The Club’s premier event is held annually at Gaydon Warwickshire. The event, open to all, attracts around 1500 cars which comprise of Club members and other groups. It’s split currently into Regions and Registers, with separate allocations for forums and alternative clubs all under the BMW umbrella.
When I arrived, I thought that the format had changed as no cars were parked on the spine road. The main entrance, the prime location was bare. It appeared that the regular incumbents had relocated to a distance location, which I confess passed me by and no doubt many others.
I knew where I was going to be located in my car as I had been on the Saturday and noticed that there were clear indications for each Region and Register. This worked fairly well, but alas the shortage of volunteers to be marshals slowed down the process a little.
The dilemma for any member is where to park: Region or Register, or perhaps they are also a member of an online forum group and want to be with them? Notwithstanding all those decisions the club put on its normal wonderful display of vehicles through the ages, all models and types. No one could be disappointed if they had come to look at a specific model, I think they were all well represented.
The event, for me, is too short and I would like to see a two-day gathering in one location, Saturday prime spots given to forums and groups which are not club members and Sunday to members only. This would not prevent anyone attending on any day, they would just not be allocated prime parking.
The Concours could still take place on the Saturday at Gaydon, and individuals for general or club admission would be able to purchase a one-day ticket or a weekend ticket.
No good idea goes unpunished: the steam bike caused some concern that it was too close to members’ vehicles and was a great source of amusement to many others. Steve Deeks did a super job, but battled with poor PA systems and there was no official timing for Concours awards, which was a shame, as winners may not have received the appreciation they deserved.
In the end, Gaydon – as a chance for me and many others to meet people we know and discuss our cars and club aspects – was far too short in my mind, especially for members who travelled a long way to this once a year gathering.
I would also acknowledge all those volunteers who give up their time to host this event for the benefit of all, whom we trust appreciate it.
Words by Norman Burnham
Being asked by Richard Baxter to do the story board was a bit daunting, as admittedly I was not fully up to speed on my BMW’s, understanding the series types and E/F numbers was a challenge thankfully a few helpful members on the end of the phone who took the time to explain got that sorted! Then researching all BMW’s made came, well there were a lot more than I expected and so many variants, where to start; the Dixi, actually an Austin to my surprise; end, the i8, no the Vision cars in fact, which were fascinating if not a bit scary in their possibilities; and who to risk offending by choosing the ones in the middle, as ‘the best’ in who’s view, I wasn’t going to be responsible for that when surrounded by so many passionate members, so hopefully I included every type of BMW to date, which was an education in itself. Luckily, I love a challenge and to learn, so after hours of study I now know my BMW’s a bit better and the stories behind, which were often fascinating, and learning how truly innovative BMW have been!
This founded knowledge on BMW’s I am pleased to say made my experience of the National Festival more fulfilling, especially when helping Steve Deeks find cars for the ramp. I appreciated more what I was looking at, or riding in, from the cosy Issetta, the Driving skills’ 326, of course unforgettably John Castle’s 3.0 csl and Jamal’s Z1; whose seeming lack of doors had me baffled. On which note I must not forget to thank Jamal for getting the finished design for the story Board produced.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of the weekend; from Wroxall Abbey, including arrangements for the Celebration evening, which was overwhelmingly attended and hopefully a fun night for all. The privilege of preparing with the girls in the office; through to details for the Festival itself which was truly a great day I felt honoured to be a part of.
Most impressive for me though was all the lovely members I met along the way who worked so hard to pull it off, truly inspiring.
Lucy Birch, Office Admin
The sun has gone down on our National Festival – Gaydon 2016 and it is time to reflect.
Having been involved from early on Saturday morning for the set-up and with marshalling on Sunday morning as you all arrived, it was clear to me that there were lessons to be learned and as such I am already thinking about how we can improve the logistics for 2017. A big thank you to all of the volunteer marshals for their assistance and, in some cases, for taking verbal abuse when things didn’t go exactly to plan. It is clear that for the most part we are getting things right, if we were not then the hundreds of you that attend would not keep coming back however, we can and WILL strive to make each year better than the last.
All that being said, what a great day for all of us fans of the roundel. The weather could not have been more perfect and as a venue, what better place could there be? I think most of us just enjoyed mooching around and chatting, catching up with old friends and making some new ones, just looking at one another’s cars and what we have done to personalise them be they subtle modifications, wildly customised, or just maintaining the factory fresh originality for concours purposes. Every one of them is special to their owner and to be able to share that feeling just once a year as a major collective with one of the largest gatherings of individually owned BMW’s in the World, long may we continue this annual pilgrimage to our own BMW Mecca.
I have already volunteered for 2017 (now publicly and in writing) – bring it on!
Words by Martyn Goodwin
The BMW National Festival at the British Heritage Museum was superb. The weekend started off with a relaxed dinner at the Wroxall Abbey on the Saturday night and the “X” table was rather fun, to say the least! The settings of the hotel and the dinner itself were a great precursor to the main event on the Sunday.
With the weather once again being kind to us, there was something for everyone irrelevant of their age or preference in BMW model. The event housed many BMWs from all eras and I’m pretty sure that most of the BMW models made over the past 100 years were represented. My guess is that we had about a dozen or so “X “models on the grounds, some parked up in the X Register area and some parked up with their regions.
