President’s Corner – Spring 2020


I hope this message finds all of you and your families well. The last few months have become a difficult time physically, mentally and financially for many. How have you been spending your time? Perhaps you have been home schooling your loved ones, working remotely, finishing projects you had been putting off or just laying low hoping to emerge when the time is right.

Personally, I think I have found my biggest challenge of all the years of my being President of the New Jersey Chapter — what to report when there is very little to report. Normally I use my column to fill you in on events that may have occurred recently or events that may be coming up on the horizon. Right now we are dealing with a great amount of uncertainty. Many world events have either been canceled or postponed until a later date; it will be strange not watching the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix on the Memorial Day weekend but I will be happy to see them later in the year.

We are now almost 3 months into a governmental induced shutdown caused by a pandemic of the coronavirus. I am not going to write about that, I’m sure you’ve heard enough about it already and are probably either no longer watching or listening to the daily news other than to hear when state and local businesses will reopen and yes, restaurants.

For their members’ safety, the BMW CCA National Office has suspended all Chapters from holding any events until June 2nd. No word yet on whether they will suspend events past that date. This will depend on governmental mandates; it may even be by region. There is also no indication from our own governor as to when he will let us all get back to work. I certainly don’t expect life, or business for that matter, to be the way it was for a very long time.

All we can do at this time is to prepare for when the stages of reopening happen. Currently it is difficult to plan for events when we don’t know to what capacity our events can be or whether we can be indoors. Most of our events except our monthly meetings are outside so that may not be a problem, weather cooperating.

Let me start with some things I do know. The Driver School and Club Race that was scheduled for June 8-9 has been canceled. There were too many unknowns with what protocols we would have to follow to have a safe event while maintaining social distancing. There is also is the possibility of the governor extending the quarantine past June. It would have been a major financial loss to the Club if we were to have proceeded with the event.

Another event that is victim of the pandemic is the Street
Survival School that was scheduled for Sunday, June 28th. We still have the September Street Survival School on the calendar; we’ll know more about holding the school later in the summer.

The 50th year celebration of the New Jersey Chapter founding has been postponed until next year, 2021. There is currently no date or venue scheduled but expect it to be in the warm weather months so we can enjoy an outdoor gathering of people and cars. It just didn’t make any sense to try to have it later this year; we need to return to some kind of normalcy, whatever that may be and it needs to be something that we can all enjoy.

We also have some events on the schedule for July. First up is the Biergarten at the Deutscher Club in Clark, Friday July 10th. The following weekend of July 18-19 is the 6th Annual Geoff Atkinson Memorial Driver School and Club Race at Summit Point, West Virginia. Finishing out July is an Autocross on July 26th at the TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater. You will be able to find more information about these events and their status on our website.

If you haven’t been looking at our website the last few weeks, check it out. You will find the updated version is finally here. We are still working some of the bugs out of it but I think you will find it more user-friendly. Our goals are to be able to have more pictures, personal interest stories and after-event posts that are timely. You may find you can connect to some of our sponsors through their advertisements. Many thanks to Mark Hulbrock and Colin Vozeh for getting the “new” website done.

Last year I had mentioned buying a 2007 328Xi. I still have and love my 1988 E30 iX but wanted a car that had cup holders. As an update to the story, I had mentioned how great the seat heaters are; the other feature I like very much is the stereo volume control in the steering wheel. I have gotten so attached to it that when I push the same spot on the wheel in my work van I just end up blowing the horn. I’m also impressed with the mileage I get at keeping-up-with-traffic speed.

The main reason the previous owner wanted to sell the car was the run flat tires or the RFTs as they’re known as. Unexpectedly I had to deal with this issue after several months of driving the car. The tire pressure monitor system was telling me I had leak in the right rear. Adding air would last a week or so before the system light came back on. After checking the Tirerack website for what run flats were selling for, I needed to confirm what the issue was before purchasing a tire. I removed the wheel from the car and placed it in a big vat of water. With that I found I had some good and some bad news, the good news was the tire was okay, the bad news was the rim was the problem. There was a crack on the inside of the rim that was not visible until after seeing air bubbles coming out of it in the water.

I contacted another member with a similar vehicle for advice and it was conclusive that eBay and Craigslist were the way to go. I watched a set of 4 very, very low mileage Bridgestone RFTs mounted on the same style rim I had for a week on Craigslist and realized the owner was anxious to sell since he had lowered the price when I had checked on Saturday morning. After making contact with the seller, I had negotiated a counteroffer which was accepted. The downside of the deal was they were located about 2 hours away in South Jersey but it was a trip well worth taking. For a little over what 2 tires would have cost from the Tirerack I now had a set of rims that were in much nicer shape than the ones that came with the car along with tires that had low mileage. Eventually when I find another rim I will have a set of tires that I can use for autocrossing.

