1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Lime Rock Historics Part II: Moss and Me

It is with great pleasure and excitement that I am writing this post today about my adventure at Lime Rock Park yesterday, where I had my second encounter with the eminent Sir Stirling Moss, and this time, I also got to meet the lovely, gracious and charming Lady Susie Moss!

Here they are together:
Sir Stirling Moss takes Lady Susie Moss out for a spin!
Lime Rock Park

August 30, 2014
"On Saturday as well, Moss drove around the Lime Rock track with Lady Susie by his side before the start of the afternoon races. According to Lime Rock, Moss was supposed to drive about two laps of the track but ended up driving four.
"Sir Stirling Moss and Lady Susie took four hot laps -- two more than planned," reads a release from Lime Rock officials. "We couldn't get them to pit!" the release quips. Moss drove the O.S.C.A. MT4b in which he won the Sebring 12 Hour race in 1954. At Lady Susie's urging, Lime Rock said, he took the extra, "spirited" laps.
Fans visiting the Lime Rock Historic Festival had a chance to meet motor sport royalty over the weekend -- and they were treated royally by this couple in return."
http://www.examiner.com/article/historics-sir-stirling-moss-charms-lime-rock-park-fans
I am delighted to present for you here the pic and the excerpt above from the examiner.com coverage, because I think they have really captured not only the spirit of the event, but the spirit of the two Honored Guests:  Sir Stirling and Lady Susie Moss.  60 years ago, Sir Moss drove that exact car to the Sebring 12 Hour Championship! Lady Susie is just beaming!

So, on with our story!  Some readers may recall that we had an adventure two years ago with Sir Stirling Moss:  The Quest to have Sir Moss sign my copy of the "Car Test"  that he wrote about the 1979 BMW 323i Baur.  Yes, that is correct:  Sir Stirling Moss wrote a car review of the BMW TC1 Baur for a British magazine back in 1979!  I have attached a link to that story below.*  Please check it   out, it was great fun!

When I heard that Sir Moss was returning to Lime Rock for this year's event, I was initially at a loss for something to have him autograph, especially since my previous autograph was hard to top! 

On the morning of the event, as I was packing to leave for the 97 mile trip to the Park, it suddenly came to me in a flash that I DID have a way to 'top' that previous autograph!  I have the PERFECT item for Sir Moss to sign, and one that was sure to bring a smile to his face!

One of Sir Moss' most famous achievements was his record-setting win in the 1955 Mille Miglia, where he set the speed record which still stands.  He was accompanied on that legendary 1000-mile run by his navigator, the famed British automotive journalist, Denis "Jenks' Jenkinson.  Jenks' account of that incredible race remains, in my opinion, the single best piece of automotive journalism that I have ever read.   (Link here**.)  So, my hope was to have Sir Moss sign something that would reunite Moss and Jenks on this 59th Anniversary of their famous achievement!  

And I have just the thing!  ;)

I was determined that this time I would not suffer the fate I suffered the last time I sought his autograph:  I got to the autograph line AFTER the line had been capped!  Event staff would not allow me to join the line, so I had to get crafty and 'finesse' my way to the front----in the process proving once more that youth and enthusiasm is no match for old age and cunning!  It worked last time, but I did NOT want to go through all that again!

I checked and saw that Sir Moss would begin signing autographs at noon near the Awards Table.  So at 10:30am, I left my group of friends to seek out the location of this 'Awards Table', and to position myself as near to the table as I could to make sure that I would not be denied!  

I headed over toward the main straight on the track, and began asking Event Staff along the way if they knew exactly where Moss would be signing autographs.  Real men DO ask directions.... damn the torpedoes, I will find that table!  ;)  No one seemed to know the exact location, but they all seemed to indicate that if I just went over near the main building at the finish line I would find it.  This is the one:

So, as I approached this building I spotted a golf cart parked alongside it.  There were several people in the cart, but what I noticed is that two of them were in dressed black 'Lime Rock Event Staff" shirts, sporting lanyards with identification tags.  The two men were appropriately 'senior-looking', i.e., and I thought these are the guys that will have the answer!  They will know where I need to be!

