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Old 08-16-2005, 05:23 PM   #1
The Official Bimmerfest 2005 Event Article
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posted by KrisL

Bimmerfest 2005 - Santa Barbara, CA

Fortune has smiled on the BMW dealership of Santa Barbara (formerly known as Cutter Motors).You see, for the majority of past Bimmerfest events, rain has been in the forecast. For each one of those events, a blue-and-white propeller umbrella has been magically placed over the entire area - and we’ve seen nothing but sunshine.

On Saturday April 23rd, 2005, the sixth annual Bimmerfest took place at its birth place, on the grounds of the BMW dealership of Santa Barbara, in the city of the same name. The idea of Bimmerfest began in 2000, when Jon Shafer, the previous General Sales Manager, first envisioned bringing enthusiasts together. Over the past six years, the number of attendees has more than quadrupled. The number of fine German automobiles approached one thousand, as individuals with rare or modified “cars of interest” packed into the dealer lot, leaving the rest to park at a mall only walking distance away. This is the first year that the event has been advertised in print; the day before the event, an ad was placed in the Santa Barbara local newspaper. All other event planning, registration, and coordination has happened online at

This is more than your average bimmer-bum event: The Bimmerfest team has an entire day of events planned: clinics to show you how to install the latest electronic gadget in your car, vintage and modified-class car contests, a raffle for charity, and the most fun of all, a 70-mile road rallye. If you’ve never seen several hundred Bavarians traveling down a two lane road together, you’re really missing something. The entire event --- including lunch --- is free, sponsored by BMW of Santa Barbara and the many vendors in attendance.

Registration numbers show that nearly half of attendees were BMWCCA members, with caravans of cars beginning on Friday in Seattle and working their way south. They joined others in Portland and Sacramento before joining the BayBimmerz caravan in the San Francisco Bay Area. These caravans are part of the camaraderie that makes this an entire weekend of bimmerism. Nearly a hundred cars are gathered at the In-N-Out burger joint at a caffeine-requiring 7:30AM – One day and 300 miles away from the ‘fest. Once everyone arrives at the hotel of choice in Santa Barbara, the car wash party begins. A spigot was located on the hotel grounds - and not by chance - someone had a hose in their trunk. For the next few hours, there was a line of sudsy cars in line waiting to use it. The clean cars proceeded to a local restaurant for a pre-organized pre-paid buffet dinner.

The wide variety of cars was absolutely stunning. This year, Bimmerfest featured several race cars along with their drivers in the showroom ready to answer questions or sign autographs. These cars included the TC Kline Racing ST class Z4, Automatic Racing GS class e46 M3s, Turner Motorsport GS class e46 M3, Finlay Motorsports GS class e46 M3, and the most spectacular of all – the Finlay Motorsports Daytona Prototype. From bone stock 2002s to blingin’ 6ers riding on twenty-twos, every BMW normally imported to America (and several that weren’t) was represented. Aftermarket tuners, such as Evosport, Wheelpower, Hamann, Brembo, and Steve Dinan himself (in his S3 M5 with nearly seven hundred horsepower) were all there.

The raffle featured over $12,000 in prizes, donated by Bimmerfest sponsors. These prizes included full sets of Bridgestone Toyo, and Yokohama tires, a set of Hamann rims, and full suspension systems. Wheelpower was the number one sponsor, donating over $5000 in prizes. Although tickets were only $5, attendees bought over $6000 worth, with all proceeds going to the Family Service Agency of Santa Barbara. One attendee (we’ll call him “B”), an accountant, figured out the odds based on prize value and the number of tickets sold. He purchased $500 in tickets and won almost $2000 in prizes! It may not be so easy for him next year.

The first-place “Battle of the Bimmers” vintage class was Ron Perry with his gorgeous E28 M5. The best modified class car was Vijay Patel’s E46 330i, with the “Best of Show” award going to Taber Schroeder in his gullwing E46 M3. A trophy was also given for the individual that traveled the farthest: one woman trekked nearly 1900 miles from Edmonton, Alberta Canada to attend one of the largest BMW gatherings in North America.

The road rallye is what everyone not-so-patiently waits for during the entire event. Cars are led up “the 101” for approximately 20 miles where they line up on an exit-then-entrance ramp. Once everyone has arrived, they proceed up the freeway to highway 154, a 2-lane road that curves through the beautiful Santa Ynez Mountains back into Santa Barbara. Law enforcement officers have known about Bimmerfest for months, so they’re on patrol keeping everyone safe. As onlookers stood at a Vista Point on highway 154 photographing cars, all they could think was, “will this ever end??” For what must have been nearly 20 minutes, the roar of exhausts, the whine of superchargers, and the growl of intakes flew by.

After the event has concluded, most proceed down to the happenin’ strip in Santa Barbara, State Street, for dinner, drinks, and dancing. If you live local, you return home from a long fun-filled day on Saturday night. The BayBimmerz caravan returned north along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway on Sunday morning, stopping at several locations to take pictures. Pismo Beach was one of the stops, where for only $5, you can drive your car onto the only beach in California that allows it.

Among my favorite cars at the ‘fest were the Techno Violet E34 M5 Touring (owned by Jaime Manca Graziadei) brought over from Italy, and the Rogue Engineering’s E46 Touring with an E46 M3 drivetrain transplant (owned by Ralph Warren) which was also featured in the April ’05 issue of Roundel.

Pictures and article by Kris Linquist (

Last edited by KrisL; 10-20-2005 at 11:45 AM..
This article has been viewed 13302 times.
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Old 10-19-2005, 09:48 PM
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Jon Shafer Jon Shafer is offline
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Excellent write-up Kris! Your pictures are amazing, and the copy first class...

Thanks for an awesome report!!
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Old 10-20-2005, 11:55 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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For those of you that like that rallye picture, here's a high resolution (1600x1200) version for your background (230k):
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