To those of you who are essential workers and first line responders, I would like to express my gratitude and say thank you for you have been doing the last several months. I look forward to when we can all be together with minimal restrictions.

Stay Safe.

Neil Gambony

Club Happenings – Winter 2018: January Meeting at Shade Tree Garage


By Neil Gambony

Vice-President Paul Ngai got off to a great start with NJ BMW CCA Club meetings for 2018 with the January 25th meeting held at Shade Tree Garage, located in Morristown NJ. The owner of Shade Tree, John O’Connor, hosted over 50 Club members and prospective members to an educational meeting with chief technician Phil Eng speaking. Phil still works with Shade Tree when his schedule permits; he is now teaching the next generation of technicians at a vocational technical school.

Photo by Neil Gambony

The topic for the evening was automotive coding, programming and initiation, pertaining to BMW cars. Phil’s program was informational and entertaining. Is your car trying to tell you something but you don’t know what it is? Phil explained several scanning tools that could be used starting with a basic code reader at $40 all the way up to a $7000 unit. We also learned that Shade Tree needed one of those for each manufacture of car they work on, yikes! I’ll concede the subject matter was a little over my comprehension level, but it was certainly made clear that problems that arise with your automobile are best left to professionals unless you have the proper diagnostic equipment.

Photo by Neil Gambony

I would like to thank Phil Eng, John O’Connor and Shade Tree Garage for having our Club meeting with them. We have been there before with Phil speaking and will look forward to the future when they may have us back again.

Club Happenings – Summer 2019: Monthly Meeting at TySpeed Automotive


The club held its monthly meeting at TySpeed Automotive in Jackson, NJ, where chapter member and TySpeed Owner/Operator Tyler Pappas demonstrated the neverending passion, skill, and dedication of working with the BMW brand that his team delivers to each and every customer to drive through the shop door.

Photo by Paul Ngai.

TySpeed will be participating in the Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which will be held June 23rd through June 30th in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Photo by Paul Ngai.

Club Happenings – Spring 2019: Monthly Meeting at Shade Tree Garage in Morristown


Shade Tree Garage in Morristown hosted the chapter for a demonstration of paintless dent removal techniques presented by James Green from Dent Busters NJ. Thanks to John O’Connor of Shade Tree Garage for hosting the club meeting and providing pizza for the attendees.

Photo by Paul Ngai
Photo by Paul Ngai
Photo by Paul Ngai

President’s Corner – Spring 2019


By Neil Gambony

I finally made my first visit to BMW’s Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) and can tell you that it is quite an impressive facility; more on that later. This was our Chapter’s 7th time there; it always seemed that work or some other reason kept me from attending in the past. I needed to see what the VDC was all about for myself; it’s the one event we hold each year that I get the most inquiries about and now I know why. Club members from the New York and Delaware Valley Chapter were welcomed in addition to our own Chapter’s members.

An event like this requires the thanking of many people and businesses. Vice-President Paul Ngai organized a small team of Club members to handle registration and the sale/auction of much merchandise generously donated by BMW of Bridgewater, BMW NA, the VDC and the BMW CCA Foundation. The proceeds of this event of which we raised $6000.00 this year will go to the BMW CCA Foundation. Many thanks to all who attended making this event a great success.

Scott Dishman, the Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation, was on hand and invited all that were planning to attend Oktoberfest (October 15-19) to stop in at the Foundation while in Greer, South Carolina. The Foundation is available to all members; they have archived much information about the history of BMW and the history of the BMW CCA, which is now celebrating its 50th year. One of the other programs of the Foundation is the Street Survival School for teenage drivers, of which we have two schools scheduled for the year.

So now about VDC. The VDC was established in 1987 and the one in New Jersey is one of the several centers that BMW has in North America. It is where BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce have their vehicles final preparations done after their long journey before they are sent to their prospective dealerships. Security is very tight here; we were not allowed to take any pictures. Yes, they have vehicles here with the crazy paint graphics that are supposed to disguise them.

How many longshoremen does it take to unload a ship full of cars? It could take 60 to 80 of them and a fleet of vans shuttling them out of the ship to get it done in a day. Seeing this process being done was just one of the features of the tour that the VDC provided plus it didn’t offend me that they rode us out to the see the ship that was being unloaded in the new X7. Many thanks to BMW of Bridgewater for providing breakfast and lunch for all.

