lyubovny, '11 M3
Second: Joseph Sybio, '07 M5
Third: John Evans, '06 M5
Joseph Liu, '09 Mini Cooper S
Rising Star (owners under 25 years old)
Kyle Delrosario, '90 E30 M3
Best shop/sponsor/vendor car
Platte Forme AG, E46 M3 racecar
Byron Wilcox, Wickford, RI
'00 M5 (397000 Miles)