Words by Jonathan Harris
Together with others many of us, including volunteers, attended Gaydon on Saturday to help with the preparations for Sunday’s big event. In my case this was putting together the large signage boards which hopefully many of you will agree greatly speeded up the process of getting everyone parked up quickly and in the right place on Sunday.
I had previously prepared the signposts and with the invaluable help of my trusty assistant/apprentice Maggie we set about fixing the signs to the posts with the aid of drills, screwdrivers, screws, nuts and bolts. It was a question of you hold one end and I will bash the other and hope it works which thankfully it did in the nick of time.
We then just about had enough time to get spruced up for the dinner at Wroxall Abbey Hotel and just about arrived on time as I was sure our sat-nav was sending us on a wild goose chase but we made it.
Sunday was busy from beginning to end including a few trips back and forth to the main gate to sort out loads of ticket queries but eventually everything was sorted. All that was left to do was the simple task of assisting two other Directors set up the once in a lifetime “100” line up of member’s cars. Did I say simple? Well anyway we got there in the end and you can see the spectacular result elsewhere.
Before we knew it the time had arrived for the mammoth task of clearing up and packing away. My wife Maggie and I stayed an extra night on Sunday and enjoyed an evening pub meal with members from Western Region. On Monday morning, back to Gaydon where we dismantled the model car display we had set up next to Gaydon’s own red Dixi. We then spent two fantastic hours looking around the museum’s new extension which houses their Jaguar collection plus many other vehicles of all types. The best part was talking to some of the staff and volunteers in the workshops and meeting some overseas visitors some from Germany others from France. Both sets of visitors commented how lucky we are in Great Britain to have such a vast depth of history particularly so as regards motor museums, shows and events. I suppose it takes an outsider sometimes to make you realise we are all very fortunate.
Regions Director And East Anglia Regional Chairman
BMW Car Club (GB) Ltd
The day started with some of the North East members leaving our Hotel in Warwick at 8.00am for the 10min drive to Gaydon, the first thing that I noticed was the change of road layout, which was a big improvement which meant we arrived at the National Festival without any delay.
Once the North East stand was sorted, it was time to enjoy the show, and one of the big parts of the show is meeting friends Linda and I have made over the past ten years we have been attending, it is also nice to meet and chat to the girls from the office face to face instead of by email.
As always there were some fantastic cars on show, and I always find myself making a "wish I had that one” list. I had entered the 100-year photo shoot and arrived on the display and was positioned without problem, then stood back and listened and watched the classic cars arriving.
Words by Michael Barron
Gaydon this year was about my nineteenth in succession and the best so far in its improvement into making it not just a car show but also a great day out for all the family. The colour coded signs and show areas were a great improvement in getting all the cars in place by 1000. But we cannot expect every member of a family to en-joy looking at immaculate BMWs so the driving tests, the “interview” ramp, the drift track, the tombola, the driving simulator and trade stands and other “attractions” need to be expanded to add to the enjoyment. We should also encourage the BMW Historic Car Club and BMW Motorcycle Club to attend to make our event the biggest in Europe. Personally, I would also love to see auto-jumble in the Register/Regional area for classic owners to sell on the bits they do not need without having to pay for a “pitch” – swopping parts should be a membership benefit just this once a year when we all meet up together. Well done the organisers and the “office” team.
Words by John Castle
There are not many entrances at a car event as impressive as the catwalk leading up to the British Motor Museum, as a line of gleaming cars make their way slowly down the spine road (its official name), and through the imposing six-meter inflatable arch.
The 2016 National Festival and 100 year celebration had finally arrived after months of planning. Traders, forums, motorsport, show and shine, regions and registers, drifters, partners, marshals, organisers and new sponsors Pirelli, were all in place and ready to put on a show.
For the second year running, a mere 12hours earlier, the club put on a different kind of show at the Wroxall Abbey Estate, the annual Car Club Awards evening, where carefully selected members of our club were presented with a Pen award.
Of the six categories, the highest honour was given to Darren Teagles, for his outstanding contribution and unwavering support to BMW Car club.
With the Cotswolds tour and Concours concluding earlier in the day, the Wroxall staff pulled out all the stops to ensure our 96 guests and their families enjoyed the car club beer, goody bags, live music, magician and great food.
The BMW Car Club board of Directors would like to offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who made the weekend a success, the members, staff, volunteers, traders, sponsors, forums and most of all our members, thank you.
Yet another national festival where the weather gods looked down favourably and smiled upon the event. It was dawn to dusk sunshine on both days – the Saturday for concours at Wroxhall Abbey along with the 2002 50th display plus setting up Gaydon just down the road.
It was fitting in this centenary year that the historic Club were able to attend and fill in the pre war spaces to provide a tremendous display of their range of cars since the late 1920’s, it meant that we were able to ‘book end’ the earliest car the Dixi, and the latest technological triumph the i8. For those good at the maths, BMW was formed in 1916, but car production only got underway in the late 20’s by building the Dixi (an Austin 7) built under license.