A few issues back, I wrote about receiving your newsletter, The Bulletin, on your personal electronic device by receiving it through an e-mail from the NJ Chapter. At that time, I instructed you to go to the BMW CCA National website and click on your personal preference of newsletter delivery. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the National office was doing maintenance on the website and that feature was unavailable then.

I’m happy to report at this time the feature of changing your newsletter delivery preference is working just fine. All you need to do is follow a few simple steps; login to the BMW CCA website (, click on “Manage Account” under “My Membership” then go to “My Profile” where you can update your newsletter delivery choice. I know it’s simple, I figured out how to do it.

Just a reminder on the benefits of receiving the newsletter electronically, you could receive it up to 2-3 weeks sooner depending on what region you live in since it paper copy goes out in bulk mail. The whole issue is in color if there are pictures in it, and you won’t have to discard or recycle it when finished. I would be remiss not to mention that the Chapter will also benefit in savings on the printing and postage, savings that could be put towards some of our other programs.

Does the BMW CCA National Office have the correct e-mail or street address or for you? You could also update that information there. Not all of our members have provided an e- mail address of where they can be contacted. If you are concerned about the BMW CCA selling your address to other businesses, they do not. That was a concern of mine when I first got my account. Providing an e-mail address would be helpful when we send e-blasts that contain information regarding Club events such as the monthly meetings, Autocrosses, Rallies, and Driver Schools. The e-blast came in very handy this past winter when we had to make a last-minute decision to cancel a Club meeting due to inclement weather.

Do you have an associate member in your family? Not only are they entitled to all of the benefits that the BMW CCA has to offer, they are also able to participate in important stuff like the Club’s national or regional elections. The only catch is they need to provide an e-address to the Club since that is the only format of communication from the National Club. They would also be able to receive the newsletter from our Chapter. Yes, you have the option of opting out should you so desire.

Since we are going into the summer months, there are some great events coming up. June is a busy month with several. On the 7th we are returning to the Deutscher Club for their Biergarten. This is a great opportunity for Club members to showcase their cars. June 14-15 is the Driver School and Club Race at NJMP, a Friday and Saturday event. Once again the Westlake School, a school that serves children with multiple disabilities, will benefit from the proceeds of the event. This year the race is a North American Challenge event with 4 races over the course of both days. This will draw racers from all regions including Canada. Club members are welcome to attend the event as spectators even if they are not participating in the school.

June 19th has us returning to Tyspeed Automotive in Jackson, NJ for a Pikes Peak send-off party. Owner Tyler Pappas will be journeying to the Rockies to participate in probably one of the most difficult automotive races in the country if not the world. The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb or “Race to the Clouds” as it’s also known, is an event where participants have to be invited to attend. The hill climb has been running since 1916 with a course that has 156 turns in 12.4 miles ascending 4720 feet to a final elevation of 14,110 feet above sea level. Congratulations to Tyler for his invite, let’s show him our support. Closing off June on the 23rd is an Autocross at the TD Bank Ball in Bridgewater; please look for information on the Club’s website regarding it.

There is another Autocross at the TD Bank Ballpark on July 7th and then we are off to Summit Point Raceway in Summit Point, West Virginia for the 5th Annual Geoff Atkinson Driver School and Club Race. The date for the event is July 20-21. As the normal for me, this is one event I look forward to every year. For information about any of our events please be sure to check our website.


Club Happenings – Spring 2018: New Jersey Chapter Tours the BMW Vehicle Distribution Center in Jersey City


By Paul Ngai

On March 24th, 100 lucky Chapter members got to visit the BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC). It was our 6th Annual VDC Tour/BMW CCA Foundation Charity Event and was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater.

The BMW VDC is the point of entry for BMWs, MINIs, and Rolls- Royces into the United States. BMW currently has four VDCs in the United States. The New Jersey VDC processes approximately 85,000 cars per year and supports 8 states. The West Coast VDC in Port Hueneme, California receives cars for the West Coast; the Baltimore VDC receives cars destined to the Midwest, Virginia and Maryland, and the Brunswick, Georgia VDC receives cars destined for the southern United States. BMW recently expanded its vehicle distribution network to southeastern Texas to better serve the 45 BMW and MINI dealers within four states (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas) that make up a part of the Southern Region. The New Jersey VDC processes an average of 300 cars per day and includes new and European Delivery BMWs, MINIs, and Rolls-Royces, which arrive from Austria, Germany, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

Upon arrival, members provided their names to the security checkpoint and were greeted by our Chapter volunteers. The VDC provided coffee and bagels for breakfast in the waiting area where members got to see the raffle prizes. The event started promptly at 9am and the group was escorted into the main facility area for a presentation. Then the group was divided into smaller groups for the individual group tours led by VDC members.

