Thursday, October 4, 2012

What to watch this weekend (Oct 5th - Oct 10th)

  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Practice. Friday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Qualifying. Saturday @ 1am - 2:30am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live
  • Formula 1 - Japanese Grand Prix; from the Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. Race. Sunday @ 1:30am - 4am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) live
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Season 21 Ep.1. SLS AMG vs. the field. Sunday @10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
  • WRC - Rally France. Sunday @ 11pm - 12am (SPEED/SPEEDHD) recap of three days 10/4-10/7
  • Top Gear (UK). Marathon of past seasons. Monday @ 8am - Tues @ 6am (BBC America/BBC America HD) great replays
  • Motorweek. Honda Accord. Tuesday @ 8pm - 8:30pm (VelocityHD) replay
  • Chasing Classic Cars. Mini-marathon. Tuesday @ 8:30pm - 9pm, 10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) replays
  • Wheeler Dealers. Porsche 914. Wednesday @ 9pm - 10pm (VelocityHD) new
  • Fifth Gear (UK). Season 21 Ep.3. Stability control-off. Wednesday @10pm - 11pm (VelocityHD) new
F1 returns to give us the next chapter in the endless waltz we call the 2012 season. Hamilton scores pole once again only to have a mechanical failure...and Jenson makes podium to once again prove McLaren can't compete with more than one car at a time. Force India makes Q3 once again (and finished fourth in Singapore) showing they not only have talent in Paul Di Resta, but also have a winning formula (ahem) chassis. Vettel finds a way to take another checkered flag, but with Alonzo making podium (now maintaining a 29 point lead) his benefit wasn't as big as it could've been. Redbull may or may not have figured out the alternator issue, but when they're reliable they can always wreck havoc on the field. Massa, who finished 8th last time around, still seems to be playing the 'can I keep my job' game with Ferrari; I'm not even sure a single podium will make a difference on whatever decision they make for next season. And lastly, Shuey makes another critical misjudgment of car location in Singapore, taking Vergne out in lap 39. He received a ten grid spot penalty to be enforced this weekend. This brings us to Suzuka, Japan. We'll see how things shake out with the standings after sunrise this Sunday. Remember this race starts at 1:30am EST.

No new Top Gear (US) this week, as they're on break for the rest of the year. There are new episodes of Fifth Gear and Wheeler Dealers on the schedule. Enjoy your weekends.

Video hosting courtesy of Mooorteeen.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Event Recap: Bimmerfest East 2012

The start of Bimmerfest's cross-country venture, that we call Bimmerfest East, was like the proverbial gift horse for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic area. For those of us in northern-Maryland, it was a no brainer regardless of whether it was good or not. Thankfully for all of us it was a good show, had a huge turn out (mainly due to the number of BMW fanatics in the part of the US) and was organized pretty well. There were a couple kinks that needed to be worked out to handle the numbers that frequented the vendors, as you may remember from my recap of Bimmerfest East 2011, but much to my delight the organizers fixed the kinks and brought a much improved product to the people.

Food on the left. Food on the right.

The line for food last year was incorporated with the t-shirt/merchandising lines and ran parallel with the Turner Motorsport and Bimmerworld display traffic. This year Bimmerfest East organizers moved the food lines to the front of Ripken Stadium's entrance. And there was not just one line, but two. The vendors for the show grew in 2012, and they extended them towards the show entrance in a very logical manner. Getting from one side of vendors to the other, which was roughly from the 'front' of the lot to the 'back', was a linear and painless process. One set of vendors new to Bimmerfest East was ROTL friends 8380Labs and Guten Parts. They tag teamed a large spot on the front side of the vendor area and provided a nice blend of cool apparel, suspension and adapters, as well as stock/upgrade BMW parts and accessories. While I was hanging out I picked up some E30 stuff from GP for the red coupe, as well as some car spares.

Now that the logistics have been addressed, lets talk about the cars. Much of what I said last year is still true, but that's less a reflection of the show itself and more about the kind of cars that are being built and showcased these days. The typical hammered E36s where there, plenty of E30s in all different flavors including a handful of well sorted E30M3s, and a wide variety of every other BMW model out there. In the back part of the lot there was a row of nothing but E38s (7series), a row of only E53 & E70 (X5s), and plenty of fully blown show-cars sprinkled here and there. While there were plenty of semi-beat driver cars, it was a bit easier to find the goods this year than last. I spent about 1.5hrs doing laps to see all that was there and ended up shooting less than I typically design of course.

Kick me while I'm down, why don't ya.
Bimmerworld and Turner Motorsport brought out their 18 wheeler's, racecars and street tuners. The was also a lovely blend of legacy and brand new BMW models, including an Sakhir Orange F13M6 (behind him on the road in) and Monte Carlo Blue F10M5, a completely restored Diamond-Schwartz E30M3 (that was like a kick in the project motivation nutsack) and a few other cool driver-cars in the booths. BBS had their own booth at the show too, which was very cool to see. They had a couple F1 wheels along with their more popular road-car wheels on display.

The much dreaded rainy day spot aftermath on one of my favorite wheels.
One of our most enjoyed cars in attendance. Did I mention we liked E30M3's?

All in all it was a nice afternoon. The weather held out, I got to see some cool stuff and some of my friends and associates in the game, and aside from the lack of grouping for showcars, it was a tightly run ship with good management and security (ahem). Some of the young crowd figured out how many cops were actually there while trying to show off @ exit, much to our delight. The turnout was great and by all indications the show will continue into the foreseeable future. Unless the ancient Mayans are correct, we'll be there next year.

