As any North American BMW enthusiast knows, Bimmerfest used to be known as the largest, most popular event of its kind in the country. However, it can now only claim to be the best on the West Coast ever since the organizers established an official East Coast event.
Taking place in Aberdeen, MD in early August, it was intended to serve the large BMW community on the right-hand coastline, attracting people from the top to bottom of the country, from Maine down to Florida. And with 3911 people pre-registering 1899 cars, Bimmerfest East was in danger of dwarfing the original California event in its first year!
As it turns out, East Coast owners descending on Ripken Stadium in their thousands, greeted by up to 25 vendors offering everything from wheels to badges and all stops in between.
Inevitably, in its first year, there were several BMW tuners who wanted to gauge the success of the first show before committing to 2012, but we can assume they’re already booking spots so as not to miss out next time.
In previous years, a group of enthusiasts had created their own Bimmerfest East, using the name with permission of the owners. However, that gradually faded away, replaced by this official event for 2011.
Perhaps the only problem during the day was the single food outlet, insufficiently manned by four people serving thousands of hungry attendees. Unfortunately, this aspect was out of the control of show organizer Jon Shafer and his crew, who wished to apologize for the long wait.
There were also a band of peaceful protestors on the approach road, holding banners and handing out leaflets criticizing BMW for its recalls and for alleged employee disputes.
All that aside, the vendor area was crowded with gleaming machines and desirable parts to make you drool. The bigger vendors included sponsors like Active Autowerke, Bimmerworld, Turner Motorsport and VAC Motorsports, as well as wheel companies ISS Forged and MORR.
Active was showing a 625hp supercharged E92 M3. Painted in Lamborghini’s Verde Ithaca green, its the sister car to its matte grey E92 M3 displayed at Bimmerfest West by Active. In fact, both cars were painted by Joe Lapadula at Martino Auto Concepts in Glen Cove, NY, with Joe owning this green E92. The full feature on the gray car can be found in this issue (activeautowerke.com).
Meanwhile, Turner Motorsport had arrived in a caravan from its MA headquarters, led by its rare Frozen grey E92 M3 that occupied booth space alongside one of the team’s Grand-Am E92 M3 racecars and the V10-eninged E30 M3 that took shape on our Garage Projects pages in the magazine (turnermotorsport.com).
Bimmerworld similarly had its impressive Grand-Am M3 plus a posse of older M3 road and racecars (bimmerworld.com).
VAC Motorsports had a cool 2002 racer in its booth but its primary focus was on tuning products, including many of its inhouse parts. With its own machine-, dyno- and race shops, the company produces everything from pulleys to pistons in addition to selling the leading brands. What’s more, they claim to be selling parts into Europe, including new N54/55 cylinder heads. With the limited flow on these heads, VAC has looked at improving gas velocity with smoothed ports, polished chambers and has the option of increased chamber size as well as larger valves. They also have ring gears for the 135i/335i designed to bolt to a Quaife diff rather than the stock welded ring gears on these cars (vacmotorsports.com).
As a dealer for VF-Engineering, VAC was also showing the infamous VF E92 M3 widebody that had been driven from Los Angeles by VF owner, Nik Saran. He reported it was a great adventure and miraculously avoided getting any tickets on the journey!
We also stopped at the Bimmian booth, which appeared to be mobbed all day. Its multi-colored collection of roundels and black or carbon model badges were attracting large crowds. They can also make custom badges with a wide selection of letters and numbers to create unique designations (bimmian.com).
Despite the police presence after an impromptu burnout contest developed on the access road, the inaugural Bimmerfest East went off almost without a hitch. Everybody we spoke to enjoyed the event and looked forward to its development into a larger show that will truly represent the East Coast scene.
For more information about the East and West Coast 2012 Bimmerfest events, visit bimmerfest.com
Bimmerfest East 2011 winners
Best of Show
Space Ghost – ’08 E92 M3
1 John Hintz – ’69 1600-2
2 Kelvin Hao – ’02 M Coupe
3 Jason Feuchtbaum – ’05 M3
1 John Hintz – ’69 1600-2
2 Douglas Dolan – ’72 M 3.0 CSi
3 Michael Balling – ’79 320i
1 Tore Morkussen – ’91 850i
2 Ryan Kieffer – ’11 Z4-35is
3 Ron Suabedissen – ’87 M6
Highest Mileage BMW
Jason Hower – ’91 525i, 402000 miles
Peyton Walters – E46 328i from Valparaiso, IN