I challenge you to find another automaker with a model array as varied and as different as BMW with the same kind of overarching enthusiasm woven into its core persona. My intention is not to start any arguments or to speak disparagingly about other manufacturers that make up there automotive landscape. In fact, there are plenty of other examples who conjure up a very similar type of enthusiasm from their throngs of followers, but when it comes down to the individual models and sub-models that have their own forums and communities, even Porsche and Mercedes have a tough time measuring up to the scope of BMW as a whole.
It’s within these sects of the BMW enthusiast landscape where one can indulge in some of the most refined yet personalized appreciation of individual models and the brethren they attract. While larger meets tend to offer a nice showcase of the range from 1 Series to Eight with everything else in between, prior and since having its own reserved parking, it’s the model specific events and gatherings where a special atmosphere is allowed to form.
Dorkfest, celebrating the BMW E36/8 Z3 M Coupe (or MZ3 Coupe as their website says), is a perennial gathering of one of the rarest models in the contemporary stable. In recent years, the Clown Shoe, as they are colloquially referred, has been the subject of a substantial value appreciation, with cream-of-the-crop, late-model S54-powered variants now regularly changing hands for impressive sums of money. But walking through the parking lot of BMW VDC Oxnard, the site of the 2018 edition, you’d never guess that you were in the company of some of the most valuable and coveted BMWs of certainly the past 20 years, and potentially of all time. In contrast to other select followings of different upmarket specialties, the individuals who soon filled a good portion of the parking lot with their Z’s were as widely varied in terms of background as one might hope, and the same was reflected in their cars. Museum-quality immaculate examples stood parked next to others which were heavily modified but with their own type of refinement and specialization.
Without boring you with additional extraneous colorful descriptions, enjoy these excellent photos taken by San Diego Chapter member and local automotive and motorsport photographer Travis Sterne. Find more of his work on Instagram or Flickr.—Alex Tock