Lunch was provided by BMW of Bridgewater. During lunch, our special guest, Scott Dishman, Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation, gave a very thorough presentation about the Foundation.

Here are some of the items which were raffled off at the event. The collectible edition of the Heroes of Bavaria book (leather bound, slipcase, only 300 produced), two exclusive Heroes of Bavaria posters, one driver-signed item, and One free HPDE experience for a NJ Chapter member (at any CCA HPDE event).

BMW of Bridgewater donated a BMW M bike which was auctioned off at the event. Overall, it was an informative and successful event. All the members had a great time and learned a lot about the vehicle preparation process. Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we raised over $5000 for the BMW CCA Foundation.

Hope to see everyone again next year!

Club Happenings – Spring 2018: Monthly Club Meeting at 56 Degrees Wine in Bernardsville


“And now for something completely different”. Yes, I need to give credit for that line to Monty Python’s Flying Circus for those of you who are old enough to remember them. (And if you don’t know, look it up. – JF) What does that have to do with 56 Degrees Wine and a BMW car club meeting? Vice-President Paul Ngai contacted me to let me know he would be out of town for this meeting and wanted me to manage it for him. Was Paul reading my mind that it was a dream meeting for me, a car club meeting in a liquor store? What could have made it any better; a couple of Turner or Bimmerworld Race Cars?

So why not have a meeting at a store that not only sells wine but some boutique spirits and microbrewery beers and ales as well. After all, we enjoy having and driving our fine automobiles, we should be able to enjoy fine wines and spirits as well. The meeting got off to our usual start of business, introduction of new members, stuff to buy or sell and some announcements for the Club’s upcoming events. When the business portion of the meeting was completed, it was then turned over to our host, Joe Bembry and his associate Roberto Rivera.

56 Degree owner Joe Bembry explains the winemaking process to club members. Photo by Neil Gambony.

I wish that I was as knowledgeable about BMWs as Joe was about his wines. He informed us that 56 degrees is the perfect temperature for storing wine, hence the name for the business. He also admitted that he had turned the temperature in the store up to 60 degrees for the personal comfort of his customers.

Forty or so Club members were in attendance February 27th as we were educated on some of the differences of wine of both domestic and foreign origin. We had side by side comparisons of both red and white wines, foreign and domestic. Interestingly, that by a show of hands of which wine that was more preferable, there was quite the split. We were tasting wines in the $10 -$20 range per bottle which just goes to show that great wine doesn’t have to be expensive.

So what else should you have with your wine? We were treated to some exquisite cheeses from places like France and Italy to go along with some bread and crackers. This is something that 56 Degrees Wine does as their business model that should you stop in on a Saturday they will have several different wines for sampling along with having cheese and crackers to go with them.

56 Degrees Wine has wine from all around the world and they taste it before buying it. If they don’t like it, it won’t be on their shelves. They are located at 25 Claremont Road in Bernardsville NJ, about a block up from Route 202 which runs through the center of town. Their website is 56

We look forward to a return visit to 56 Degrees Wine and maybe then we could discuss what may have been your favorite skit of Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

President’s Corner – Winter 2018


By Neil Gambony

I’m baaack! Or as the late great 20th century philosopher Yogi Berra once said, it’s like déjà vu all over again. For those who joined the Club in the last 10 years and don’t know what I am referring to, I previously served as NJ Chapter President for 3 years, 2006-2008. I have still been around since then serving on the Board as a Member-at-Large and more recently as Driving Events Chairman for the last 6 years.

For a little background, I bought my first BMW, a 1985 325e in 1991 and joined the club in 1995. I think my biggest regret was that I didn’t join the Club sooner! I currently have a 1988 325 iX as well as a 1987 IS that I use for our driver’s schools. I attended my first driving school in 1979, I’m sorry to say it wasn’t with the BMW CCA; rather it was with the Jim Russell School in Mt Tremblant, Canada using Formula Ford cars. I was pretty certain that I was going to get a full-time ride with either Williams, Tyrrell, Ferrari, or Penske at the time. To make a long story short, life got in the way of my driving career so I decided to start attending the BMW CCA driver schools in 1996. You might be able to find me there now checking your wrist band as you pull out of pit lane.

