BimmerLife has partnered with BBS USA to bring you stories from Monterey Car Week 2023. Stay tuned as Kyle van Hoften shares his adventures from this week-long automotive extravaganza.
If you see Kyle, or any of the other BMW CCA crew, make sure to say “Hi!” Kyle has some swag from BBS to hand out to new and renewing members. If you’d like to start or extend your BMW CCA experience, click here.
Legends provides an excellent kick-off to the fun, returning to last year’s beautiful Pacific Grove Links golf course. By 7:00 a.m., the hundreds of Mercedes, Audis, and BMWs start to be seen piercing the morning fog. That cover soon lifts to reveal views of the ocean over the hoods of the cars lining multiple fairways.
Legends, or LOTA West for the Monterey Car Week iteration, is part Concours and part car show. Participation options were split between Display and Judged categories with more than 100 cars in the three marques’ judged classes and more than 220 displayed. The event is officially hosted by the BMW Car Club of America, the Mercedes-Benz Car Club of America, and the Audi Club of North America, and draws thousands of visitors who certainly appreciate the setting and cars, but no doubt also the cost of admission—zero.
BMWs comprise two-thirds of the total cars, but there are fantastic and unique cars representing all three of these Autobahn legends. Cars range from as early as Scott and Fran Hughes’ 1934 315/1 to the latest models, including cars from BMW like an M2, X5 M Competition, and the M3 CS. Also making an appearance—in fact, its North American debut—was the brand new i5 M60 as well as the iX5 Hydrogen prototype.
The i5 M60 represents a big step for the 5 Series, now into its eighth generation. “This is first five series to be available with combustion engines, fully electric, and at a later date with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain,” BMW’s John Kelly explains, showing off the Frozen Pure Gray Metallic example on the lawn at Legends. “This car has almost 600 horsepower and goes zero to 60 in under four seconds. It is a really fantastic all-around performance car, a balance between being an executive sedan and a performance sport sedan. This car is already in production and is starting to arrive in the U.S., and we will start to resale this car at the end of October.”
While many attendees were from the surrounding Northern California region, BMWs came in from as far as Washington, Missouri, North Carolina, Florida, and Maine. Southern California was well-represented, too, including Robert Tran, who also spearheaded a fantastic gathering of ALPINA vehicles. “After a fun time at Legends last year and continuing to get tons of questions about my ALPINA B8 Touring, I thought it would be nice to organize an ALPINA corral at Legends,” Tran says. “In Europe the ALPINA Gemeinschaft (community) has gatherings all the time and I wanted to replicate that in the U.S. With the help of David Baine (fellow ALPINA enthusiast), Matt Russell from ALPINA, and the staff at BMW CCA, we orchestrated the first ALPINA gathering in the U.S. We had thirteen cars on display from 1974 all the way up through the modern B8 Gran Coupe and XB7.”
One of the many intriguing judged categories was the Preservation Class. Twenty-one-year-old Cooper Ziegenhagen, rolled into Legends from nearby Boulder Creek near Santa Cruz in a 1964 1800 Neue Klasse that he’s owned for a little more than a month. “I’ve always thought NKs were cool and wanted one for a while,” he says. “Then I saw this one and loved it. Everything is here. I talked to the previous owner a lot and learned that her son actually drove this car to high school. It was so cool learning that history and that the car has basically sat for 30 years. I’m not going to give it a restoration, but I’m going to make sure it’s road-worthy, mostly stock.”
Another Northern California attendee, Jeovany Martin, was attending for his fifth time. “I drove in about two-and-half hours from Petaluma,” Martin says while pointing out highlights on his Mystic Blue E46 M3 convertible. “The hard top is actually from a 330i and I’ve added the BBS wheels and a big brake kit along with the lip. When it comes to shows like this, it’s all about the people we meet. It’s nice sharing the car with friends and other attendees, but I really enjoy meeting so many new people the best.”
Martin was not the only one sporting BBS wheels, which might be one reason why BBS USA is presenting BimmerLife’s Car Week coverage. “Legends of the Autobahn continues to be one of the great events during Monterey Car Week,” says BBS Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Jesse Hemens. “One reason is that the cars represent every era and everything from preservation cars to restored cars to uniquely modified builds. BBS has been there right along for that historic ride. We see this represented at Legends throughout the classes in Judged and Display. It’s always great to look out on the lawn at Legends and see BBS classic wheels on the old 02s and E30s but also see our latest wheels like FI-Rs and now BBS Unlimited on modern examples.”
With the new BBS Unlimited, watch for more BBS wheels on even more cars. “BBS Unlimited is a wheel system that uses the highest quality components to provide unlimited fit, unlimited style, and unlimited value on early all five-lug vehicle platforms,” BBS provides. “Through the use of a proprietary hub adapter system, the BBS Unlimited program mates perfectly for every type of fitment possible.”
Alfredo Perez put a lot of work into customizing his own BBS wheels on his E46. It and all the other work on it paid off; he took home third place in the Tuner Class. The mods didn’t just stop at the wheels as almost every aspect of the car has been addressed, even a customized 3D-printed wireless phone charging stand in place of an a/c vent.
There was something for everyone at Legends, highlighted by an engaging group of sponsors in the middle of the fairway providing samples, sharing knowledge, and selling products, too. It continues to be praised as one of the highlights of a busy Car Week. “This is one of the Club’s cornerstone events,” adds BMW CCA Director of Marketing Jason Kazian. “We are so pleased to have returned to Pacific Grove Golf Links for another amazing rendition of the show. The membership always shines with the lineup of vehicles and brings the buzz of excitement to the event each year. I’d like to pass along our gratitude to each of our sponsors for their continued support and all the do for the members. We’re already looking forward to next year!”
Praise is certainly due to the many volunteers who arrive early and stay late, especially to volunteer coordinator Wayne Wundram, and the BMW CCA staff that does so much work for it, too.—Kyle van Hoften