|Unseasonably warm weather in February and March
allowed me to drive the car in sunny, 40 degree weather. The car did
great and the heater was definitely warm, and overkill for my tastes.
I'm quite sure I'll never drive it in freezing weather!
|APRIL: Mid America 02 Fest VII - Eureka Springs, Arkansas|
|What did I say about weather? I forgot about hail and twisters in my part of the country. As I was leaving town on Friday to get to Eureka Springs, I checked the weather radar and things looked fine. No sooner than I was 40 miles away from home, a Tornado warning was sounded. A listen to the radio and weather service, along with a couple of frantic cell calls to my bud Randy, helped me determine I could either pull over and wait 2 hours or put my foot into it and out run the storm. Luckily I missed the triangulated path of the twister by just about 5 miles. You can see the storm which contained the tornado in my rear view mirror with the photo below. Luckily the weather ahead of me was sunny and nice. No hail damage to the car - but there was torrential down pours, and I have not sorted my windshield wipers out yet. Thank God for Rain-X, the faster you go the better it works.|
|So I made it to Eureka with the help of my new Garmin Nuvi GPS. I find it works great to see the road ahead especially into the twisties of Arkansas. While I had been there before, the GPS made light duty of arrival time, speed of the car and the roads It was routing me to. It came in handy for tracking overall trip mileage as well. We all settled in for food on Friday and got ready for our drive and show and shine in the afternoon. The turnout was great and the fellowship, as always was the best.|
|The T-Shirts I designed turned out great and were a big hit. Everyone was decked out in their orange tops it seemed. We stay on the black and orange Alpina theme, you can't go wrong.|
|Just a few weeks before heading to Arkansas, I installed the new Rota RB 15"x7" wheels. It seems that the new wheels definately cause more attention to the car than before. I have had tons of compliments from people who know the cars and dont. Now I realize that the car really needed more polished aluminum wheels to set off the rest of the chrome, instead of the original ATS wheels I had before. We can always adjust the looks of our cars to our taste as we go for sure. Your e-mails validating my decision telling me were great.|
|So, a nice quiet trip back home on Sunday and good weather.
Ready for some more work on the car before I head to N.C. in May.
|MAY: CARPET COMPLETED|
|After lots of waiting for the right time and the right carpet, I finally got the carpet installation that I wanted. The folks who did my interior originally ordered the carpet from GAHH in Los Angeles. This was the oatmeal colored square weave carpet. This time I was able to deliver the car to their shop and they proceeded to hand cut the carpet and make it fit the car. I gave them my 73 2002 OEM multi part carpet setup to make the patterns.|
|They improvised on a few things where the original carpet did not fit the car exactly. Originally the back seat was a bit overstuffed so they modified the bottom of the back to fit. I have yet to put seat belts back here yet, nobody rides here anyway!|
|A view of how the front went in. Those of you who know spot a different shift lever - yep, a 2002 Haus short shift unit they came out with for their conversion. All I can say is "wow" - my E30 doesn't shift this well. Nice addition for any 2002 for that matter.|
|The trunk needed finishing also. Instead of grey vinyl, we decided this grey pattern material would hold up better over time and stay clean. I think it fits the theme of what I was trying to accomplish back here.|
|Once it's all glued down and installed, it looks great. The door handles and armrests were dyed to match the rest of setup, which I think makes it all look like it belongs. That SEM dye is amazing stuff.|
|One night I was driving with the windows all rolled
up to hear how quiet it was. Quiet? With all the sound proofing FatMat I
installed and the carpet, padding and floor mats, you can actually carry on a conversation
without yelling and even have a cell phone conversation. The only
wind noise is the air traveling over the side mirrors. With the
radio off, all you hear is the purr of that wonderful M10 engine!
There are still a few tweaks here to finish, mostly with the under dash
and front speaker setup and alarm, but for the most part it's done.
|MAY (Memorial Day Weekend): VINTAGE IN THE VINEYARDS, WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.|
|So with all the confidence found in April's trip to
Arkansas and back, I
figured the real challenge ahead was the trip to NC. By my guess,
the round trip would be 2,700 or so miles. It would be a real contest to
see if my car would stay together and be reliable for that kind of trip,
besides the great things we would see and do on the journey.