Now before I get into what’s going on in the Club, I must first thank my predecessor Jeff Caldwell for his five-year commitment to the Club. Jeff joined the Club when I was President many years ago and it didn’t take long for him to decide where he wanted to go with us. I have to say I admire his tenacity; he let us know his thoughts about what we should be doing without sugar coating it. Five continuous years, by the way, is a record for the Club by any president, one I’m sure that will stand for a very, very long time. Jeff is not going away, he is just stepping back from the top spot and will still be around as a Member at Large.

Another Jeff I need to thank is Jeff White. Jeff has served as our Driver School Chairman for the last 11 years. As it happens to be, I had appointed him as Driver School Chairman in 2007. Jeff is stepping down from that position and has transitioned over to be the Driving Events Chairman. He is the main reason that the Driver Schools have run like a well-oiled machine the last 11 years. Jeff had also spent a lot of time orchestrating the driver schools at Oktoberfest in 2015.

Now it seems that fate has brought me back to the Presidency to appoint our new Driver School Chairman, Jamie Kavalieros. Jamie has served under Jeff as Registrar for our Driver Schools the last 9 years. Jamie is one of only 4 Club members who have won the NJ BMW CCA Club Championship Trophy 4 times, a feat he was able to accomplish with his autocrossing skills. In addition to having been the Registrar for our driver schools, Jamie is the skid pad instructor who had either you or one of your children holding their hands straight up while driving around the skid pad at our Street Survival Schools. Club member Mark Mallory will now be taking over the position of Driver School Registrar.

Some other Board changes – Paul Ngai has moved from Business Manager back to Vice-President. Paul had served previously as VP for both Larry Engel and Jeff Caldwell. Moving into the position of Business Manager is Matt Baratz. Matt was instrumental in starting the VDC Tour, now in its 6th year. It’s one of our events that fills up quickly and we use the proceeds from it to make a donation to the BMW CCA Foundation. Those are the major changes in personnel on the Board for 2018. I’m fortunate enough that the other Board members have remained in their prospective positions.

I would be remiss not to give a shout out to Vic Lucariello Sr., our Technical Advisor who is no longer in NJ but is just an e-mail away. You can keep up with Vic through his Philes’ Forum in the Bulletin. Vic has been contributing his column to the Bulletin for over 30 years now, which could be another record for the Club!

So what’s different now than when I last served as President? Communication is the main thing; the Bulletin now is a quarterly publication. You will only get to hear from me 4 times this year unless we get a chance to speak at one of our Club events which I hope to touch upon further in this column. We now use a very effective tool known as the e-blast; we can send out up-to-the- minute information regarding events. The important thing with this is you need to provide an e-mail address in which you can receive the e-blast. You should have provided an e-mail address when you joined the BMW CCA. If you need to update your e- mail address you may do so through the National BMW CCA office at; we still have our own website with features like the Events Calendar and the Forum, which I find useful for either buying or selling parts or cars. You can also look for us on Facebook at New Jersey Chapter BMW Car Club of America.

We have many events already in the works for this year. There are 4 Driver Schools scheduled along with 2 of them holding Club Races: 1 at NJMP and 1 at Summit Point. There are 6 Autocrosses scheduled with the possibility of 1 or 2 more. For our rally enthusiasts, we are looking forward to once again joining the Northern NJ Chapter of the SCCA for a spring rally along with our annual Whack Your Turkey Rally in November. Have a teenage driver? There are 2 Street Survival being scheduled as I write this.

For our non-driving Events, something new we are trying this year is the Winter Social. Social Chairman Vic Lucariello Jr has put together an event at the Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit NJ to be held on March 10th. It’s intended to be a more casual event without any schedule of activities. You can find out more about it elsewhere in the Bulletin. Another event happening on March 24th is the VDC (Vehicle Distribution Center) Tour. This is where BMW prepares their cars before being shipped to their dealerships. It’s always been a no camera event; they always have something of interest we get to see first.

Chartering new territory for me as President is having to inform you of the passing of a fellow Club member. Albert Drugos, or as we more affectionately referred to him, Big Al, passed away in early January. Big Al joined the Club in June of 1995; during his time of membership he served the Chapter as Vice-President for 2004 and 05 and then went on to serve as Social Chairman from 2006 through 2013. Al had an intimidating presence but once I got to know him I realized that his best interests were for the Club. He was well-traveled and had many connections that he used to help make our events great, either putting together a Club meeting or Banquet.

