SEPTEMBER 4, 2021
Every year, right around this time, I’m transported back 20-something years to those final, expectant weeks of August as a kid. A summer wound down into days of monotony by that point, and simple joys of teenagehood on endless shuffle – drives with friends with no destination in mind, weekdays at the beach with the Top 40 on repeat, and humid nights spent kicking it in the town parking lots before cops cruised by with an encouraging flash of lights to head home. We were a week or two off from summer's end - hopeful and melancholic at the same time, but filled with excitement at the start of something new when that first day of school began.
Alas those doldrum days of anticipation are well behind me, and I don’t think I’ve had a taste of true summer vacation for upwards of 15 years now (damn that’s tough to write!!). Yet even if fleeting, I do get a small sense of that relaxed excitement every so often at our local car meets, particularly in July and August. They're never as crowded as the ones in the winter and spring seem to be, with many of the usual suspects out of town visiting family or friends or taking that long-postponed vacation to a faraway place. As much as I love the chaotic energy of big meets with “one-of-ones” and people crowding around the Concours winners for IG story vids, there’s something to be said for simpler moments of calm chats over a coffee in the late summer heat.
This month’s Heritage Gruppe Drivers Meet was one I had to watch from afar while on vacation but it had all the hallmarks of a chill, friend-filled morning. Some awesome cars were in attendance, including a fleet of classic BMWs.
The BMW 3-series represents a first foray into the car scene, classic or otherwise for many, including yours truly. My first ever ride that I could truly call own was an E92 335xi bought off of Craigslist. To say I was in love is a massive understatement. I even loved her after the water pump blew on me while doing 90mph in the far left lane on the Massachusetts Turnpike - I wasn't doing 90 for long as once the water pump goes in an N54, you're reduced to a top speed of 40mph. Instantaneously. If you're from Boston, you immediately understand that while the posted speed limit is 65, 90 is "normal" and to have someone quickly start coasting at something far less because their car is in limp mode is received none too kindly by the other Massachusetts drivers around you. There's a reason they're referred to as Massholes.
Koko (@kokokurdoghlian) was no different from all the other starry eyed classic car lovers out there. After a friend’s purchase of an E30 M3 in 2014, he could no longer keep the itch at bay and acquired one himself in 2015. “I love the old classic look and the feel of the drive”, says Koko. Not long after the acquisition of the M3, an E28 M5 happened to come up for sale through his ever-expanding classic BMW network. You probably know what happened next.
The E28 M5 was the first of the marquee BMW platform, and what a first it was. The car was manufactured from late 1984 to 1988 and a shade over 2,200 units were produced. Those across the pond from us here stateside got a wonderful powerplant, which was an updated and upgraded version of the M1 engine - when the first one rolled off the line, the M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world, and set the bar for the years of lineage to come. US spec'd cars were detuned slightly in order to pass emissions laws, but still laid down close to 250whp. Quite enough to get the kids to soccer practice, grab some groceries and burn some rubber on the way home.
Koko and his father have taken it upon themselves to understand the finer ins and outs of each of their vintage M3 and M5 platforms, and have done all of their own work on the cars, essentially bringing them up and then keeping them to factory standards over the last few years. Impressive is an understatement.
Here’s to those final lazy days of summer no matter how you spend them. Whether they’re with friends in the early weekend morning hours cruising to your local coffee spot, bombing the twisties in the canyons, or wrenching at home tackling that long-put-off project, enjoy it. Before you know it the nights will be getting cooler, the days shorter, and some of us may even be doing homework again. Until next time crew, - Brendan McKay (@b.g.mckay), photos courtesy of Justin Vargas (@vizion.jpg)