As I neared the cart, the one gentleman (pictured below) turned to meet my approach.  I said, "Excuse me, can you tell me where Sir Stirling......."   And I stopped mid-sentence as I looked into the cart to see none other than .... Sir Stirling Moss seated 'shotgun' and his wife, Lady Susie Moss seated behind him!  I quickly recovered and proceeded with my sentence ".... where Sir Stirling Moss will be signing autographs?"  I couldn't believe my luck to have stumbled upon The Man himself like this!  Lady Susie, quickly apprising the humor of the situation, nudges Sir Stirling very playfully, and says," I don't know, Fred, do you know where he will be?"  

By this time, we are all laughing, because it is obvious that I had very genuinely not seen Sir Stirling and Lady Susie until that very moment!   I was focused on the guys in the Lime Rock shirts!  Well we all had a nice laugh, and I suppose I could have taken the opportunity to ask him for the autograph then.   I thought about doing that but ....  I decided that they were so naturally gracious and funny, given the circumstances, that I did not want to take advantage of my dumb luck in stumbling upon their privacy, and I said I would see them at the signing place.  I took this picture as I departed their company.






This is the same pic as above, zoomed and focused on Sir Stirling and Lady Susie.  I have to say that, meeting them as I did in the most serendipitous way,  I liked them immediately.  

But.... it doesn't end there!

Believe it or not, even those folks weren't quite sure where the autograph session was to take place, but they suggested that if I just hang around this main pavilion, it will become clear as the time approaches.  So, I took their advice, for a few minutes anyway, and then decided that, since lunch time was approaching, I should probably grab a bite to eat, so that I would be all set for the noon signing session. 

Fortuitous thinking!

So I took walk to the main refreshment stand near the track, and took my place in the long  line.  A few moments later, another couple joined me at the back of the line, and I detected a distinct British accent.  I turned to find none other than Lady Susie Moss directly in line behind me!  I said hello, and she immediately recognized me as the guy whom they had just spoken to in the golf cart about the autograph signing location!  She was escorted by the guy you saw with the ascot in the pic above.    I thanked her for her earlier graciousness, and I told her I had a special reason for wanting to get Sir Stirling's autograph.  She was curious to know why, and so I asked if she knew who Denis Jenkinson was. "Oh, of course", she said.  "Jenks."   I then showed her the back of my Baurspotting t-shirt, which has a quote from Denis Jenkinson.  And I said that this was my favorite 'Jenks' quote".   She read it and laughed, and said, "Oh, he will love this.  Of course he will sign it."  To say that I was thrilled to hear this would be a gross understatement!   ;)  

Here is the reverse of the t-shirt that I was wearing:
I love this quote!  And I can't quite believe that I may have the opportunity to share it with Sir Stirling Moss himself!  I never thought that this could happen!

We remained in the food line for 10 or 15 minutes, during which time we had the most pleasant exchanges.  Lady Moss was escorted by the fella that you saw in the pic above with the ascot.  I regret that I did not get his name, but he was very nice, and very accommodating to Lady Moss.  She  initially misread the chalkboard of lunchtime offerings.  She thought it read "crab yogurt" when it actually read "Chobani yogurt".  That gave rise to a series of jokes from all of us, ...... I mean really, crab yogurt?  It was really quite funny.  

As for me,I was really quit thrilled to be standing in line with Lady Moss, and to be having such a natural, and funny, chat with her.  She reminded me very much of Judi Dench, or I should say: Dame Judi Dench, the esteemed British actress.  Frankly, she was absolutely natural, friendly, and charming.  I loved her, and I am grateful for having the opportunity to share a few funny moments with her.  

Check out this link for more on what a charming couple they are.  It is absolutely true!  
http://www.examiner.com/article/historics-sir-stirling-moss-charms-lime-rock-park-fans

Sir Moss signing autographs at the Awards Table




The pics above were taken as I waited in line for my turn.  