Al participated in the Driver School program where he drove his E30 M3 as often as he could. He was an integral part of the program working both the Tech Inspection line and Pit Out. I was fortunate enough to work with him there where he taught me the fine art of pulling cars off the track safely with the tow truck. Although he hadn’t been able to make it to the track the last several years, his presence was surely missed. Godspeed Big Al.


Club Happenings – Spring 2017: Club Meeting at Hamilton Jewelers in Princeton


By Marc Goeller

It was with great anticipation that I was looking forward to our meeting at Hamilton Jewelers in Princeton. Not only did we, at the NJ BMW CCA chapter, want to expand the horizons of our events by bringing a new experience to our members, but as a watch enthusiast myself (also dubbed “a WIS”, or Watch Idiot Savant as we call each other in watch collector circles), I was excited to meet other like-minded people who enjoy both fine cars (and what finer car than a BMW!) but also fine watches. Now, to be quite honest, in addition to looking forward to meeting other people passionate about mechanical marvels, I was also looking forward to seeing what our contact and planning partner at Hamilton Jewelers, Ms. Donna Bouchard, the Vice President of Marketing and Social Relations at Hamilton, had planned for all of us! Indeed, from the day I had gotten in contact with Donna, I was absolutely impressed by her passion, dynamism and (contagious) energy to plan a memorable event for us. I can honestly say that if all the meetings we try to bring to you would be led by someone like Donna, I would be without a job (Not that I am paid anyway, and let us all remember that all club directors are volunteers, but just sayin’)!

Now as we all know, good things never come easily (except may be for those who are born in wealth and privilege, but fortunately, we all live in a country that gives so many opportunities to hard working people. Let us hope this will remain so for the years to come)! While we all thought that we had pretty much cleared Winter and thought that Spring was just around the corner, Mother Nature had to send us one last curveball in the form of a pretty nasty snow storm just two days prior to our expected event!! Many of us had to work snowblowers or snow shovels for hours to clear the driveway, but clearly, this Act of God was threatening this event. Within a few hours however, Hamilton had confirmed that we were still a GO and so, confirmation was sent to all registrants. Sadly about 15 members had to reluctantly cancel at short notice due to the inclement weather. We certainly hoped that nobody would take inconsiderate risks to drive to Princeton, and I will say that for myself, I was certainly grateful for the wonderful X3 loaner that I had been provided by BMW of Bridgewater when I dropped off my car for service. I am huge believer of a rear wheel drive equipped with true snow tires, but let me tell you that the X Drive system of that X3 equipped with regular all season tires was quite impressive and confidence-inspiring. So much so that it has planted a SUV/SAV bug in my mind, so please stay tuned on that.

Anyhow, let us get back on track (no pun intended after this “off road” parenthesis). All in all, 70 or so members eventually managed to join me at Hamilton that night and the first person to greet us all was none other than our very president, Mr. Jeff Caldwell who had very kindly volunteered to sign in attendees. Since Donna was not able to join us in person that very night (luckily for her, given the NJ weather, she had been given the very difficult mission, that I believe she happily accepted, to travel to Hamilton’s second location in Palm Beach Florida for the week!!), we were all greeted by Ms. Terri Goldsmith, the Flagship store director, and her very experienced and knowledgeable team. Talking about knowledgeable, allow me a quick, but important, side comment. As a watch enthusiast who knows a fair deal about watches, I can say that there is nothing more refreshing than meeting sales advisers who know in details their products and boy was I impressed by the Hamilton staff! Through my discussions with Mr. Peter Dunn concerning current models of several high-end manufacturers or with Mr. Donny Brady, one of the sales associates of H1912 (the year Hamilton was founded!) which is the arm of the company that is specialized in vintage and preowned timepieces, it was evident that all people at Hamilton are truly expert and passionate about their products and watches in particular, which would make anybody’s purchasing experience a real treat, especially knowing that you are getting the best advice possible.

So, what did this event really consist of?? Well, there were really a wide number of experiences that could be enjoyed during that special night. First and foremost, members were able to check out watches in the flesh from one of the broadest range of highend watches there is in New Jersey! From Rolex to Breguet, from Cartier to Jaeger LeCoultre, from Tudor to Patek Philippe and from Hermes to Breitling, one of the key sponsors of the evening, there was an amazing array of dressy and sporty watches that could really suit any taste out there…. (for all budgets as well, when one considers that prices started in the hundreds and reached the “sky is the limit” levels)! As a matter of fact, Breitling did not only spoil us with the goody bag we were all able to bring home, they also did by bringing their most recent model, the Avenger Hurricane, which is made of high tech carbon fiber material and, as such, ultra-light and resistant. A true Instrument for Professionals!