Our club is now 64 years young, and as a nod to the past in this special year we decided to hold ‘a driving skills test’ - no self respecting Club over 20 years old would dream of holding a national event ‘without’ holding such a test, we knew not whether this would fly or falter as a participation event/good spectacle, hence why it was staged by the food seating area.
In truth, it received a mixed response (which caused some to mention this empty space during the afternoon), but fortunately enabled a batch of the historic cars to join in the ‘100’ car display being formed at the top of the spine road and monitored by a drone, this display would have been much the poorer without their presence.
I personally wish to acknowledge and thank all the Historic Club for joining with us at the celebration & awards evening and at the event with such energy and enthusiasm, we much enjoyed your company and the very special cars.
In regard to the Saturday evening Celebration a certain Mr Jamal Blanc has built on his first event last year and taken it further, the table magician had us mesmerized, the guests were enjoying their table associates and as per usual ‘Barrie Wizzo Williams’ held us in his thrall during the awards as only a true pro is able.
The awards for 2016 as follows:
Regional Chairman – Issy
Contribution to Straight Six – Jeff Heywood
Register Chairman – Nick Wright – Successful trackdays
Register Chairman – John Castle – exceptional work with the E3 & E9
Outstanding Contribution to Club life – Darren Teagles – as photographer and former Club director
Each received a silver Cross pen and Darren a gold Cross pen
The layout of Gaydon as they go through a huge development programme was much changed this year – particularly in regards to the loss of the spine road for displaying cars, arguably the most attractive position of all. The catering was enhanced ‘mit der weiss sausage’ and the ‘real coffee’ vendor.
The real coffee vendor was situated next door to our new tyre partner Pirelli and for a charitable donation one could drive their excellent F1 simulator that raised £90 for age UK. They were also on hand to discuss tyre options for road cars and to avail members of their excellent discount offer.
In terms of partners, we hope that many of you have or will check out the BMW Car Club insurance scheme with the representatives who were there on the day, the scheme is there to provide you with a financially saving membership benefit. If you have not checked this out as yet, please do so in the future, you can only win.
Steve Deeks worked his magic on this years raised stage, inviting owners to discuss their pride and joy, one car that had him genuinely stumped was the 700 coupe, this Michelotti designed fast back coupe with a motorcycle engine happened to be a very successful European hill climb car back in the late 50’s early 60’s and by none other than the legendary Hans Stuck. With eyes half closed one can see the Triumph Herald within the design – no surprise there, they were both designed by the same man!
The regions and registers as always put on a special display, Simon Alcorn with ALPINA (between Carfest north and south) are to be congratulated along with the Scottish region who drive an unbelievable mileage to attend each year (if Jock and Issy weren’t there we would sorely miss them).
We have received many years support from the various forums, they are a welcome inclusion to this festival, they attend with cars spectacular, individual and quite normal but amongst the variation we can all enjoy the blue and white propeller and the ALPINA badge!
Finally, no event of this size could possibly happen without the help of the sponsors Pirelli, BMW Car Club Insurance, John Thorney Motorsport, and support of the many members and the office team, who selflessly and without care of mention give their time and energy to enabling this show to function and therefore along with those who attend - receive the biggest thanks of all…
Words by Richard Baxter
The weekend of the 13th and 14th of August saw the Celebration of the 50th Anni-versary of the 2002 model and the 100th Anniversary of the BMW brand.
Travelling up the M40 from North London to Gaydon is an adventure in itself with groups of BMWs of every model making their way to the event. It’s a rare and wel-come chance to see them on the move.
Arriving at 8am the set-up was well under way with Richard Stern erecting the 02 Marquee as a focal point. The 02s had been given a spot (literally!) on the right-hand side of the entrance. With just four cars facing the displays, we restricted to a triangular patch of grass between the entry road and the lake - very pretty but a bit cramped. Fortunately, we were next to the Historic section which was well attended and showed some rare and desirable models, including a 700 coupe.
Slowly but surely the 02s started to arrive - and what a diverse and bunch they were - standard and modified, original and restored. Tim and Rachel Palmer brought their 02 and Baur Convertible - the later sporting new houndstooth check upholstery, a rare Volcab in stunning condition owned by Ed Genova, Costas Morfakis’ Jaymic convertible conversion which stood alongside Tommy Machin’s completely original Chamonix Auto - which just a few months before, had been retrieved from a garage where it had sat for over 20 years. A wide selection of standard 02s, tii's and Tour-ings brought the number up to 30 including the Baur Convertible of Jeffrey and Adeline Kok and Jan and Petra Porton’s Verona Touring who made the trip from The Netherlands. If there was an award for the longest trip, they would have won! The icing on the cake was a rare Turbo brought by Damon Hatcher and a dramatic F2 Warmbold 02 owned by David Wylie which took centre stage and was immedi-ately surrounded by fans taking pictures and asking questions.
The nicest thing for me was the number of families that attended. Along with the fa-thers and sons there were plenty of wives and girlfriends, giving testament to the fact that the often the 02 is considered part of the family - far more than the more exotic and expensive later models. It really was a social event.
Words by Hilaire O’Shea