Tejas Trax - January 2020 Edition

From the President - Changes for the Trax

The cover artwork pictured above was intended to be for the January / February edition of the Tejas Trax newsletter. Unfortunately, our November / December 2019 issue will be the last issue of the Trax printed on paper. Printing a newsletter at least quarterly has always been a requirement for each chapter of BMW CCA. As of 1/1/2020, that requirement has been dropped. Along with that, there are also changes in how our chapter is funded from your national dues. This means that we simply could not afford to print and mail a hard copy of the newsletter anymore regardless of whether or not we are required to. Each mailing costs over $2,000.

We will continue to produce a digital newsletter, and intend to move that back to a monthly cadence rather than every other month, since the cost is effectively zero to deliver it now. We'll still solicit your articles and pictures, and we'll still award incentive points for your participation. As this change happens at the end of a cycle for our advertisers, we won't currently be requesting renewals from them. We plan to come back to our local vendors who advertise in our print newsletter with an updated digital package once we have a better handle on how many people it reaches. Please bear with us as we figure out what the transition looks like.

I've long been a proponent of going purely digital for our newsletter, even though I never actually read the digital version, as I know I'll be getting a hard copy in the mail. I'm sure I'll miss the print version as much as y'all will.

Until next time,

Josh Butts

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Oktoberfest at 50

By Paul Goldfine

I’m almost embarrassed to say that, after 27 years in this club, I just attended my first Oktoberfest. In hindsight, I keep asking myself, “What took you so long?” I had an absolute blast this past week and I’ll do my best to describe my experience.

Warning: There’s going to be a lot of name dropping but meeting so many people who I’ve been reading or reading about over the years was surreal.

Tuesday, Day 1 – My first activity was driving at the BMW Performance Center. They had 5 activities lined up for us. First was the rat race. Two cars started out on opposite sides of an oval and ran 4 laps. The winner got to stay on the track and the loser went back to the queue. Oh, did I forget to mention the track was wet and the car was the M850i? Let the pirouettes begin! I was partnered with Scott Bowman and, although our effort was valiant, we went 0 for 4 that day.

Next came the time trial. We were racing the clock through a slalom course. I didn’t feel very good about my skills here but I gave it a shot. I was surprised when I turned a 24.8 second lap on my first try and finished my third attempt at a 24.1. The top time in our group was a 23 flat.

Following that, it was time to head over to the next 2 events. As I approached the instructor ride area, the driver stuck his head out and said he had 1 seat open. I jumped in behind him and commented I had done hot laps with Mike Renner at COTA and he gave a wild ride. The driver said, “Oh, he’s a bum.” The rider in the passenger seat started laughing and said, “This IS Mike Renner.” Needless to say, we all had a laugh at that and Mike upheld his reputation.

Next came the off road course in the X5. I’ll apologize for any offense in advance but I’ve never understood why anyone drives an SUV (pardon me, SAV). However, I’ll have to admit, it’s a very capable vehicle. We climbed a 33% grade, had 2 opposing wheels in the air, and got the vehicle tilted so far to the side, I was feeling uncomfortable.

Finally, it was time to hit the track in the M4. We each rode one session as a passenger to learn the course and then got behind the wheel for a turn. Needless to say, it was great fun to burn up someone else’s tires.

Tuesday evening was filled with the First Timer’s meeting, registration, perusing the vendor area, and the welcome dinner. Dinner was good but the entertainment was a little odd. After about 10 minutes of the ‘comedy’ routine, people started streaming out of the dining room.

Wednesday, Day 2 – Wednesday opened to rain showers, which was unwelcome news for those who planned to show a car that morning. By the time the show started, the rain had almost stopped and it did completely in about an hour. There were too many cars to describe here but some that stood out were a 1958 507, a 1930’s 318 and three, yes three, 2000 CS coupes.