Members were also able to share with one another the stories about their personal favorite watch(es) whether they originated as a graduation gift, a wedding present or simply an impulse buy as a young boy. Just like for cars, the connections with these little marvels is often shared from one generation to the next and so it was no surprise to meet members of three different generations of one single family enjoying a night out together. Others explained how they had been wearing the same watch for nearly 30 years and others still shared the intimate connection with an ancestor that they were able to preserve when they inherited a watch from them.

The team of Hamilton watchmakers led by Mr. Eric Norrbom, a WOSTEP and CW21 certified watchmaker, were also on deck that night, and all members could get their watches inspected or checked for accuracy on one of the several instruments available in their shop.

And that was not all! Not only were we all smitten by the timepieces on display, mesmerized by the impressive store décor, absorbed by all the social interactions with our fellow club members… all of this took place while eating delicious cocktails provided by the Peacock Inn located on Bayard Lane in Princeton and tasting beer crafted by the Beach Haus Brewery located in Belmar!! Can you really believe this?? I am pretty confident when I say that absolutely everybody had a great time there and I think that there was no better testament to this than to seeing again some of the same new faces a couple of months later when we all met at Guten Parts in South Orange for our following meeting.

But this is another story, and since I am one of the last contributors to this great bulletin that our Editor in Chief, Jerry Faber, passionately puts together issue after issue, let me wrap this up by thanking again Donna and the entire staff at Hamilton Jewelers for having hosted us and for having put together a memorable show for us. We hope to be back in the future and I certainly do know that I will pay them a visit when I will be considering my next purchase!

Club Happenings – Fall 2016: Circle BMW Hosts its First Oktoberfest


By Matt Baratz

The trees hadn’t quite blossomed last spring when Circle BMW contacted our Chapter to inquire what kind of an event the Chapter might like in 2016. Circle has hosted a dealer meeting at its pristine Eatontown facility for many years and it never fails to impress the membership with its events.

Pam Marshall, Circle’s Director of Marketing and Communications and Ken Vicari, its Parts Manager, have hosted tech sessions and new product presentations at previous events. Pam and Ken wanted to build on Circle BMW’s tradition of success and create a really special experience for the Chapter. When Board Member John Gyorfy suggested a show and shine, the team at Circle hit on an Oktoberfest event and a new Chapter tradition was established.

Over the summer, plans for the event solidified – it would be held on October 8th, a real celebration in prime Oktoberfest time. By mid-September, more than 100 members had registered for the show and shine.

Circle hosted the event at its beautiful new back lot overlooking the dealership. They set up registration, hospitality and raffle stations and arranged for BMW to demonstrate its detailing system on a Caribbean Aqua Mini Convertible. Circle even opened a dedicated parts store and offered special pricing for members. Circle also provided a prime spot for the New Jersey Chapter’s tent and over the course of the day we registered new Club members and sold some of national’s nicest bling.

BMW Chemical demonstrated its incredible detailing system. Photos by Justin Kennelty

By late morning the lot filled up with fine German metal. Circle displayed a new M2, an M3, as well as an M4, an M6 and an i8. They joined a wide range of classic Bavarian beauties, from shark-nosed E24 classics to V-8 E92 M3s and Individual F32 M4s. There were even a few fine motors from Stuttgart and Sindelfingen and one silver beauty from Modena.

Photos by Justin Kennelty

Circle arranged to have Sterling Sowerby, also known as the Flying Deutschman, drop by in his incredible mobile beergarten. Sowerby’s Currywurst is just as good as they serve in Charlottenberg and maybe better because Circle treated the attendees to lunch. The Deutschman went through so much food that his truck must have really flown home.

Photos by Justin Kennelty

After lunch, Circle raffled some great prizes including BMW’s new carbon fiber bike which was won by Vic Lucariello, Jr. As goody bags were loaded into trunks and engines fired up, Circle bid farewell to participants and promised to make this fabulous event an annual tradition.

Jeff Caldwell, Marc Goeller, Ken Vicari and Pam Marshall
pose with raffle winner Vic Lucariello, Jr. Photo by Justin Kennelty

Thanks for a great event Circle, we tip our Trachtenhats to you.

