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.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Paul Wegweiser's F-Bomb and Blog

Paul Wegweiser's F Bomb

Today I was reading the 2002faq thread about the changes in the new issue of the Roundel (BMW CCA magazine).  The reaction to these changes within the '02 crowd, and probably the vintage BMW owners in general, was..... not good.  The general consensus was that Roundel was responding to the changing demographics and the other pressures hitting the print magazines these days, which seem to be relegating the vintage enthusiast's to a back burner. Several folks noted the diminished role that some of our favorite columnists would be playing in the future.   It is similar to what I experienced at Bimmerfest East 2011:  the industry seems to be catering more and more to the newer models--- where the money is, naturally, at the expense of the vintage enthusiast's.  I can't really blame these folks for the trend.... they too are struggling to stay alive and relevant.... and to put food on their tables.  I say this as I glance over at the cover of the current NEWSWEEK:  a black and white photo of the Newsweek building and the blaring headline" #LAST PRINT ISSUE"!   It is a Brave New World out there, folks, and more changes are coming.  Anyway, in the course of perusing that thread, I came across a comment by Paul Wegweiser, and it included a link to his blog.  I do not know Paul personally, but I have certainly heard a lot about him... and all of what I had heard was quite positive, if not downright adulatory at times.  The most famous story I had read about him was the legendary night at the Vintage in North Carolina, where he blew a head gasket in the F Bomb as he was about to leave.  Paul and Ben Thongsai proceeded to change the head gasket overnight in the hotel parking lot! By hand, in candlelight, and in the middle of a hurricane!  With one hand tied behind his back!Ok, I made that last part up BUT..... this is the stuff that legends are made of!  They actually finished it in less than two hours, apparently!  Paul BUNYAN couldn't have done this, but Paul Wegweiser did!  Not only was this an amazing mechanical Tour de Force, but it was also an amazing example of community, camaraderie, and just the old-fashioned neighborliness of the folks in this car hobby.  So, now you know a little bit about Paul Wegweiser, and that may be all you need to know about him.  That is how he rolls.  But that isn't why I am writing this post about him.  No folks, there is more.  You see, Paul arrived at that hotel for the Vintage driving a 1972 BMW 2002 known as the F-Bomb, aka whispering bomb.... and received a standing ovation--- by his own account below----- on his arrival at the event hotel!  Why, you might well ask?  THAT is why I am writing this blog post about him!  It turns out that Paul has a certain philosophy about that car, which I didn't know about until I read HIS blog post about the F-Bomb.  And I find that I share that same philosphy.I love these cars, and I love the experience of driving them.  All the time.  The cosmetics, the pretty paint, and that sort of thing hold less interest for me than taking them out and putting them through their paces.  The way the BMW gods intended.  That probably explains why I have 8 of them in varying stages of restoration--- or not!--- instead of just one or two in Concours D'Elegance trim.  It may well be that I do not have the time, the money, or the interest--- or the time LEFT on this mortal coil---- to do anything except try to keep them in reasonably good repair and drive the hell out of them!  And I am fine with that.  And, at least in the case of the F bomb, it seems that Paul Wegweiser is fine with that also.So, getting back to the story... I read Paul's comment in the Roundel criticism thread, clicked on his link and discovered this blog post about his F Bomb.  I loved it, and I am reposting it here in its entirety to share with you.  I have included a link to Paul's blog, and I encourage you to go there and ... drink your fill!Congrats to Paul on that F Bomb, on his blog and for giving us such a great story that night with the head gasket job!   You represent the best of what we all love about the car hobby!  KUDOS, Paul!
For an account of this head gasket adventure, see Marc Caden's  "Traditions"article on page 20  of Der Bayerische here:http://db.nccbmwcca.org/2012/2012_0910.pdfThe following piece is excerpted from Paul's Blog:  Paul Wegweiser's Automotive Sideshow (link below):Wednesday, June 27, 2012

“I want Rock N Roll but…I don’t want to deal with the hassle” – Superdrag

It’s called baggage…and I don’t want any. Not in my cars. Not in the cars upon which I labor. Baggage takes many forms, but it seems most commonly rooted in vanity and insecurity. 

