San Diego is a peculiar town when it comes to BMWs. While there are pockets of neat cars throughout the United States, the southern California enclave was rife with enthusiast BMWs; on our way to film this member profile with San Diego Chapter member and BimmerLife contributor Alex Tock, we came across more than seven 335D E90 sedans, and a 3 Series Touring of the same vintage with the license plate “E916SPD” (and of course, it was a rear wheel drive LCI), plus everything from M6 Gran Coupes to street-parked survivor 2002s rubbing shoulders with Aston Martins and Ferrari Californias on posh downtown streets. So when we arrived at Tock’s home, with his multi-colored daily driver E30 and spectacularly well-kept, CPO E82 135i, the variety made sense.
As he describes it, the enthusiasm seems to come from the core of the BMW identity.
“BMW has always had their own sect in striking the balance between a practical sports car.”
As we walk around his immaculate garage, Tock breaks down the differences between the two vehicles currently sharing space in his fleet. “The BMW that got me started on the brand and got me hooked was the E30” Tock told us. That car wasn’t the current E30 in his driveway, but it made an impression.
“I always lusted after one. It was the perfect shape, the perfect size, perfectly practical, and so much fun to drive.”
But in a city brimming with enthusiast BMWs, why take the next step and join the Club? Sometimes, all it takes is one drive. For Tock, that was at a local autocross organized by the San Diego Chapter, shortly after getting his license. “I think there was an awakening” he recounted. “‘Wow, there are communities of people who buy these cars to actually drive them.’ I’d see these people in a sedan out there, the same sedan that would have a car seat in it otherwise, and they’re out there driving at ten tenths.”
“I kind of had a realization: there’s nothing that can do this like a BMW can.”
From there, Tock’s involvement with the San Diego Chapter expanded, taking advantage of all the social events, car shows, and related Chapter functions. Like so many member stories, building a network of friends and mentors in the Club happens immediately, uniting a spectrum of drivers under the common passion of BMWs, driving, and car enthusiasm in general.
With his day job at the time as an engineer, Tock found a natural interest in what makes BMW’s design and development so spectacularly unique. Acquiring through the hobby a fundamental understanding of BMWs—and being surrounded by a community interested in learning about their own cars—turned writing from a hobby of Tock’s into a potential career.
Looking through pictures of some of Alex’s past cars, it’s easy to track the development of his interest, and how the Club played a role in every car. There are autocross-prepped E36s and daily-driver E28s, and of course the modern 135i, purchased under a CPO warranty. Tock’s range of past cars explores all the facets of BMW enthusiasm and would be at home in every element of BMW CCA life.
Now, after more than ten years in the Club, Alex Tock’s passion has become his career. Writing about cars—BMW and otherwise—for a variety of print and online publications has allowed Tock to bring his knowledge of BMW history to the masses. For BimmerLife readers in particular, Tock has educated and inspired enthusiasts on everything from dash differences in E12- and E28-based E24s, to the evocative charm of the S85 V10, to the simple joys of finally getting back into your beloved BMW after a long repair, and blissfully hammering through the canyons once again.
Regardless the venue or how many years have passed, Alex Tock’s passion remains.
“Where there’s a BMW Car Club gathering, it’s a great place to be.”
Check out the video above for Tock’s perspective on the BMW Car Club of America and BMW lifestyle, and if you have any recommendations for future articles, be sure to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. —David Rose