Bavaria Tour report 2002 (Richard Stern)

With 50 year celebrations fast approaching in 2016, I thought I’d run this story again;

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For the last few weeks before the Bavaria Tour 2002, every time I took my car out of the garage something went wrong on it, some days I couldn’t even get it out of the drive. Having spent loads on it over the passed year (censored as the Wife now reads my editorials) you’d have thought it might have worked for more than five minutes at a time. One day the rear brakes jammed on & I had to remove the rear wheel to free off the brakes, the electric fan packed up so I had to refit the original fan back on, the next time when it was raining of course the bl**** wipers packed up, I felt like kicking it, but bit my tongue. Anyway the day arrived to set off to the International Bavaria Tour in Germany, I got out of the drive ok, & the wipers seemed to work, but as you all know – you dare not say a word. I picked up my Co-driver – Eamonn O’Brien in the early hours & we headed off to Dover. At the port we met up with other hardened 02er’s, Peter Armstrong & Martin Bull (Ex 02 Chair), David Evans (Classic & Sports Car), Ben Weston with his fresh restoration from Jaymic (more later), & Dominic, Maurizio & Mario – some new guys that weren’t booked in on the event but thought they’d take a chance.

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The first overnight stop was in Aachen in Germany so with a trouble-free drive across France into Belgium we arrived early evening at the Novotel Hotel in Aachen. After a quick check-in it was down to the bar for a refreshing beer & chat about the days drive, I then managed to get Dominic & his passengers in on the event as Nigel Peckham unfortunately couldn’t make it – “thank you Nigel”. Next morning we were planning the second days route, when some English Sheerings coach drivers advised us of the best route around Stuggart due to severe road works on the Motorway south of Stuggart which properly would have added a few hours on the 500 mile hike straight to Oberammergau. While I am on the subject of Motorways the German Autobahns are amazingly fast as I am sure you’ve all heard, but the flowed traffic jam free, I also felt more relaxed as I found myself actually concentrating on “Driving” rather than looking around every bush & sign for a speed camera, as a result I am sure my driving was better than the stressed journeys encounter on the UK’s Policed roads. At various service areas on the Autobahns we met up with fellow European 02’s, & at one point had 25 02’s in convoy. I think now would be an appropriate time to mention Ben Weston’s gorgeous Black Turbo, I spent the whole trip down to Oberammergau drooling in my rear view mirrors at his car, as you can see I got some fantastic shots of Ben’s car, I now want a Black Turbo, shame Ben’s shipping his back to America shortly after the tour. Ben’s Turbo is a full rebuild by Jaymic with everything new, it is stunning & a credit to Jaymic. Allegedly BMW did build one black Turbo, but no one knows what happened to it.

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Oberammergau is a beautiful Austrian village, that looked something out of the Sound of Music, all it’s buildings were beautifully decorated with pictures & flourishing window boxes, the streets were clean & had a fantastic backdrop – the Austrian Alps. Oberammergau was a great location as in this small village was lots of Hotels with an idea meeting point & lots of parking for the appprox 300 cars expected, it really was a picture postcard scene. Outside the town hall (meeting point) I recognised a very rare 02 Diana, this is owned by Andy Andexer the organiser & of course the car was mint & had all the “Diana’s” extras – Steel sunroof, electric windows, sports leather seats, 5 speed gearbox, tinted glass, racing door mirror, extra gauges, special alloys, LSD, tuned engine & in lovely light green metallic. Only 12 Diana’s were ever made, Andy said they only know of four left & his is the only one running, it’s estimated to be valued at €60,000 (Approx. £40,000). That evening after registering we started meeting people from all over the world, we met Vincent & his family who had brought his rare Alpina 02 ti over all the way from Brazil. We met some Dutch guys that I know from Ter Apel trips, Bob Twain & his wife from Australia, unfortunately couldn’t bring his RHD silver Turbo over due to mechanical problems. I met Norbert of the German Turbo register, he’s just found a Red Turbo needing full restoration, no one even knew there was a red one, can’t wait to see it finished. Evan Chong had driven from the USA west coast 6000 miles to the east coast, loaded his car into a container & then drove it across the remainder of Europe to the event total of 12,000 miles (see separate feature).

Refreshments, lunch & dinner were all included in the week & the food was excellent.

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Day 1. After registering the evening we arrived, we collected our car plaque, some BMW gifts – care of BMW, & route maps for the first morning. There were several start points all over Oberammergau village depending on which group you were assigned. The first day for us was the Alpine route, a breathtaking trip covering approx. 150 miles all over the Austrian Alps, we made a couple of wrong turns & gave the questions a miss as we had enough trouble understanding the poor road signs in places. The route took us passed many beautiful lakes, through lush forests & excellent roads, making the most of the 2002’s brilliant chassis. Lunch was at the base of mountain on a restaurant terrace, the weather was fantastic & with my sunroof open all day we soon got burnt. Oh & I should mention all those motorbikes, every few seconds throughout the day tonnes of motorbikes would be going in the other direction, all day long, it didn’t stop. When we stopped for fuel there was some bikers there so I asked what were so many bikes doing up in the Alps? Apparently there was a massive European Harley Davidson event & they expected 15,000 bikers, yes 15,000, I have never seen so many motorbikes, we got lots of admiring glances though, even saw some old BMW Classic bikes.

