Another year, another venue. Like many successful shows, Bimmerfest has outgrown a series of locations. Sadly, the idyllic Santa Barbara Polo Grounds used in '09 wasn't viable this year, so the event moved to the parking lot of the historic Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.
The new location would bring North America's largest modified BMW expo closer to metropolitan Los Angeles. However, it would also make things more difficult for visitors from Northern California who traditionally had a strong presence.
According to Jon Shafer, Bimmerfest's founder, the 2010 event attracted almost 2700 cars. This makes it the biggest turnout in the show's 11-year history - not bad considering it almost didn't happen this year...
The area around the stadium is dedicated to parking and recreation in equal measure. So while Saturday morning soccer matches were taking place on the surrounding fields, thousands of snarling BMWs assembled adjacent to them.
The parking area was divided by a small river and connected by several bridges. The organizers chose to place vendors and parking on both river banks. This seemed to help with the flow of visitors, who were able to stroll on either side to see the vendor displays and show cars.
As always, there's a charity raffle, with vendors generously donating many items. About $2500 was raised, and this will be donated to the Kids and Bikes Foundation (kidsnbikes.org). It's a charity that aims to provide bicycles to underprivileged kids in order to bring a little joy into their lives.
Once again, the headline sponsor was HorsepowerFreaks, which had a giant booth packed with an assortment of tantalizing E46 turbos. What's more, it's own widebody M3 had received a new orange paint job and looked incredible.
The Battle of Bimmers was sponsored by Active Autowerke. The show was divided into stock, classic and modified classes. We may have had a hand in judging the modified class, but we're not saying...
Winner of the tuning category was an E92 M3 built by IND Distribution. It boasted a color change, Ericsson bumpers, kevlar trunk and one of the nicest carbon rear-seat deletes we've ever seen. Under the hood was an ESS supercharger, while the interior boasted a color-matched cage and rare BMW Performance seats.
In second place was Nik Saran's E92 M3. As you may know, he runs VF-Engineering, so it sported his supercharger conversion. However, it also wore Vorsteiner's GTRS3 widebody package and a new airforce-inspired matte green paint job.
In third place was Mert Contapay's E39 M5 from the eurotuner booth and featured in this issue - because the new cars couldn't win everything!
However, this was the year the E9X M3s took over. They were everywhere, and put everything else in the shade. Jon Shafer reminded us that the very first Bimmerfest had one supercharged E36 M3. This year, VF had six supercharged E46 M3s in its booth and countless E9X, Gintani had about eight blown E9X and HPF had six M3 turbos, as best we could count.
It was also the year of the blown E9X M3 on BBS wheels - they were everywhere! The LM and LM-R wheels were jaw-dropping. We've got hundreds of photos for our "personal use".
As always, BMW fans drove from far and wide, including Jeffery Hickman from Anchorage, AK who won a prize for his feat. But there were Bimmerphiles from as far as MO, FL, MI, MA, OR, WA, NV and Canada, making it a national celebration.
For details and updates on Bimmerfest 2011, visit bimmerfest.com
The Battle of Bimmers winners
Best Modified BMW
1. 2010 E92 M3 - Nelson/IND
2. 2008 E92 M3 - Nik Saran
3. 2000 E39 M5 - Mert Contapay
Best Stock BMW
1. 1979 E21 Alpina B6 - Brain Jay Calvero
2. 1990 325is - Matthew Wood
3. 1994 E31 850ci - Gary Corcoran
Best Classic BMW
1. 1990 E30 M3 - Mike Fernandez
2. 1972 3.0 CSi - Kevin Kolozskari
3. 1984 533i - Ron Perry
Best of Show
1976 S14-powered 2002 "M2" - John Rosenfeld