When my turn came, I presented him with the t-shirt showing the 'Jenks' quote.  I explained to him that it was my favorite quote from his friend, Jenks, and that I would be honored if he would autograph it.   He looked first at me, and then proceeded to read the quote.  He distinctly chuckled as he read it, and I could see him smile.  He then signed it without hesitation.  And here it is:
There you can see his signature "Sir Moss" in the lower right of the pic.  

So, after 59 years, what you see above is the reunification of navigator Denis "Jenks' Jenkinson, with Sir Stirling Moss, the driver of the World Record-setting team in the 1955 Mille Miglia!  

You don't get this stuff anywhere else, folks!   

I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have had this amazing opportunity.  

But I know why it happened.  It all goes back to the same aphorism:  the harder you work, the luckier you get!  This adventure could be the poster child for that aphorism.  I was working hard to get this autograph, and all the rest just fell into place.   Mom, you were right:  I AM living a charmed life.  And I am eternally grateful for every moment of it. 

The pics below were taken just after Sir Moss signed my items, as I stood next to the signing table.



Here is another account of Sir Moss' visit to Lime Rock:
http://www.examiner.com/article/historics-sir-stirling-moss-charms-lime-rock-park-fans


Sir Moss awarding the trophy to the Best In Show winner.


Lady Susie Moss.   

My Favorite Pic of The Day!


This pic was taken after the Awards ceremony.  I wanted to tell her that she was right about Moss liking the quote etc.  I waited until she was free, moments after this pic, and she very graciously remembered me, and asked if I had been able to get my autograph!  When I answered in the affirmative, her response was.... and I quote, " Oh I am so glad to hear that. I so love happy endings."

  Totally gracious, charming and endearing.  

Ok, let's just come right out and say it:  I loved this Lady.  




Sir Stirling autographing a car for one of the participants.

At this moment, he was totally surrounded by the crowd, me among them, pressing in upon him, but he was totally unfluttered.  Didn't bother him a bit.  

Signing another autograph as he was departing in the golf cart.  Gracious, friendly and accommodating to the last.  

Gotta love this guy.  



And here is my prized memento from today's encounter with Sir Moss:   
You will notice one slight difference in this pic from the very similar pic in the post above:  Sir Stirling Moss has signed my t-shirt in the lower right of this pic.  I will treasure this, and probably frame it! Thank you, Sir Stirling Moss!


That quote is from Denis 'Jenks' Jenkinson, the famed automotive journalist who was Moss's navigator in their famous victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia.  Moss set a World Record in that 1000 mile run, averaging 97 mph over 1000 miles of public roads, through towns and cities, finishing about 30 minutes ahead of their nearest competitor.  The record still stands, partly because the race was banned a few years later, after a horrific crash killed a number of spectators.  

**Jenks' account of that race remains my favorite piece of automotive journalism ever, bar none.  It is a fantastic story, and you can find it here:  
http://baurspotting.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-greatest-piece-of-automotive.html


It is Denis 'Jenks' Jenkinson's first-hand account of his experience as the navigator in the Mercedes 300SLR driven to record-setting victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia by Stirling Moss.   Mille Miglia:  1000 miles over normal Italian roads, through towns and cities, averaging over 97 mph, and cruising large sections at 170mph!


Sound pretty incredible?  It IS incredible!  Do yourself a favor:  stop whatever else you are doing, and read this account.  You can thank me later. 

;)

Oh, and btw, this is another pic of Denis Jenkinson:

                    Caption:

Eric Oliver and Denis Jenkinson, inaugural sidecar world champions, 1949.

  Jenks is the gentleman ..... closest to the ground!  ;)  

*Here is a previous Baurspotting post on Sir Stirling from two years ago, when I embarked on my Quest to get his signature on a copy of the "Car Test' that he wrote in 1979 on the 1979 BMW 323i BAUR!  Yes, Moss himself reviewed a Baur!  
http://baurspotting.blogspot.com/2012/09/baurspotting-at-lime-rock-historics_12.html

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