President’s Corner – Winter 2019

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By Neil Gambony

Welcome to 2019. I’m happy to report that we are heading into the year with only a few minor changes from last year. Yes, we will be holding our usual Driver Schools/Club Races, autocrosses, rallies and the Street Survival Schools. We will also be holding the Spring Social. Vice-President Paul Ngai has come up with a year’s worth of programs; he will be making announcements about them as the details are finalized.

There are some minor changes on the Board of Directors, one them is Jeff Caldwell has stepped down from his Member-at- Large position to run for the North Atlantic Region Vice- President’s position. The good news is he has won the spot. I am looking forward to Jeff representing New Jersey as well as the other Chapters in our region on the BMW CCA Board.

Mark Hulbrock has stepped up to take over the vacant position of Member-at-Large. Some of you may know Mark from our Driver Schools; he has been an Instructor for several years. He brings to the Board his experience of website design and development; I am expecting to see some changes on the website in the future. Mark will also be giving us more exposure on social media; we could always use a few more members who share the same passion we have for BMWs.

Another change to our Board, Vic Lucariello Jr. who has been our Social Chairperson, has stepped down due to commitments with his employment. Vic has graciously committed to the Chapter to finish organizing the Spring Social which will be held on March 30th at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit, NJ. If anyone is interested in taking on the position of Social Chairperson and would like to know what the responsibilities are, please contact me, my e-mail address is at the end of this column.

One pleasant point of business that carries over from last year involves the Whack Your Turkey Rally. Through the generosity of the participants and the Club kicking in a few more dollars, we were able to contribute one thousand dollars to the Food Bank of NORWESCAP. NORWESCAP is the Northwest New Jersey Community Action Program. One of their programs is the food bank which distributes over 2 million pounds of food to charitable organizations in Hunterdon, Warren, and Sussex Counties. Many thanks go to our Co-Rallymasters, Jeff White, Trisha Camp, Doug Feigel and Sherrie Natko on the success of the Whack Your Turkey Rally.

On the National level, an event to look forward to later in the year is Oktoberfest. Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 2002, this year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the forming of the BMW CCA. The date for O’Fest will be October 15th through the 19th.

The BMW CCA has promised that the event will be nothing less than spectacular and it will be held in Greenville, South Carolina. That puts it right near the BMW Spartanburg factory, the new BMW CCA Headquarters in Greer and the BMW CCA Foundation which is also located in Greer. There will be more information coming out about the event or you can go to the BMW CCA website and find the information there.

Something I have finally done this winter was upgrading my ride. I sold my old half German car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser. Yes, the PT Cruiser was made by Chrysler when they were in cahoots with Daimler; I think we all know how that turned out. Now the Cruiser was a great car, had plenty of space inside to lug everything you need to the track, the only problem was it was not a car to drive on the track.

My search began when I saw an ad for a MINI in a local stuff for sale publication that was in my budget. I had read Melissa Cunningham’s story in the Roundel a while back how a group of several hundred Minis congregated to the opening day of Watkins Glen International in the spring where they also took a tour of several of the vineyards in the region surrounding Watkins Glen. I thought I would like to get in on the MINI fun or maxi fun as what it sounded more like, I responded to the ad for the MINI. This wouldn’t have been the first MINI in the family; my younger brother has several MINI although they were made by BMC, not BMW.

As I’m writing this story, I’m beginning to find out what “Initial Ramblings” author JT Burkard goes through when purchasing cars; this is a classic example of “you can’t make this stuff up.” I called the number and got the owner of the MINI. The car was available; however he was out of town at the moment. As it turned out his return coincided with my having to go out of town.

Not wanting to miss out while I was out of town, I had asked my older brother (I have 4 brothers) to call and check it out. The response he got when he called was the car was in a repair shop, apparently with a mechanic who not in a hurry to repair it.

When the next edition of the publication was out where I had originally seen the ad for the car, he had raised the price several hundred dollars obviously trying to recoup upon the expense of getting it repaired, yet was not able to show the car since it was still with the mechanic being repaired. A follow-up call a week or so later, the owner decided after the expense of the repair he was going to hold on to the car but would call me if he decided to put it up for sale again.

So if you are still reading this and wondering what I ended up buying, I decided to go in a different direction. Realizing that I had purchased 3 325iXs in the past, I wanted to go back to having an all-wheel drive car again. I made a deal with the owner, Don, of a local store I frequent often for an E92 328Xi with an automatic that he had bought for his son to use while he attended college. Now that Don’s son was done with school and had joined the Marines, he had decided to sell the car. Don’s son had decided to get a car that didn’t require as much maintenance and didn’t have RFTs (run flat tires). He didn’t like the idea of not having a spare if there was a problem late at night. The tires are something I’ll have to deal with when they wear out.

Now this is where I get to make a shameless plug for the TireRack Street Survival School for teenage drivers since we are planning two for this year. I had encouraged Don to enroll his son in the program a few years back and he was more than eager to do so. So my car has completed the program, or more appropriately, Don’s son is a graduate of the program. I expect to see Don’s daughter there when she is eligible.

I’ve only been driving the car a short while but can tell that monumental advancements in technology have been made in the 20 or so years from when the iX was developed. The one thing that I have mastered using in the car this winter is the seat heater, everything else I am still learning about.

I enjoy the simplicity of the E30 iX, a car that I am able to do much of the maintenance and repair work on by myself; I’ll have to see how much of the E92 I can do by myself and what additional tools I will need to purchase. The one thing that I have noticed is that both the iX, one of which I still have, and the Xi are black, a coincidence?

Neil

neilgambony@njbmwcca.org

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