Reliving New England Car Shows At The Larz Anderson Auto Museum

Boston, Massachusetts is the founding city of the BMW CCA. Founded in 1969 by local BMW drivers (including founding members like Bob Mehrman, Joe Chamberlain, Michael Izor, and more), the club’s origins can be traced directly to this city by the Charles. As time went by, these roots in the BMW CCA, and New England’s passion for rare and unique automobiles, allowed Boston to develop its own car community.

The origins of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts date back to the mid-nineteenth century with Larz and Isabel Anderson, who built the now-historic structure. As it sits, the museum and its collection occupy Anderson’s original carriage house. On the ground level, the building is home to the museum’s permanent collection of vehicles, and to yearly-rotating exhibits upstairs. These exhibitions highlight wide-ranging facets of car culture; from Carrera GTs to the art-deco designs of the roaring ’20s, there’s always something to learn about on the second floor.

While the museum has been holding outdoor events for years, it’s the weekend-morning Lawn Events (which take place throughout the summer) that have gained popularity. These include German Car Day, held every Father’s Day, but also Italian Car Day, Swedish Car Day, and others throughout the year; by offering enthusiasts their own days, one could say Larz Anderson has become a mecca for New England car culture.

But one of the Museum’s most well-attended events is the annual BMW CCA Day, held in late August. Drawing Bimmer-heads from across the region, BMW CCA Day brings together an incredibly diverse group of Bavarian automobiles, ranging from the 507 and numerous E9 coupes, to rarities like the Z1. While the event is popular within New England, its diversity, quality, and atmosphere make it a worthwhile destination for anyone with an interest in BMWs, no matter how far the drive.

I attended my first Larz Anderson event in May of 2014. Since then I have watched the events exceed the capacity of the grounds, moving further up the hill that marks the peak of the Larz Anderson Park. While the museum grounds offer a unique (and sometimes challenging) layout for event organizers and attendees, much of the lawn parking rests on a hill, and rear-wheel-drive cars mixed with damp grass often make for a lively combination. Thankfully, the staff have entry and exit down to a science—a result of their frequent events and a wide range of cars that have been displayed on the museum grounds. Seemingly every weekend the museum hosts a different club or vehicle, offering something for everyone (and Boston Police-sanctioned acceleration opportunities leaving the museum always help).

Some of my most fond summer memories are spent here, with great cars, great people, and (of course) great coffee. From young photographers, hot-rodders, supercar spotters, and everyone in between, the Larz Anderson Museum acts as a melting pot for everyone with common—or uncommon—automotive interests.—Tucker Beatty

[Photos and story courtesy Tucker Beatty.]

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