The pre-album is here.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Event Recap: Vag Fair 2012

I've been going to Vag Fair since its origin in 07'. At the time I just finished the grey hatch (paint was still wet) and it was sitting on my first set real wheels. Multiple project cars, paint-jobs and wheels later I found myself going to Vag Fair without a car to show. Sure I was in the red coupe, but it's still in the same place I was before Vag Fair 11' (plus some extra oxidation) so there was nothing to showcase (look for an update on that soon). While this show grew to two days for 2012 I still only made it to Sunday's main show, but in the end that's all that was needed. Popping into town like I always have, bombing up Northern-Maryland back roads to hit I-83N, I made it into the fairgrounds for the first year without using a map or e-directions. The same friendly and familiar faces greeted me at the entrance to the field; I showed my registration confirmation via Paypal using my iPhone, then I grabbed a spot on the show field.

The cars out on display were much like the forums I'm not on anymore; a couple familiar faces here and there, a load of unfamiliar faces, all in a sea of newer models and different marques. Cory used some foresight (and some self-service) to start including BMW's in the Vag Fair festivities in 10', and the representation was decent this year. Some of my favorite local cars from last year were no where to be found, but as with everything in the US car scene, today is today. Owners sell cars and move onto new projects; new people buy those cars and either keep em' clean, take them to the next level or more likely ruin them in some way or another. That said, there was a good mix of cars in attendance and it seems the Sunday turnout was almost equal to last year.

C'mon son.

Got to see some out of state friends and associates, do some socializing and much enjoyed project car talk. While my friends at 8380Labs didn't have a booth this year I found myself hanging out at a booth anyway, as our friends Anna and Sam from More Than More decided to cross the country to pedal their boutique wares. This worked out great as I hadn't seen Anna in a while and there were some things I wanted to pick up from them online; doing so in person is always better.

Foundation-Blue still goin' strong.
Bodywork confidence.

Once again Vag Fair delivered a chill, laid back feel despite its turnout and I think the next staple of the VAG show calendar, H2oi, could learn something from it. When does a show get too big? When does it lose the magic of what it once was? Rhetorical questions my friends.

The pre-album can be seen here.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Event Recap: Deutsche Classic 2012

Along with many other first time ROTL events this year, we ended up making an appearance at this years' Deutsche Classic in Reading, PA. Coming from my neck of the woods this was a familiar drive through the back roads of NE Maryland; skipping all major highways until hopping onto I-83N around York. Once buzzing along on US-30, hints of where I was headed became a bit more apparent. 9am traffic brought a couple old mercs, a couple E34 sedans and a (930) 911S Targa. Upon arrival into Reading/Fleetwood, a lot of nice windy roads brought me and the red coupe to Fleetwood Park. This leads you off of nice paved road onto a very cobbled up set of dirt paths (panscrapers need not apply). After a friendly teen guided me to a parking spot, I walked to the gate tent. A nice woman gave me a run down on the event, the chicken dinner my entry cost paid for (pleasant surprise says what?) and gave me an event lanyard for ID.

Within a few minutes photo ops poured in. Modern and classic German Cars were lined up side by side, working their way onto the show field post entry processing. Much like most show visits these days, I had a pretty set time limit in order to make my rounds, but with constraints come forced efficiency. Cars that are the cream of the crop get time and those that don't, don't. After leaving the processing area I made a b-line for the P-car area.

What a feast for the eyes. There was a wide variety of dope late 60's to early 70's 911s, in stock and mildy modified forms, along with 73' RS replicas spec'd to the nines and newer aircooled (993) and watercooled (997) models. I spoke to the owner of this lovely yellow piece of machinery (see car below) at length. He explained that this lovely RS conversion was built in Florida by Gunnar Racing, with an extremely skilled ex-race mechanic tuning the mechanical fuel injection system on this ITB'd 2.8 liter flat six to the tune of ~280hp. 100hp per liter may be commonplace today, but before the age of electronic engine management and direct injection this was something only race engines were capable of. This car and the pale red RS rep beside it made me think about what I wanted out of my mid-life crisis a bit more than before...RS-widebody classic 911, a la Singer Design, or a newer watercooled 911 model? It's a problem we'd all like to have some day.

Along with the fantastic Porsches on display, including a lovely 550 Spyder replica showcasing it's clam-shell attributes, there were some absolute stunners in the Mercedes camp. This white 280 SEL has been in this gentleman's collection since brand new. This bluish-grey (enter model here) sedan below is one of the true time capsules of the US. I spent more time with this car than any other in the show and I'm sure you can see why. This 98% all-original car has been babied and garaged kept since 1974. One of the biggest cliches of car guys is being able to 'eat-off' an interior, or undercarriage or engine bay. Well folks, this was the real McCoy.

The holy grail of MB 280SEs.
I made my way through the BMW, VW and Audi sections after I left the heart of the event. There were some very nice cars there. Along with older BMW motorcycles, Aircooled VW's and a collection of other German Marks (that aren't recognizable to most of those under 23) Opel being one of them.

My day wrapped up with a trip to the chicken dinner line. The entry fee got you a steaming-hot roasted half chicken, dinner roll and apple sauce. I headed over to the 8380Labs booth to unwind and b.s. on the must-see cars from the overall event. Scarfed down some food, chatted a bit with some of the customers, then I headed home. Going to this event for the first time, expecting nothing special, I was more than impressed with the variety of cars and owners in attendance. I also know why this isn't one of the more popular shows in the car forums and more popular automotive portals; this is a show both for the young enthusiasts and more importantly the older, long-term enthusiasts. Mature tastes were addressed at Deutsche Classic, more than any specific niche, and I think that's what made it good. Even many of the younger attendees where German Car fans through and through, with a strong model knowledge spurred on from parents' ownership going back to childhood. Shows like this aren't a dime a dozen and it's important that they aren't. If we can help it, we'll continue to frequent the Deutsche Classic for years to come.

The pre-album can be seen here.