Senior Six Registry E3 Octoberfest West 1999

Subject: <modest report> E3 Fest West at the Monterey Historics
Date: Tue, 31 Aug 1999
From: William Gau <william@seniorsix.org>

To all:

After a long journey back from Monterey (1,500 miles round trip?) I am still trying to recover from a whirlwind weekend of cars, cars, people, racing, and more cars.

To recount, the SSR tally at Monterey is as follows:

1) Jim Bartridge - '69 2500 - Sacremento, CA
2) Richard Bell - '72 Bavaria - Claremont, CA
3) Jonathan Bush - '72 Bavaria - Sausalito, CA
4) Matthew Erkinger - '76 3.0 Si - Monterey, CA
5) William Gau - '73 Bavaria - Mesa, AZ
6) John Hamann - '73 Bavaria - Santa Rosa, CA
7) Michael Harper - '72 Bavaria - San Anselmo, CA
8) Tom Jones (and his parents - Rich and Iva) - '69 (or '70) 1600 - Kensington, CA
9) Larry Klein - '72 Bavaria - Fullerton, CA
10) William Merriken - '73 3.0 S - Sun Valley, CA
11) Walt Pearce - '73 Bavaria - Friday Harbor, WA
12) Vasco Rodriquez - '75 3.0 Si - Signal Hill, CA
13) Pete Schoenenberger - '72 Bavaria - Modesto, CA
14) Michael Splivalo - '73 Bavaria - Fresno, CA
15) Fred Von Lemke - '70 2800 - Roseville, CA
16) Tony Wright - '76 3.0 Si - Oakland, CA

We had two no-shows . . . Denis Tillemans (of Big Pine, CA - where were you!?) and Scott Brylow (long-time member of the SSR . . . forgot to renew his driver's license . . . D'oh!) Also, a red E3 was there (parked between Pete Schoenenberger's Motronic Bavaria and Michael Splivalo's Black Bavaria (very, very nice car, btw.). WHO OWNED this car?! I thought I met everyone and looked at all the cars and lo and behold, there it is in the photo and I can't remember anything about it.

Anyway . . .

The E3 Fest West '99 in conjunction with the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca came off without a hitch. Organized by Jim Bartridge (noble coordinator of the SSR) it was a low-key affair which finally got many West Coast members of the SSR together for the first time.

NOT ALL members had their cars in the Corral (Vasco Rodriquez, for one) and not all were there both days (Tony Wright showed up with his almost PERFECT 3.0 Si on Sunday, when most of the members had disappeared!).

Again, this event was low-key and the focus was really on the Monterey Historics (my first) which has to be the premeire vintage event of the country. HOLY MACKEREL!! Within the last 3 years, I have taken a great interest in vintage and historic race cars, so attending the Historics was like visiting Mecca! Every kind of car imaginable (CAN AM, Ferarri TRs, vintage F1 cars, older Alfas, etc.) were all present and all hauling ass around the track! What a sight to see a perfect Jaguar D-type and a 250 Testa Rosa locking horns around the Andretti Hairpin!

The turn out for our little chunk of the Corral was great . . . we actually had more E3s than there were stock 6 series (not counting the M6 cars!). Keith Wollenberg, the Golden Gate Chapter organizer, made it absolutely painless and was very accomodating. Was avoided by most of the other BMW crowd, except for a few creepy Coupe people, which reminded me how creepy Coupe people can be.

My trip to Monterey was less than uneventful, the details of which I will not bore you with. Let's just say Southern California is hotter than 42 hells, and although my car does very well in the heat, I would have preferred to get my A/C charged before I left.

As an aside, there were a number of historical BMWs racing at Monterey as well, Vasak Polak's 2002, as well as two full race CSLs. No matter how glorious we think our BMWs are, it was a sound reminder that they aren't very fast . . . Jonathan Bush and I watched the CSLs get ABSOLUTELY KILLED by the Cobras, GT-40s, Corvettes, Lolas, etc. Just a nice reminder that the glorious CSLs were only relatively so :^) Similarly, the 2002 Tis struggled to keep up with the other Trans Am cars, Challenger T/As, Boss 302 Mustangs, Javelins, etc.

On the way back going down Hwy 101, I had Vasco Rodriquez sneak up behind me around some creepy little town called San Luis Abysmal or something like that . . . he set a brisk pace which I was a little hesitant to keep up with (fear of cops, no gas, bad front shocks) and the last I saw of him, he was barrelling along with a Porsche 911 SC into the darkness at about 110mph.

Also, special thanks for Larry Klein for giving me a place to rest on the way back . . . I broke the return trip up between two days since I would have been crossing the desert at nite, which might have been better for the car but not for me if I had to stop and actually SEE anything under the hood.

No plans so far for E3 Fest West 2000, but Jim Bartridge mentioned having perhaps two events a year, since getting together is so interesting.

We'll see. Glad everyone who made it could make it.

William Gau


Subject: Monterey
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 1999
From: Jonathan Bush <amhik@earthlink.net>

No doubt.

