To publish the “M1 Register Report” on the BMW M1 Club e.V. website with the kind permission of Gordon Medenica.
It all began over lunch with BMW NA’s Rob Mitchell last April. Rob casually mentioned that he was going over to Lake Como, Italy, for the Villa d’Este Concours, which was also going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of the M1 at the Paris Salon in October 1978. He wondered out loud if perhaps The M1 Register should try to organize something in the States as well. If so, he said BMW would likely support the event, and maybe we could tie it in with the BMW-sponsored Lime Rock Vintage Festival over Labor Day weekend. The flash bulbs went off.
I began by “rounding up the usual suspects” – M1 friends, like Lance White, that I knew would always support such an event. With a small group of committed owners, I went back to BMW and boldly guaranteed that we would have ten to twelve cars at Lime Rock. BMW’s response, and support, was truly heartwarming. They offered to help with transportation, which allowed our West Coast friends to bring their cars east. They made our gathering an integral part of this year’s Lime Rock event. They gave us passes, helped in getting hotel rooms, and arranged a special dinner with celebrity guests at Skip Barber’s house.
As momentum built up, BMW also committed to bringing the Andy Warhol Art Car from Munich. As support grew, we added a second truck to haul more M1s. Countless phone calls later, more and more owners were coming. Two weeks before the event, Larry Koch of BMW asked if it was possible we could actually have 25 cars at the 25th reunion! In the end, we did it, and the biggest thanks go to those owners who brought their cars out for this wonderful event.
The highlight for most was the special dinner Sunday evening at Lime Rock owner Skip Barber’s house. All M1 owners and guests were treated to an elegant cocktail party and dinner, with special guests Brian Redman, Sam Posey, Phil Hill, Hans Stuck, Marc Surer, Bill Auberlen, Dave Cowart, John Fitch, Tom Milner, BMW CEO Tom Purves and Rolex CEO Walter Fischer. The guest list also included many other BMW executives, and journalists from Road & Track, Motor Trend, Fortune, Bimmer, European Car, Speed Channel, and the New York Post.
We also had fun during the daytime, with an early morning group photo shoot followed by an impressive concours on Sunday afternoon. We did some parade laps on the Lime Rock circuit during the lunch break on Monday, which was probably the greatest number of M1s on a race track since the days of the ProCar series!
Again, many thanks to BMW NA for their support, and especially to Rob Mitchell, Larry Koch, his assistant Bettina Kugler, and of course Tom Purves. Most importantly, thanks to the following owners who brought, or allowed us to bring, their cars to Lime Rock: