The BMW CCA Celebrate BMW Tour has official begun! We’ll attend an autocross with the Boston Chapter before heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but first, check out our announcement video and first video blog!
The BMW CCA Celebrate BMW Tour Presented by Michelin has officially begun! We’ll attend an autocross with the Boston Chapter before heading to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but first, check out our announcement video and first video blog!
The week leading up to this departure from Boston, Massachusetts has been intense. The first order of business was a cross-continent redeye into LaGuardia before heading to Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, and the headquarters of BMW of North America to pick up a gorgeous Melbourne Red on Cognac BMW 640i Convertible from the press fleet. As you’d expect, the decision of which vehicle to use had been a topic of endless debate between co-driver Nick Parente and myself, but as a 6 series owner (albeit of the E24 variety), the nature of the big GT was always appealing—and walking around the red grand tourer in the flesh was an inspiring moment in a trip years in the making.
But no continents were to be crossed before the car was prepped. Michelin outfitted the car with super sticky Pilot Super Sport tires at BMW of North America’s workshop, and we enlisted AMI Graphics in Stafford, New Hampshire put together a livery package. The team there was able to print and mount the design you see below in-house, and the unique material allowed for a crisp and legible finish without damaging the press fleet’s paint (always a win for those at the mercy of BMW of North America’s impressive generosity).
The southern New Hampshire woods—White Mountain BMW CCA territory—also gave us a great opportunity to test our camera setups for interior filming. Thanks to Sony, the Celebrate BMW Tour is filmed entirely on Sony cameras, and among them are an array of X1000-V action cameras that now line the interior of our 640i. With the sleek convertible sufficiently be-logo’d and be-camera’d, we headed for our departure point at the InterContinental Boston.
But let’s back up for a second. As drivers, departure on a trip like this is a special moment, but also one enabled entirely by the 47-year efforts of the BMW Car Club of America and its members. It’s a trip that exists thanks to a devoted community, and a passion for these Bavarian machines that unites a nation of BMW enthusiasts and creates events like Celebrate BMW. While BMW Group itself has plenty of reasons to celebrate this year—2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the company—the celebrations in California this month will be made special by the devoted community around which the brand’s aura sits.
We’re the ones driving on this particular adventure, but the story we’re telling is your story. It’s the story of the BMW CCA, and BMW enthusiasts across the United States.
To expand that story we met up with two BMW CCA members from the early days of the BMW CCA, Michael Izor and Joe Chamberlain. Over a lunch at the InterContinental’s waterfront Miel restaurant, we chatted about the Club’s history both old and new.
Seeing friends and sharing stories about the decades-long growth of BMW in the United States never ceases to amaze, but the meeting also touched upon another excellent point in our journey: our Boston departure not only stretches the route from Atlantic to Pacific, but also honors the founding city of the BMW CCA. Listening to stories from the early days of BMW—when Max Hoffman was the sole importer, and when seeing another BMW was reason enough to pull over, chat, and exchange maintenance advise—folded the 41-year history of BMW in North America into an almost tangible weight we could carry with us across the country. Every racing victory, every model release, every first moment of driving pleasure and automotive discovery on the backroads of the USA. All of it was wrapped into this.
As we said goodbye and filled the tank with the Shell V-Power Nitro+ that will set us on our way to Pittsburgh, the physical reality of what we were trying to accomplish really set in. This is the trip of a lifetime, a thundering, old-school, mile-crushing drive from coast to coast, meeting with members and filming the journey along the way. After more than a year of planning, the car and the drivers are ready—and we’ve never been more ready to drive. —David Rose
Want to meet up? Here’s the schedule:
August 6: Boston, Massachusetts to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
August 7: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Columbus, Ohio
August 8: Columbus, Ohio to St. Louis, Missouri
August 9: St. Louis, Missouri (preparation day)
August 10: St. Louis, Missouri to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
August 11: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Albuquerque, New Mexico
August 12: Albuquerque, New Mexico to Colorado Springs, Colorado
August 13: Colorado Springs, Colorado to Boulder, Colorado
In Boulder, the BMW Vintage & Classic Car Club of America “Roads to Monterey” drive begins.
August 14: Boulder, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah
August 15: Salt Lake City, Utah to South Lake Tahoe, California
August 16: South Lake Tahoe, California to Sonoma, California
August 17: Sonoma, California to Monterey, California
The BMW CCA Celebrate BMW Tour Presented by Michelin is made possible by Michelin, Shell, IHG® Rewards Club, Sony, and of course the team at the BMW Car Club of America, and we thank them all for their genuine support of enthusiasts on travels of all kinds.