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Bimmerfest East is the place to be if blue and white are your favorite colors.
A weekend-long gathering, this car show just wrapped up at Raceway Park in Englishtown, New Jersey. This year, some 2,000 vehicles attended while an estimated 7,000 people came out to worship the roundel.
Catering to every sort of enthusiast, from weekend racers to the show-and-shine crowd, Bimmerfest offers a wide array of activities, like drag racing, autocrossing, a burnout contest and much more. There was even a classics corral showcasing the Bavarian brand’s history, as well as more than 30 on-site vendors offering parts, swag, and even engine tuning.
From the veritable sea of BMWs on hand, it was nearly impossible to choose a favorite model, there were just so many awesome cars at this year’s show. Still, we forced ourselves to narrow it down to 10 favorites and here they are.
10. 2016 BMW i8
How could you not help but take a shine to this atomic green 2016 BMW i8? Angel, its owner, wasn’t satisfied with BMW’s factory color palette; she wanted something much brighter, which this fluorescent body wrap definitely delivers. Like an i8 doesn’t get enough attention already, right? What color is hidden beneath that blinding splendor? How about conservative gray, a decidedly un-exotic hue?
9. 1993 BMW 325is
Next up, a 1993 BMW 325is. Aside from being dressed in an eye-catching M3 body kit, it’s cleanly done yet still stands out from the crowd thanks to a few visual flourishes. The colorful headlamps are hard to miss. It also proves you don’t need to drive something showroom fresh to be part of the BMW family. This car’s keeper is only 19 years old and to date, he’s owned five different Bimmers.
8. 1988 BMW M6
Our No. 8 choice is a modern classic, an M6 from the fine 1988 vintage. Absolutely immaculate inside and out, this grand tourer is barely broken in, having rolled just 120,000 miles in three decades. Under its front-hinged hood resides a 3.5-liter straight-six that was rated at 256 horses when new, more than enough to keep pace with today’s traffic, at least according to Jim Schwartz, it’s current caretaker. He puts around 3,000 miles on it each year.
7. 2016 BMW M4
Like the i8 a few spots above, it’s impossible to miss this 2016 BMW M4 that looks like a rolling funhouse mirror. Equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox (hell yeah!) it’s daily driven and almost completely stock, though it does breathe through an aftermarket exhaust system. Putting this vehicle to good use, owner Dr. T Augurson recently took it on a 9,100-mile, 24-day cross-country road trip, raising money to fight cancer. We can’t think of a more outstanding use for this car.
6. 1996 BMW 328i
But obviously, not everything at Bimmerfest is as it left the factory. Take this 1996 BMW 328i that’s been made into a racecar. Crammed up front is a big Ford V8, ostensibly a 302, but the car’s owner was nowhere to be found so we couldn’t confirm. Upping the output is a massive turbo hidden just under that half-sized hood. With basically no interior and meaty tires, it’s probably an absolute rocket.
5. 1995 BMW 318 Ti
Next up on our Top 10 countdown, a ’95 318 Ti that seemed a little out of place at Bimmerfest, with its peeling clearcoat and off-color body panels. But never judge a book by its cover. Ahead of the firewall is a mildly altered 1995 M3 engine, which is tuned to deliver about 260 naturally aspirated horses at the wheels. It’s a total driver’s car, one that we’re told is SERIOUSLY quick!
4. 1991 BMW 325i Convertible
This convertible really puts the “drop” in droptop because it’s got an air-ride suspension that can be raised or lowered from a smartphone. “Big Mike” has only had it since last November but he’s already added a new interior, fresh paint, a front splitter and several other odds and ends. Next on the upgrade list? He might hang an E46 engine between the front fenders for a nice boost in performance.
3. 1974 BMW 2002
Comin’ in at No. 3 is this eye-catching 2002 from 1974. Yeah, it’s a classic! These trim little machines are legendary, adored by car enthusiasts of every stripe, and they’re priced accordingly. This one grabs your attention and won’t let go thanks to that searing orange paint. You could argue this right here is how BMW became world famous for building true drivers’ cars. The importance of the 2002 to this brand cannot be understated.
2. 2002 BMW M3
Our second-place choice is another 2002, well, a model year 2002, a super-clean M3 coupe. E46 Bimmers are pretty much the best BMW model range of all time (in our not-so-humble opinion). They’re beautifully styled and a joy to drive, especially in apex-predator form. This example is a rarity, being almost completely stock, save for a cold-air intake, muffler delete and a few other minor tweaks.
1. 1988 BMW M3
This is our favorite BMW from Bimmerfest East 2017, a gorgeous red 1988 E30 M3. Franco Regalo bought it as an empty shell that lacked paint or an interior, bringing it back to its former glory. But even more amazing than this restoration tale is the engine’s story; supposedly it’s spun more than 320,000 miles and has NEVER been opened before. According to Regalo, maintenance is key to this impressive longevity, that and regular vigorous exercise.
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