Like someone afraid of heights that decides to parachute from an airplane….i’ve taken the plunge in facing down my own accumulated cargo. Knowingly. Thoughtfully. And with a little help from my friends.

Some of you have heard through various forms of electro-media about my rescue of a dilapidated 1972 BMW from a barn last spring. I’ve written a couple published articles about it, but never really came clean about the attraction or delight that this machine brought in to my life. In some ways, it was the answer to a very substantial and burning true desire: To have a vehicle that offers me the sounds, smells, and tactile highs of a truly connected sports car experience without the stress of cosmetic beauty or the shallow, often ego driven pursuit of perfection.

Simply stated: I wanted a tight, fast little shitbox I could bomb around in while having a riotously good goddamn time! Fuck. Yes.

Over the last 25+ years, I’ve owned about a dozen old BMW 2002s.  Nice ones, fast ones, ugly ones, rusty ones. All of them a total BLAST to drive down the road on a cool summer morning. What I really wanted this time, was a 2002 broken down in to it’s core elements. Steering wheel, shifter, suspension, engine noises, speed, heartiness. 

Paint? Who cares? As long as it runs like a scared bunny and handles like a go kart, I’m pretty much the proverbial pork source in dung heap.

What makes this vehicle for my affection so satisfying is that it exists on many levels.

1.   It is a vessel for karma. The car was given to me (after being parked behind a barn for 14 years) by a previous owner that was so thrilled to have it saved, that she paid for my license plates and insurance for 3 months, while I restored the mechanical gear on it. To this day she has never asked for a cent from me. It’s inaugural 7 hour drive to North Carolina for the annual Vintage BMW meet (a mere 8 weeks after I dragged it from the weeds!) was met with a standing ovation and cheers as I pulled in to the parking lot of the event hotel. It has nothing to do with how clean the carpet is. How smooth the body panels are, or how flawlessly polished the chrome is. it’s far deeper than that. It’s about having HEART.

2.   People on many occasions have somehow found my mailing address and sent me much needed spare parts for the rebuild of it’s key systems. Rarely if ever accepting money in return.

3.   The car makes others smile. That is probably what brings me the most satisfaction. Somehow all this positive energy is transferred through the thing. Crowds gather around it while I’m eating dinner in a restaurant. Crowds gather around it at car shows….at racetracks…at malls…at grocery stores. I’ve had “nice” old BMWs before, but this one garners more attention than any pristine or restored car I’ve ever driven. I’m not sure what that says about the car, me, or other humans. It goes back to something I’ve always said about art and writing:

If it’s real and sincere…your audience will KNOW it. If it’s bullshit or based on your desperate need to be noticed, you’ll lose their attention quickly. These are inherent qualities that somehow get integrated in to “objects” by those that touch them.

I’ve driven it countless miles in the last year. 

Really- I mean it! The odometer didn’t work for the first 14 months! I’ve bombed my way from Pittsburgh PA to Winston-Salem NC (twice), Hartford CT, Baltimore MD, Lexington OH, Lime Rock CT, and take her on daily high speed jaunts down I-79 to Pittsburgh every few days. I redline it weekly and she often hits triple digit speeds when conditions allow.

Her name: The F Bomb. A nod to the German automotive press’ reaction to these little rats back in 1968, in which they referred to this model as the “Flusternde Bombe” aka “Whispering Bomb”. You see, they were true giant killers in their time. You never saw ‘em coming…(and I’ll add David E Davis’ 1968 ‘Car and Driver’ comment here) ”…til they sucked your headlights out”.

I’d been hesitant and a bit lazy about mentioning the F Bomb on this blog until now. There’s so much to write that I often didn’t know where to begin. I’m going to work on that. Stay tuned! 

Photo Credit: The magnificent Mr Gary Streiner.

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