The Phoenix goes to Monterey
This is a little story about special little BMW 320i, and it's epic trip to the 2016 Monterey Car Week.
A few days before the Monterey Car Week started, we made the decision to go to this years Monterey Car Week. So the first thing we did was called Curves Ahead (transport company) and Peter Pan BMW Service (near the San Francisco Int. Airport) to schedule the shipping of the Phoenix 320. My son and I would fly out later to take delivery of the Phoenix 320, and then drive down to Monterey CA to attend and experience Car Week. This year there was something special going on that we felt was worth attending, the BMW 100 celebration. Although many think of me as a Porsche guy, I'm also a BMW enthusiast, so I was truly looking forward to seeing and visiting with other BMW enthusiasts. We also planned to attend several auctions and other car events.
To back up a little, in 2014 we came across this little orange 1977 BMW 320i. The BMW turned out to be a special car, not your common 320i. With only 36,XXX miles, original condition and in a special (somewhat rare) Phoenix orange color, which is why we call it the "Phoenix". The first model year for the BMW 3-series was 1977, with production starting in 1976. This 320 was produced in 10/76. From our limited research, the color Phoenix is a rare one-year color for the North American market.
The first stop, after picking up the Phoenix 320 at the Peter Pan service center, was a California icon, In-N-Out Burger. The funny thing is my son and I ate at In-N-Out everyday of our seven days in California. I guess you could say it was typical guy thing to do.
After lunch, we headed south to Monterey and the Mazda Raceway (Laguna Seca) via HWY 1. We had a great drive, yet at the same time, I was a little concerned for the Phoenix. The Phoenix wasn't used to the fast pace of the California traffic, but once we got closer to Monterey the more I could enjoy the sites and the drive.
When we arrived at the Mazda Raceway, we were excited and ready for some fun. The first fun thing to do at the Raceway was set up our home for the week. The color of the tent wasn't planned, but it was a nice match.
The nice thing about camping is enjoying the cool nights. It's easy to sleep when it is cool, but the wet fog is not ideal. Nice, but it's hard to think summer time when it feels and looks like fall. Every morning we were greeted with this thick fog. Camping at the raceway is great for fully experiencing the racing scene. Neighbors can be a concern, but for us the neighbors were great. Met some new friends. Two of our neighbors were motor sports journalists and we became good friends.
One thing about car people is their willingness to help out another enthusiasts. We didn't receive our tickets for the Historic Races from the BMWCCA before we left Arkansas, but by chance while having our daily meal at In-N-Out we met someone from the BMWCCA that quickly assisted us in locating our tickets. Very cool and great friend.
The following are some photos of the events and cars we saw during our week. I will post photos from the events in another post. For this post we will show the Phoenix and some of the places it went. In the following photos, you can see the Phoenix exploring the 17-Mile drive, parking at the BMW corral at the raceway, showing off at the Legends of the Autobahn, and more.
The thing that surprised me the most about the Phoenix was the interest and thumbs up from so many. I joke about the BMW being treated like a super car in the photo above, but the truth is when other supercar owners, as well as the general public, gave the Phoenix a thumbs up or "nice car" call out is was truly surprising. My son found the interest very interesting and sometimes funny. Such as, when the Phoenix was behind a Porsche 918 and two guys gave the little Phoenix two thumbs up and a call out like the 918 wasn't even there.
As the week went on we found ourselves taking less photos of the Phoenix and instead enjoy the moment.