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In the evenings at dinner, entertainment was laid on throughout the event with bands, drag singer, speeches from our International guests from as far away as Brazil, USA, Australia & New Zealand & of course Thanks to all involved, the beer was flowing & no headaches next day – great stuff.

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Day 2. I was checking my oil & water outside the hotel, when a Mobile Tradition 7-Series pulled up & the guy driving asked if I had a problem – in fluent English of course. I said that it was using some oil & in-fact it was a brand new engine from “Mobile Tradition funny enough”. The driver introduced himself his name was John Bostin originally from England, anyway we got chatting as you do, & John said I’ll have a word for you. Anyway off we went for the second day to Munich’s Olympic park right in the centre of Munich. All the different models parked in their respective groups, I have never seen so many full convertibles & Glas cars in one place at one time, even a 1-off Glas 1600 GT Convertible, apparently a special order for on of the Quant family (so the rumour had it). There was all the Turbo’s together with Ben’s gorgeous black one at the end, tonnes of Tourings including a very rare Alpina car with beautiful Alpina seats in it – want them.

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We were due to go to the Mobile Tradition Museum around lunchtime, so after a quick coach ride we arrived at M.T. & told No Cameras, “noooo” I could have died, what we saw with our own eye’s was fantastic, 3 floors of rare, prototype, & famous BMW’s was amazing. BMW or should I say Mobile Tradition keep the first & last of all the BMW’s ever made, that included McLaren F1, CSL’s, Glas Cars, all the Concept cars you’ve seen, M1’s, 328’s, Bikes, 507’s, Coupes, the Mini concept & rare designer Mini’s owned by famous people like David Bowie, Michael Caine & Twiggy. Only on the ground floor was we allowed to take pictures, & as luck would have it, there was the concept Turbo car built in the seventies & designed by Paul Braq, I got lots of pictures of that & will do a separate feature soon. Finally we got to see the Mobile Tradition service workshop & there was John, anyway I was also having trouble with the rear brakes on my car & with Peter Armstrong’s help persuaded Mobile Tradition to take a look at them.

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I returned to Olympic park to collect my car with a Danish guy called Anders who was also having mechanically problems, we followed a X5 in M.T. livery back to the service bays & there was also David Evans from Classic & Sports Car, his car was running hot due to a damaged core in his radiator they offered to replace the radiator, unfortunately the only one they had didn’t fit, but they flushed out the old rad’ & refitted it, he’d just have to take it easy. My car was whisked onto the ramps & a team of immaculately dressed mechanics gave the car a once over. Whilst I was standing in the Service area there was two film crews there filming the whole event, & you guessed it, yours truly did an interview for German TV & an American film crew with my Tii in the background – eat your heart out Tom Cruise.

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It turns out that my rear brakes required urgent attention, both back plates where the shoe adjustment is were ceased, the rear drums are worn & need replacing ASAP, & scrape out the muck that had built up there over the years. Unfortunately they didn’t have the parts otherwise I’d have had them fitted immediately, but they did get some adjustment on the back plates after heating them up & the rear brakes now work in a fashion. We left there around six o’clock following a X5 & 7-Series all in Mobile Tradition Livery with David’s & my Tii behind, it made a great convoy through Munich with many admiring glances.

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Day 3. For us it was the “Castle Tour”, taking us up into the Alps & seeing some fantastic castles on the hill sides (shame we didn’t get to tour one). Refreshment points were laid-on on route at various check points. Again the roads were fabulous clear & empty driving passed massive lakes & through lush forests.

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Day 4. Was a late breakfast to say our goodbyes. We decided to make something of the day, so on the way back across Germany we thought we’d look in on Alpina’s headquarters at Buchloe. We arrived at Alpina which was deserted (Sunday) but made a great photo opportunity with my car out front. In their car park was various Alpina’s including 5-Series B10 V8’s & two Alpina Z8’s (not seen one of those before). In the main showroom was a racing livered E30 M3 & a gorgeous Z1 Alpina in a light metallic blue with the gold Alpina stripes. That night we stopped at the historic town of Heidelberg & had a good drink in a bar whilst watching the football.

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Day 5. We planned to stop over night at Brussels, I noticed on the map in the centre of the town was marked “Autoworld”. So we decided to take a look. It was a massive museum of motoring history from very early horse drawn carriages up to more modern 70’s classics. Horse drawn carriages included a coach used by Napoleon, lots of pre-war French cars, some very rare Rolls Royce’s & Bugatti’s & even a BMW Fjord blue CSI. If your ever in Brussels it is well worth a visit to Autoworld, it even has a good model shop.

 

Day 6. That was it, it was all over now it was back to good old “Blighty”, a day driving through Belgium & France & of course the compulsory duty-free shopping at Calais. My old car was virtually scrapping the floor. We managed to catch an early ferry & as soon as we got to Dover – it was raining, “welcome home boys”.

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I had done a round trip of 2247 miles & just dumped the car in the garage, I’d seen enough of it for a while, but it did us proud. You would not believe how easy it is to drive in Europe & the roads are far better & emptier than in the UK, I personally can’t wait to go back again.

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Finally, we must express our Thanks to the organisers for all their hard work & excellent organisational skills. Thanks also to all the sponsors especially Mobile Tradition & BMW, our heart felt thanks goes out to you all you did the 02’s proud in ’02.

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