- 14 E3s in the corral on Saturday, with one or two scattered in the public lots.
- meeting people and now having faces with all those disconnected electronic voices.
- finally seeing the Gau turbo monster in person.
- some yummy lunch on Saturday in the Golden Gate Chapter.
- my father walking into said tent and saying, loudly, "There better be a fucking beer in here somewhere!"
- more vintage cars than possible.
- more vintage racing than possible.
- nobody died.

Random trip notes:
1. After a large dinner Saturday night with about half of the E3 corral folks, Dr. Harper and myself (and entourage) ran hard down the PCH some 26 miles to the campsite. At night. In the fog. Nebel apparently is the German word for "I make the other side of the car look like it has a taillight out." Right, Herr Dr.?

2. Jim and Gigi Bartridge, and Jim's sister and brother-in-law Fred Von Lemke, and Chris (girlfriend) and I drove down at dark-o-stupid-o'clock, even after my alarm didn't go off. Three E3s running about 80mph, mostly in the left lane. Who got pulled over? The blue Mitsubishi Eclipse that was niche-carving through traffic in San Jose. At one point earlier, we had a badly repainted black Prelude running as the blocker car, alternately cutting off me and Jim over and over on an empty highway. According to Gigi, the guy was drinking something out of a paper sack. Given his talents behind the wheel, I believe it.

3. Speaking of camping, this was the first time for Chris and me. We used most of Dr. Harper's equipment (thanks again!), which made it pretty damn civilized. That, and being 100 feet from the bathroom, which had running water and scalding hot showers. Dr. Gau camped with us. Now THAT is an experience not to be missed. That guy makes some WICKED coffee! I'm still twitching (from the coffee, not William).

4. We didn't see many cool cars driving down to Monterey, nor on the roads immediately around Laguna Seca. On the way back, however, there were Ferraris, Cobras, Alfas, Bimmers, etc. all over the place. If the Coupe person who flashed me (the white Bavaria) on Route 1 is out there, hello!

5. Racing. Christ, if you weren't there or have never seen the vintage races, you cannot imagine what it's like. Can-Am cars duking it with CSLs and GT40s. Aston Martin DBR1 battling with pontoon-fendered 50s Ferraris and big-block Cobras. Thundering Trans-Am road racing cars, with a 1970 Dodge Challenger and an AMX Javelin thrown into the more common Mustangs and Camaros. So cool. So unreal.

6. The paddock. The nice thing about most vintage events is you can walk around the racing paddock, where all the mechanics and cars are. Sometimes, the personal cars in the paddock are more drool-worthy than the track cars. Two shining examples: A Fly Yellow Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART, and a deep blue Ferrari 250GT Lusso. Repeat after me: must get rich; must get rich...

Thanks everyone who showed up and made it the best WestFest yet. Since Jim is talking about there being more than one WestFest in the near future, I'm sure we'll all get together again soon.

Jonathan Bush


Subject: Monterey
Date: Fri, 3 Sep 1999
From: Jim Bartridge <tridge@cwnet.com>

What a fantastic weekend! Gigi and I drove to San Francisco Friday eve w/o AC and went directly to the Brylow compound in San Bruno. Although I've been there several times, and been stuck there at night, I have never driven there at night. I got lost. In the hood. Gigi was laughing at me. Harassing me. Giving me directions. I should have listened, she was right... I'm not telling here that, but I will admit it here...

Scott and Andrea hosted a great little BBQ, and Gigi and I tried to learn a little about parenting and "quiet time." We're debating having a little monster of our own eventually, and the Brylows are great role models to learn from. Only when we arrived were we informed that WG has broken down in hell (that's Bakersfield for those of you who know and love California). After some fantastic burgers and veggie shishkebobs we returned to the city. The car was doing great, but my luck is usually very different each year going to Monterey. As luck goes, something was bound to happen.

The next morning, coming out of the garage, we met Fred and Eloise and headed off to the ocean to meet Jonathan. Who called on our way there. We stopped for pastries to waste some time (only five minutes!). Jonathan called again only a few minutes later --- he was at the ocean, where were we? The coast of California is long, he parked at one end, we were at the other. Maybe 1/2 mile away? He ripped in with Max and Chris, and Max is VERY VERY FAST now... I'm jealous. I want a bigger engine. 3.3 or 3.5? Maybe in a year or two? I hear the 3.3 has more torque? Any thoughts on the pros and cons of either engine would be great. I will not be doing fuel injection, I'm sure.

Did I mention Max is fast? Jonathan was hard to keep up with until he started to obey the speed limit. I was close on his tail after that, and Fred settled into place behind me as we started the caravan, never pushing his immaculate and very stock, very original 2800... It was a good run. How ironic that a Prelude was being a pest to Jonathan --- it must have been the way everyone felt that first year along the coast when Jonathan was zipping along in his own Prelude as the chase car... The guy was drunk, too, which made him dangerous, so we stayed away. He finally disappeared and we continued our run.