The route took me from Kansas City, south to near Bentonville, Arkansas to meet up with Bo Black and his fine automobile, another 1974 2002tii. Then on to Little Rock Arkansas to meet up with Chris Leonard's fuel injected 76 2002. We spent the first night in Nashville, Tennessee with out fail on any of the cars. My car's driver side door actuator decided to freeze up in Knoxville so I had to slide over from the passenger side until we could stop and fix it - back at the hotel parking lot in Winston-Salem.
|Chris reminded me when we got to Knoxville the most beautiful part of the drive was coming - Knoxville to Asheville is great for it's view and the climb through the Blue Ridge Mountains. He was completely right - and that drive will go down in memory so far as one of those unbelievable cruises where our cars were so vastly superior to the other vans, RVs, trucks on the road navigating those roads that it was hilarious. They were like bowling pins - we just drove around everybody and maintained our speeds and really never had to use our brakes much. We just laughed when we stopped - it was like we knew something nobody on the road did about driving our cars the way they were meant to be driven. I'm sure I'll take those memories to my grave as some of the best driving miles ever in a 2002.|
|So about 6pm we made it to the hotel in Winston-Salem and dropped off our luggage, topped of the tanks and headed for Humberto Marti's for the evening. There was a huge collection of vintage BMW iron at his place where all had gathered for great fun and food.|
|Humberto was kind enough to allow us to drive on his grass and wash off our cars, which had collected a large number of insects along the way. Many folks who had not seen our cars before wanted the private showing and explanations of all we had done. We headed home to the hotel for the night at about 10 to prepare for the next day's events.|
|Saturday morning we got up early and went over our cars one more time in the parking lot of the hotel for cleanliness. I freed up the stuck door lock actuator and got the engine wiped down good as we headed towards the morning drive scheduled through the surrounding area. Once at the Vineyards, we had quite a crowd around the car for a while. It prevented me initially from getting to see all the cars there that I wanted to see also, but I eventually got free and took a lot of photos. I met up with many of the East coast car owners I had only met in e-mail or over the web before for the first time. Harry from Puerto Rico was there and came in a rental car, who I have chatted with a bunch over the years. It was great to put a face to the name, as well as a car after all this time. As the day went on, my car seemed to be one that more married guys brought their wives over to explain "why" they wanted to do this or that upgrade, or restore their car. I was involved in a good number of conversations with wives and girlfriends who being "sold" a particular way the guys wanted their car to be when they were all done. That was something I've not witnessed before at a car show! Overall the car show was great and the ambience and weather was perfect for this type of event. Hats off to Scott Sturdy for a fine show.|
|There were few awards for this event, but longest driven was one of them. I figured I might be in the running, and when the totals were counted, my 1,320 miles were the farthest, and my two buddies Bo and Chris were 2nd and 3rd. For us it was a clean sweep! Scott's original trophies were made of old 2002 parts also - very original idea and a first for any show I've been to.|
|Saturday night we headed for Asheville, NC as part of our first leg back. The weather was cool and the roads were clear. Sunday we got up and looked at maps, where we decided we could make not only the Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap, but we would veer south and head towards Birmingham Alabama to visit the Barber Motorsports Park & Museum. The drive to Deal's Gap was interesting, and the closer we got the more strange vehicles we saw heading in the same direction. The photo below is right before Chris, Bo and I headed down this legendary stretch of road - US-129, 319 turns in 11 miles! The cars did great, and were a true test of what the 2002 is all about. We had a new RX-8 Mazda behind us and the driver couldn't quite stop pounding his steering wheel trying to catch us. If you have a chance to go you shouldn't pass Deal's Gap and "The Dragon" up ever, it is a true validation of what our cars are about.|
|Later in the afternoon we made it to Birmingham. On arrival, we found some other BMWCCA types driving the track so we stopped to view the events. We met up with several 2002 lovers. It was a great sight for us to see other 2002s on trailers leaving from the track. We would have enjoyed that for sure. We spent a good hour at the museum, looking at over 1,500 motorcycles and the Lotus race car collection they maintain there.|
|Sunday night we filled ourselves with BBQ and beer in Alabama before driving through Tupelo, Mississippi and back to Memphis for the night. When we got up Monday morning, we noticed we had quite a collection of insects we've not seen before. The cars ran superb and we headed to Arkansas and eventually back to Kansas City for me. The drive was great and convinced me I should do that again soon!|
|The complete photo galleries of the two events are located below.|
| -> MID AMERICA '02 FEST VII
-> VINTAGE IN THE VINEYARDS 2007
|Of course, the year is not over and there is a trip to Watkins Glen in September planned, so stay tuned!|