Club Happenings – Spring 2019: 7th Annual BMW Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) and BMW CCA Foundation Charity Event


By Paul Ngai

We were extremely excited to attend our 7th annual visit to BMW NA’s New Jersey Vehicle Distribution Center (VDC) because we heard that BMW NA has decided to skip the New York International Auto Show this year. As you can imagine, the VDC event was sold out in a couple of weeks with a long waitlist.

For those who were fortunate enough to join us at this event, which was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater, our 100 members were divided into 4 groups. Each were accompanied by a VDC tour guide. Background: The VDC is located in the port area in Jersey City and is staffed by over 100 BMW employees, not contractors (this is unique among BMW’s VDCs). It handles hundreds of BMWs and MINIs per trans-ocean shipment plus about several dozens of Rolls-Royces; all are destined to be delivered to anxiously waiting owners.

As part of the tour, we got to ride in a fleet of brand new BMW X7s where we were given a driving tour to the ship at a near-by dock where new vehicles were driven off the ship to get lined up for their next station. All new vehicles are scanned and then “dotted” with a colored tag indicating its delivery priority. Vehicles with an identified owner get the highest priority and are processed first.

After the drive from the ship, each vehicle is carefully washed and quality inspected to look for things like dents, scratches, and dust particles in the paint. Any defects is fixed, logged and communicated back to the factory.

The tour wouldn’t have been complete without listening to John Stavina’s talks on paint and body repair process. Mixing paint is like an art to John and his repair look better than the original factory paint.

Lunch was sponsored by BMW of Bridgewater (thank you Mike Yates, GM and his team). We also had a chance to learn about the BMW CCA Foundation by Scott Dishman (Executive Director of the BMW CCA Foundation) followed by a live and silent auction.

Thanks to everyone at the BMW VDC for their hospitality, BMW NA, BMW of Bridgewater, BMW CCA Foundation and to all of our members for their generous donations. We collected $5500 in donations at this event which will be presented to the BMW CCA Foundation later this year. Hope to see you again next year!

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.


President’s Corner – Summer 2018


By Neil Gambony

One of the events that our Chapter does every year that you haven’t heard much about lately has been the Tire Rack Street Survival (TRSS) School program. For those of you unfamiliar with the Street Survival program, it’s the car control school for drivers 16-21 years of age. Yes, we put it on the schedule, lately two a year, when registration opens for it, it gets listed on the Street Survival website and in about a weeks’ time we have 32 students and just as many more on a waitlist. The word is on the street about this program and it is selling itself. Yes, the pun was intended.

The program is funded through the BMW CCA Foundation which is a 501 (3) (C) corporation which allows children of non-Club members to attend. The Foundation has had the Tire Rack as their main sponsor since 2006 which has helped bring the program to BMW CCA Chapters, the SCCA, the Porsche Club of America and several other motorsports organizations. I want to give you some information about the Foundation but want to cover something of more significance first.

The TRSS for the NJ Chapter has been organized by none other than former Chapter President Larry Engel since 2009. Larry took over the reins of the TRSS from past President David Finch who had spearheaded the program since its inception in 2005. Congratulations are in order to Larry who has been honored by the Foundation for the year 2017 with the Tire Rack Street Survival Circle of Excellence Award in the category of “Organization Volunteer/Instructor of the Year, BMW Car Club of America”. Larry is currently in the organizational stages of the Chapter’s 23rd TRSS School to be held in September.

Larry spends a lot of time fine-tuning the Schools; each one is a little different from the previous one either through an idea that he has or from a directive from the Driving Events coordinator of the Foundation. He is always the first one at the gate in the morning and is the last one to leave making it a very long day for him, not mentioning any of the other time he spends beforehand with assigning students with instructors and staff with assignments. He even makes it to the course a few days beforehand to mark the pavement with chalk.

Now before I go any further, I must also recognize the myriad of volunteers from not only our Chapter but from adjoining Chapters, the men and women who tirelessly sign up for either instructing or running the course exercises so they can run efficiently. For that you have my deepest gratitude.

Now about the Foundation. It was formed in 2002 by the BMW CCA. It currently has 3 initiatives; the first is the Street Survival School program. They reached the milestone of their 1000th school in October 2017 and have educated close to 23,000 students. The second initiative is for their Library; Archive and Museum. The Foundation has both BMW-related and BMW CCA information to be kept safe for the future. It is also accessible to members. Do you have an older project that you are working on that you may need some information on? There may be information in the Archive that can help. The Museum currently has on display the ICON exhibit of the 2002, currently 28 vehicles, each with their own unique background story. They will be on display there until January 2019. Their third initiative is the Conservation and Preservation Program. There are currently 50,000 pieces in their possession, all in different stages of condition, and each as equally important.

The Foundation’s Museum and Archive is located in Greer, South Carolina; directly next door to the BMW Performance Center and across the street from the BMW plant. They are open to the public and to Club members for a nominal access fee which helps to keep them going. Since they are a 501(3) (C) corporation, any additional donation would be tax deductible. You can find out more about the Foundation at

An upcoming NJ BMW CCA event will be right in the area of the factory, the Foundation and the Performance center; this is going to be a one-day M School at the BMW Performance Center on Saturday October 27. The Performance Center has been making arrangements for BMW CCA Chapters to use their facility at one half of their normal rate providing the Club fills the school for the day. You will get to drive several of the BMW M cars they have available there including the new M5. The cost for the School is $750 which includes a lunch and some giveaway items at the end of the day although I doubt any of them will be the M cars used at the School.

Arrangements have been made to view the Foundation’s Museum on Friday evening as well as a dinner at the Blue Ridge Brewing Company on Saturday night; these events are not inclusive of the registration cost. Information on registering for the School can be found at www.motorsport.reg under the BMW Performance Center category. You can also find hotel information there. Should this event be a success, we will definitely try to repeat it next year.

Another event you should mark your calendars for this year is the Whack Your Turkey (WYT) Rally; traditionally held the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This year the date for the Rally is Sunday November 18th. The WYT Rally is intended to be something the whole family can enjoy. There is a starting point where we congregate, hopefully in a parking lot close to where you could have coffee and donuts before heading out on about a 3 hour ride that ends somewhere for lunch.

I had the honor of being the Rallymeister last year, setting up the course on some of my favorite roads in central NJ. Being a contractor and not working in the same place all the time I get to travel the back roads where I happen to stumble upon some terrific roads either for scenery or the challenge of the road itself. It also helps if there are great landmarks that can be used for clues. It took a small team to put the event together and I am grateful to those that volunteered to help me especially with the scoring. The biggest reward for me was receiving thanks from participants afterwards telling me how much they enjoyed the rally.

This year’s Rally will once again benefit the food bank of NORWESCAP (Northwest NJ Community Action Partnership); they distribute 2 million pounds of food annually to over 120 pantries, shelters, soup kitchens, senior and child care centers in Hunterdon, Sussex, and Warren counties. Last year the Chapter donated $1000 to them and helped to provide 1400 pounds of food. Thanks to all the participants who gave generously for this cause last year. Information about the Rally will be on the Website soon as well as being sent in an e-blast to you.

It’s the time of year again when we are getting ready for the election of Club officers, which is held at the December meeting in conjunction with the Pinewood Derby. If you have the time and desire to help in the organizing of the Club, please consider running for a position. The positions available are: President, Vice- President, Secretary, Treasurer, Driving Events Chairperson, Social Chairperson, and 2 Member-at-Large spots. If you have any questions regarding the duties of each positon please contact me and I will you give a description of what is involved. Should you want to run for a position please contact the Club’s Secretary David Allaway at and indicate what position you are running for.

Regards to all.


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