Club Happenings – Summer 2016: Monthly Meeting at the Biergarten


By Marc Goeller

For the second year in a row, our Biergarten social event held jointly with our friends from the Deutscher Club started under the rain. A lot of rain! As a result, I hit some heavy traffic on my way to Clark and arrived later than I had planned. I was nevertheless extremely happy to see that all the cars that had entered our People’s choice concours were neatly parked on the grounds! My thank you and gratitude go to our friend, Heinz Ricken, who took the lead to organize the flow of collector cars as well as the two beautiful rides that BMW of Springfield decided to bring to the party: a new 650i xDrive along with a M235i Convertible (or Cabrio as they say in München….).

Photo by Paul Ngai

Fortunately for all of us, the DC is equipped with an amazing hall that is covered and that protected everybody until the rain eventually tamed. All were able to enjoy the amazing German food and beer that was on tap (not mentioning the delicious and gigantic salty pretzels!!) while listening to some traditional Bavarian music. I used this opportunity to distribute the ballots to the participants so that they could vote for their favorite BMW. As usual, three categories were listed: Vintage class (cars 25 years and older), Motorsport class (including all M models) and Modern class (the rest…). In the end, more than 100 votes were cast and quite predictably, the car that gathered the most votes was Bill Dahn’s Pumpkin: a lovely 1973 2002 tii model in a stunning Inca Orange livery!!

Photo by Paul Ngai

Another iconic model, one of the pristine first-generation M3 (also known by its E30 code) that was entered by Bob Krieger, won the Motorsport class. For the little back story, our very own Ross Karlin, club racing chair on our board of directors tied Bob in this class with yet another beautiful E30 M3, but was gracious enough to forego the laurels. Thanks Ross!

Photo by Paul Ngai

Biergarten participants confirmed that they are true connoisseurs of the marque, as they lastly selected the car of William (Bill) Dahn in the Modern Class.

Photo by Paul Ngai

All three class winners received a prize donated by our long-time friends from BMW of Springfield. All of us were really the ultimate winners as we enjoyed yet another wonderful night in the great company of fellow BMW enthusiasts. Looking forward to next year’s Biergarten already…

Photo by Paul Ngai

Club Happenings – Summer 2016: Hopewell Valley Vineyards, BMW Artwork


By John Gyorfy

On June 18th, the NJ Chapter held an club meeting at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards to sample some of the winery’s products and learn more about local artist Thom Montanari and his automobile-inspired artwork.

The focus of Thom Montanari’s work on automotive subject matter evolved naturally – it is his life-long passion for cars and racing that drives his creativity. His passion got an early start while attending the local antique car show in his Dad’s Model B pickup as a young boy.

After graduating from the Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT his career in Illustration began as a sketch artist in New York City, after which he decided to go free lance. He has been published and exhibited with The Society of Illustrators in New York, and his illustrations and paintings hang in corporate collections and the galleries of private collectors throughout the United States and Europe. He has also been the featured artist at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix for 1998 and 1999 and was selected to paint the event poster for the 1999 Castle Hill Concours d’Elegance. Most recently Universal Studios contracted him to produce a limited edition lithograph based on Ralf Schumacher, Juan Pablo Montoya and the BMW/Williams Formula One Team released in 2001.

Thom paints with acrylics in a classically realistic style which compliments his outstanding designs. “Although our memories are nebulous, my paintings capture a perfect crystallized moment in time. I dream in color, so naturally the color theories that are applied in my paintings are pre-established, like moves in a game of chess so to speak. Whether conceptual or narrative, I strive to capture the true essence of my subject matter in one compelling image.” Born and raised in Connecticut, Thom now makes his home and studio in Hopewell, New Jersey. He’s an avid fan who loves to attend races and calls Lime Rock his home away from home.

Thom’s corporate client list includes Sony, Kodak, Duracell, STP, QuakerState, Miller Beer, Pirelli, Universal Studios, Roundel Magazine, Old Cars Weekly, Vintage Racecar Journal, Ford, Audi, Saab, Volkswagen, Chrysler, BMW, Skip Barber Racing School, Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, Castle Hill Concours d’Elegance, among others.

Thom carefully gave all NJ BMW CCA attendees a full review of his work with BMW and beyond. He also displayed many of his important works of art and gave us a peek into the future of applying his talents. We all had the chance not only to hear and discuss automobile artwork in detail but also to sample some of the fine wine at this estate.

Club Happenings – Spring 2016: Club Meeting at Unique Photo


On Thursday, March 24th, we held our meeting and photo contest at Unique Photo. David Haueter and Dom Miliano gave a presentation on car photography. As well, there was judging on photos. We thank Unique Photo for being a sponsor of our Chapter and providing this venue.

1st Place by Michael Maluchnik
2nd Place by Brian Ach
3rd Place by Michelle Pagano

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