Wednesday afternoon was the Fall Leaves Drive but I decided to skip that and went to the BMW CCA Foundation with Alan and Jan Greene. That was probably a good decision because it turns out they scheduled the drive and the TSD Rally on the same route, at the same time. Needless to say, much confusion ensued.

While at the Foundation, Mike Ura, one of the Foundation trustees, gave me access to the back where the owner of a pre-war 328 was polishing the car. He kindly put the hood straps back on and removed his polishing cloths so I could take pictures. The Foundation is an amazing place but I didn’t get to spend enough time there. However, I did get to go back later in the week.

I ran into Satch Carlson and chastised him for visiting Austin so often without informing our chapter. I gave him my contact information and let him know we’d be honored to put something together during a future visit.

That evening, I was at the bar talking with Dan McLaughlin when Robb Siegel walked up. I bought him a drink and we spoke for a while. Soon after, Mark Jon Calabrese joined for a bit. Later, someone stepped up to the bar next to me and I said, “Aren’t you Bill Howard?” We spoke for a bit and found we both lived in Rochester, NY for a while and his family owns property near where my wife is from. To round out the evening, Steve Johnson stopped by. Turns out he’s quite a character.

Thursday, Day 3 – I didn’t think a factory tour was in the cards, but my thanks to Marco and Mary Beth Cordon for the extra ticket. The tour was fascinating. It was amazing to see an X5 come down the line, followed by an X6, followed by a right-hand drive model, and each in a different color. The sophistication of the assembly line was amazing. The Zentrum also has a collection of cars including a beautiful Dixie.

That afternoon was the Car Control Clinic at the Michelin Laurens Proving Grounds. I was disappointed to learn there would be no wet skid pad because I was looking forward to transferring what I learned to the teens at Street Survival. There was a straight line braking exercise, a slalom, and an autocross type course. After the first run, everyone ignored the braking exercise. Scott Blazey was stationed at the end of the course and was coaching drivers on their exit. He told me to brake later coming out of the object avoidance exercise to avoid upsetting the car’s balance. The next run, I did that and blew the stop box by a car length. Scott told me to stay in the ABS and I told him my foot was on the floor the entire time and I was experiencing a little fading. I made one more run where I not only blew the stop box, I passed through the turn off and reached the grass. After heading back to the start I asked if we were done for the day. I was told, “YOU are, unless you’re driving a John Deere.”

Friday, Day 4 – The day was sunny and warm so I took the opportunity to take a walk around Greenville. This is a small city with a population of only around 70,000. That’s comparable to the size of Pflugerville. The area we were in had tree-lined streets filled with small shops, hotels, and restaurants. About .5 miles from the host hotel was a park with bridges, waterfalls, an amphitheater, and green spaces. It was quite beautiful.

The afternoon was a festival and exhibition at the Performance Center. There were many cars on display and, later in the day, they took to the track for some hot laps. There were demos by the BMW performance drivers in cars and on motorcycles, Bill Auberlain created clouds of smoke with the rear tires of an M8, and there was even an Isetta race. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a dozen Isettas dual it out on the track. There was a bit of amusement when one Isetta followed the pace car off the track and the start had to be delayed until the cars came around again. I ran into the owner of the 328 again and this time he removed the straps and opened the hood so I could take photos of the engine compartment.

The day finished with the Shell dinner where we were seated with the Operations Manager for ZF transmissions in Greenville.

Saturday, Day 5 – The weather wasn’t going to cooperate again on this day. It must have been because the BBQ and final dinner were both being held in tents at the new BMW CCA Headquarters. It was cold and rainy but the people still turned out. There were talks by both Hagerty and Griots, which I skipped to take as many pictures as possible before the rain set in. While out getting photos, I started talking to another member and, as always, asked where she was from. She introduced herself and mention she was the daughter of Carl Nelson, of La Jolla Independent fame. Later, she introduced me to him and we had a good talk over some coffee.

