The sun is straining to break through a thick layer of clouds covering the sky, and the humidity is making your skin sticky and your hair curl as you wander around at 8:00 a.m. on a summer Saturday morning. Suddenly, you find yourself in a world whose landscape is a strip of asphalt that is covered in a lineage of BMW Ms, splattering the onyx pigment of the road with vibrant, paralyzing colors that showcase each shade of the rainbow.
If you were one of the fortunate attendees of this past Mvasion event in Riverdale, New Jersey, what I just described was your reality on June 4th, 2016. From the early 70s until now, over 40 years of BMW Ms and other legendary models were represented throughout the morning and into the afternoon. To start off the highlights of the collection that eventually filled the entire lot, let’s talk about this striking early 1970s BMW 3.5 CSL.
This car exhibits both rarity and uniqueness as it was originally born a 3.0 but was enhanced to a 3.5. Its paint and design emulate the bold stylings of a typical racecar. The inside tempts your inner child with the array of buttons dying to be pushed.
Even though it was not given the best-in-show award, this car certainly deserves special recognition for its historical significance, style, ability, and vintage allure that makes it so hard take your eyes off of.
Next up on the highlights of the Bimmer Motorsport lineage on Saturday was the classic E30 M3. There was no better place for these elders to get respect. Though it’s not the fastest M on the market, it’s certainly one of the most sought after today with its classic yet timeless design.
Now for my personal favorites: the beautiful, sporty e36 and e46 M3s. Many older BMW enthusiasts catch themselves reminiscing whenever they see one of these models rolling by. But a driver, no matter how much mileage they have, can never outgrow these models. Disclaimer: this e36 is not an M, but I’m featuring it solely for its sensational, non-factory dipped color. It’s easy to pick this one out of the lot.
This Laguna Seca blue e46 M3 is also a head turner in and of itself. With its beautiful launch color, this model stands out from its fellows because of its rarity, giving it a stunning look that pleases the eye.
Let’s move on through the years to the BMW 1M and 2M. Admittedly, these aren’t my favorite generations, but I can appreciate what the drivers of these cars have done to make them their own. For example, the carbon fiber splitter and custom front vanity plate referencing the German heritage of this make while also being clever are nice touches to this 1M.
Following its featured ancestors is the e92 M3. The styling of these Ms changed with the e92 generation, giving the body a more toned, muscular look than before. Another important difference is in the expression of the headlights as BMW begins going for this angry, fierce look.
To represent this model, I’ve chosen a beautiful Lime Rock orange M3 that captures the essence of intimidation while also being dressed in a limited edition factory color of which only 200 e92s were adorned in during production. Though there were several Lime Rocks that showed up to the event, this one deserves to represent the e92 M3 crowd more than the rest with its immaculate appearance and custom rims and brakes that greatly compliment the car’s physic.
Remember what I said about the headlights for the e92 looking fiercer than its ancestors’? Well, BMW pulled out all the stops and gave the F80 M3 and F82 M4 models the countenance of merciless savages ready to tear through the streets at any moment. First off, I want to make sure that no one gets confused since these two look very similar. The easiest way to tell them apart (other than seeing the badges on the front and back) with one glance is to know that the F80 M3 has four doors and the F82 M4 has two. Even for the experienced driver, it is quite the endeavor to push these cars to their limits without feeling the effects of its out-of-control speed, but that’s what makes them so alluring. For those of you on the hunt for your next family car, I highly recommend the four-door F80 M3 for its versatility and the most exhilarating family road trips possible.
Finally, it’s BMW’s eco-friendly supercar: the i8. This is one futuristic set of wheels that I can proudly stand behind, or more preferably sit in and drive. It’s difficult not to drool when gazing upon this glorious specimen cloaked in plastic reinforced by carbon fiber that only has three cylinders yet still flies like a bat out of hell.
One of the most important aspects of being a car enthusiast is understanding the significance of the details on a car. They are, after all, what makes each driver different from the next; what sets them apart. Here are a few examples of that principle being played out.
This first valve cover is painted to match the Laguna Seca blue exterior and then splatter-painted in black to give it an edgy look–no, that’s not a sporadic oil leak. The valve color that follows has the ///M signature colors and formation splatter-painted as well. Painting the valve cover is a simple yet eye-catching detail, adding a lot to the looks of the engine bay.
The detail on this e92 M3 isn’t easy to spot unless you’re up close, but once you notice it, you might be like me and smile like a dork as you find yourself in a staring contest with the headlights. It’s the minor details like these that really personalize the car for the driver.
I had the privilege of also attending the Charlotte M Invasion this past February, and both of these fantastic events quenched my thirst for seeing the best of what BMW has to offer. There is no doubt in my mind that the next event, no matter how far away, will not disappoint.
Thank you to the influential figures in the BMW media world for organizing this event and to the sponsors for doing their part in making it happen. Those figures (who go by their Instagram names) are @limerock200 and @f80awm3 and the many others who dedicated their time and efforts to these incredible events (check out @m.vasion for more media covering these events). Thank you for bringing all of us BMW enthusiasts together.
There’s just something about that simple design of slanted blue, purple, and red stripes which we’ve come to love so much that never fails to leave us breathless, from the moment we see it adorned on the body to the second it disappears in the horizon with a roar that has resonated for decades.