Around San Jose, where we picked up the pace a bit, a little blue Mitsubishi was driving like an idiot, weaving in and out of the light traffic... It was somewhere in there, on those very smooth, very new freeways funded by the riches of Silicon Valley, that the idiot in the Mitsubishi was pulled over by the San Jose Police.

It was also about there that one of my front Konis gave out, with the right front of my car bottoming out. I have Suspension Techniques springs, and 14" coupe wheels, so the car is pretty low in the front. Once the strut gave out I was forced to slow down. Thank God for those tow hooks or whatever they are under the front. The right one is bent to hell now, so I'll have to beat it back with a sledge hammer and paint it soon. New struts arrived yesterday from Jim @ MESA, and I hope to get them in ASAP, but it will likely be some time before I can do so...

To watch 14 E3s pulling into Monterey was a dream... Four years ago I came to Monterey in an E3 and didn't see another one anywhere when I happened upon the Corral. This year, as promised, we had our own area to park: right next to the Ferraris and behind the coupes. We had E3s two rows deep, 7 in each row, before the day was out... What a goofy bunch of folks we are!!! Walt Pearce especially cracked me up --- he bought a strut brace from Pete and put in on right there in the Corral !!! And Erk? I don't even know how his car made it to the show running like it was... Pete and Melissa, as always, were the PERFECT couple, displaying a grace, style, and demeanor that can hardly be described. And Larry was at his finest, with that goofy hat, jungle pants with tools hanging out of the grenade pockets, and wearing MY FAVORITE SHIRT, which proclaims: "still plays with cars." Too many people to list, it was a joy and a pleasure to meet everyone!!! What a group!!!

What I felt like a feather in the E3 cap was when Bill Merriken, owner of the famed 2002AD showed up in his perfectly original looking E3. Under the hood lurks a 3.3 that really moves the car. His description of the drive up the night before was great, and his love for his E3 is unmatched. I believe he is on a secret mission spread the E3 word, and his support is greatly appreciated. I gathered the names of the E3 crowd on little slips of paper in a hat, with Bill, William Gau, Jonathan, and myself opting not to participate, and Bill drew 4 of 10 names to win $50 gift certificates at 2002AD. The winners were Mike Spivalo, Mathew Erkinger (Erk), Pete Schonenberger, and Fred von Lemke, my brother-in-law (no nepotism here, the names were places in a very large Haggerty's Insurance bag for secrecy!). At the end of the day the E3 crowd headed off to dinner at Chevy's, having great time! The Harper's kids are the greatest I've ever seen, so behaved and mannered. I could not believe those kids sat at the races ALL DAY and were not cranky --- hell, I was cranky! Many thanks to my wife, Gigi, for her accounting skills, gathering the separate funds from all to pay the hefty bill!

Alas, from there we were foced to return to Sacramento, as I had been negotiating with a friend who was a Sacramento Sheriff all day by cell phone to guarantee the safety of childhood friend who had a minor altercation with the law on Friday afternoon. I caravaned with Fred and Eloise, and Tom Jones, in his DAMN FAST early 2002 through the evening San Jose nightmare freeways. Damn, what a great kid, a perfect gentleman as well, and a better driver than most I have seen... He put the hurt on more than one Honda and SUV on our trip home, and he and I were going at such speeds that Gigi was a wreck and Fred and Eloise eventually fell behind. Again, I suffered a few bottom outs on the very smooth freeways, but it was well worth it... The drive back to Sacramento was much worse, and we had to slow way down to make it home in one piece...

Thanks again, everyone, for showing up and making this the fun it was. Like you've all heard me say countless times before, it's the people that make up this club... Getting together like that was fantastic, and there are many hoping for more meeting in the future... We definitely have decided to try for 2 E3 weekends next year, perhaps one in the North, one in the South? Mendocino will be the target town for one of them, and I've already talked with some folks in the Sacto Miata club about the area. Apparently they held a run there last year, so I'll be getting more details from them soon...

If anyone has any ideas about a Central California meeting, where it might be, etc., please let me know. Or if we want to go farther South, we could do that as well, but I need ideas and input on it, as well as who would be willing to attend.

Again, thank you everyone for attending. As with the previous E3 gatherings I've attended, I had a blast. It looks like I will not be able to attend the in the East this year, but I'm hoping their get together has the same success our did, or better. Thank you everyone, and enjoy the latest issue of INAS! I hope the issues that come between now and our next meetings will continue to hold your interest and enthusiasm. There's a lot that goes into to keeping this club going, and I want to thank everyone for showing up across the many miles, writing articles, editing newsletters, maintaining the website, everything. I'm just a figurehead, the members are the club...

And remember, I might call upon any one of you at any time to write me an article or a story, so think about what you want to say... Also remember that if you're ever trapped in Sacramento, give me a call. Good luck to David Woodham and all those who are planning to participate in Euro99 --- I'll expect similar reports on what I believe is the year of the E3!

JIM


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