Moving inside the new HQ, we got to see the Grand Prize M4, which I didn’t win, and had the opportunity to play on an outrageous simulator. It consisted of 3 monitors and a driver’s seat that moved forward and back along with side to side as you braked, accelerated and turned. For $5 you got 5 minutes of practice and then 1 timed lap. It was a lot of fun.

Later in the evening, dinner was held at the same venue. The theme was 1969. There were plenty of hippies in attendance, along with one former President who kept exclaiming, “I am not a crook!” I joined some people from San Diego I had met the day before and found myself sharing a table with Dan Tackett. While in the buffet line, I was talking with the man in front of me and asked where he was from. When he replied Dayton, OH, I took another look and said, “Oh, you’re Mike Self.”

After dinner ended, the Beach Boys cover band started playing. I mingled a bit and then headed back to the hotel in order to get an early start Sunday morning.

I’m not yet sure what next year’s gathering on September 15-19 will be called but I’m already thinking about my route to La Quinta, CA.

Paul Goldfine

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Holiday Lights Tour

By Josh Butts

NOTE: This event happened in the transition period between old and new website, so the scrapbook is on the archive site.

If you've been around this club for any length of time, you know we have a formula, and we don't often deviate from it. We like to hold events, whatever they may be, on the morning of the 3rd Saturday of the month. This event just a slight deviation from the norm, and although I organized it, I can't take credit for the idea - that goes to Paul Goldfine.

Instead of doing a morning drive with lunch at the end, we did an afternoon drive followed by dinner. We received some very positive feedback on this format, so we'll probably try it again in the future.

We started out on what can only be described as an amazing day in December. It was sunny, warm and breezy. Of course, yours truly decided this was not the appropriate time to get the convertible out (yes, a poor decision). We followed a route that snaked around Spicewood, TX and along the South side of the Highland Lakes. Only one fairly minor issue was encountered, and that was that Google Maps and reality were in disagreement in the number of exits that a particular traffic circle contained, which did lead some folks who got separated on a tour of the Rough Hollow subdivision in Lakeway.

After a long rest stop, we did manage to collect the entire group again, and proceeded towards our next quick stop at Dead Man's Hole. If you didn't already know it was there, you'd never find it. According to the plaque at the site, the limestone sinkhole was a popular place to stuff the bodies of Union sympathizers in the 19th century. Alas, for safety, we couldn't really see more than the mouth of the entrance, as the hole has a metal grate in place to prevent any further shenanigans.

We had a nice dinner at Bear King Brewing in Marble Falls, and we arrived just in time to beat the local rush. After dinner, we drove across the street to the lakeshore park where the Marble Falls Walk of Lights is set up. The park has recently been renovated after the floods a few years back, and now the entire trail is paved, which made it a nice walk through the light displays.

Due to the extremely positive response we got with this event, we may plan to make holiday light viewing an annual event going forward!

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Post-Holiday Party

By Raquel Robles

One of my favorite Tejas Chapter events is the annual Post Holiday Party. It feels like just yesterday I was attending my second event as a new member which so happened to be the holiday party. I remember researching the Faust and discovering it was built in 1929. My mind quickly speculated how many travelers this hotel must have seen and what grand stories they may have each shared. I’ve had the opportunity to organize the holiday party for the last 3 years and each year I have had the pleasure of working with Brandi White, the GM of The Faust. Brandi takes great pride in her hotel and ensures we have everything we need for our gathering. Thank you, Brandi!

If you haven’t been able to make it to one of these parties, please do so! It is the first event of the new year and great way earn points. RSVPs usually open up a month before the event and close once we reach 60 attendees. The party begins at 6pm and after checking in, members enjoy tasty D’Oeuvres and Appetizers which this year included Souvlaki Chicken, Souvlaki Lamb and Vegetable Crudité. After grabbing a bite to eat, members made their way over to the sponsor-provided gift table and dropped raffle tickets in each cup pertaining to the gift they wanted a chance to win. This year’s sponsors included BMW of Austin, BMW of San Antonio, ATX Bimmer, Taurus Detailing, Hagerty Insurance, Expel and BMW Car Club of America.

Once 7:00pm rolled around, it was time to get the program started. Dinner was first and was a bit different this year consisting of Roasted Sirloin and Pesto Salmon paired with grilled asparagus, house salad and potato bar. We even had two desert options, chocolate cake and chocolate chip cookies. Our 2019 award ceremony commenced after our delicious dinner. This annual gathering allows the chapter to recognize our top event attendees. Incentive points are earned by club members each time you attend an event, help organize one, submit event photos, write an article, or recruit a member. This year, Josh Butts and I presented the 2019 awards which honored the top 7 members with engraved plaques designed by Glenn McConnell and the top 5 received an additional BMW prize.

Shortly after our award ceremony, we moved on to the drawing of sponsor gifts and ended with the opening and stealing of the White Elephant Gifts. This year the top Sponsor Gift favorites were $500 Exterior Detail and Stage 1 Paint Correction Certificate provided by Taurus Detailing and an RC BMW Z4 model car and BMW Backpack provided by BMW of Austin. The White Elephant gifts folks had a hard time keeping were: Battery Tender, E30 Bushings, and a BMW wireless Mouse. What better way to start of the year than a great meal, amazing company and fabulous gifts! Until next time BMW family.

P.S. I stole the white elephant. You know what that means…Ellie the White Elephant will be attending 2020 Tejas Chapter events! 😊

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i3 Urban Suite

By BMW Press Club

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 – taking place in Las Vegas on 7 – 10 January 2020 – the BMW Group will be presenting its visionary approaches to creating the mobility experience of the future.

The premium carmaker’s presence at CES 2020 can be summed up by the hashtag #ChangeYourPerception. At its heart is the company’s firm belief in its ability to not only understand the requirements of future mobility but also find answers to them.

The BMW Group stand showcases this change in perspective, while experiences and practical demonstrations anchor it in reality for the visitors from all over the world.

A highlight of this year’s CES: the BMW i3 Urban Suite.

For seven years, the BMW i3 has played the role of iconic ambassador for electric driving pleasure, sustainability and intelligent connectivity in urban areas. These qualities have helped to make it the world’s best-selling electric car in the premium compact segment.

And now the BMW Group has brought the BMW i3 Urban Suite to this year’s CES in Las Vegas to reveal a mobility experience tailored entirely to the passenger’s individual needs.

To achieve this, a standard BMW i3 underwent a complete transformation (with only the driver’s seat and dashboard left untouched) so that its interior now has the relaxed feel of a boutique hotel. The aim was to create an inviting space with a high feel-good factor in which to spend time – the perfect place for relaxing, enjoying in-car entertainment or focusing on work in a laid-back setting.

This has been achieved by including, among other things, a large, comfortable seat with footrest, a screen that flips down from the headliner and a personal Sound Zone.

The BMW i3 Urban Suite also represents a logical step forward in the BMW Group’s commitment to sustainable mobility. The vehicle is underpinned by a holistic approach to making responsible use of resources, encompassing the powertrain with zero local emissions, the careful selection of materials and the production processes involved. Fabrics containing recycled materials therefore come together with certified wood and olive-tanned leather, while the floor mats are made from recyclable materials that can be fed back into the materials cycle, as per circular economy principles.

In preparation for the CES, a fleet of standard BMW i3 cars were converted into Urban Suites in Munich then brought to Las Vegas, where they can also be seen gracing the city’s streets. Indeed, anyone wishing to be chauffeur-driven to their desired destination can use a special app to order one of the BMW i3 Urban Suites.

The car will offer its passenger a first-hand experience of the BMW Group’s innovative and sustainable mobility concept, while clearly demonstrating that luxury travel in the future will have nothing to do with vehicle size.

The BMW i3 Urban Suite is just one of the highlights of the BMW Group stand at CES 2020 in Las Vegas. Comprehensive information on all elements of the vehicle will be available when the show opens on 7 January.

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