BMW has always meant so much to me. My father’s first was an E12 530i Euro (Alpine White over Cardinal Red no less), while my grandparents piloted a pair of E30s, one sedan, and one coupe. Indeed, it was in my blood from a very young age, a fondness that—despite BMW’s recent styling atrocities—still has barely waned.
I joined the BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) before I could drive, just to further immerse myself in my growing obsession for all things motorsport. I’d mull through pages of the Roundel, dreaming of one day being able to call a BMW my own.
As luck would have it, I’ve had the opportunity to own my fair share, but my E90 M3 has been the one I’ve kept the longest. It’s been eleven years since I bought my very first brand new car, and now, with Future Classic’s momentum, it’s certainly one that will continue to evolve as we dream up more ways to improve it.
A couple of weeks before the event, the opportunity arose to celebrate the club’s 50th year in the flesh with Akrapovič, so my E90 went to Fall-Line Motorsports to swap exhausts with my girlfriend (who coincidentally fitted an Evolution titanium system a few months prior). With how much can change in fifty years, lasting (or even living) that long is an achievement in itself, but as a community-driven entity? Really incredible. To put it into perspective, Porsche celebrated its 70th year as a manufacturer last year.
Soon after, the car was loaded up for the trek out East, and we jumped on a plane, excited to take in the sights, sounds, and good company that the event promised.
The car arrived without a hitch and was reunited with its F80 blood brother the night before the event began. With matching Akrapovič exhaust systems, the two cars were even more similarly modified than usual, and it was a real visual treat to behold. With rain almost inevitable for the show, we took the opportunity to cruise through downtown Greenville as a duo, taking in the picturesque streets and scenic river before parking them back at the hotel.
It was the first time I had really gotten a chance to open up the car with the Akrapovič system fitted, and I was absolutely floored by how much I liked it. The Akrapovič is so balanced—it allows you to enjoy the full gamut of symphonic noises the S65 naturally produces, from induction to exhaust. Everything the car was doing was that much more apparent, more communicative. By contrast, the Eisenmann + RKP setup dominates everything. It’s altogether a much louder exhaust, and in doing so, it’s really the only thing you’re able to perceive. Two very different experiences, two different types of theater.
We were among the first to arrive in the morning and were greeted by another pairing—the iconic BMW 315 and 328 roadsters—the former a pseudo predecessor of the latter in the same way the E90 predates the F80. I took a moment just to take it all in and found myself gushing over being here standing in front of these two as a die-hard BMW enthusiast.
Soon after, cars from every era started to arrive in droves—a sea of vibrant colors equally blended with muted tones, big coupes to small roadsters, modern SUVs, and early Alpinas—they were all here, undeterred by the downpour.
The whole event was homogenized in this way—no segmentation by chassis—as every enthusiast was created equal, and you could feel the same amiable vibe resonate with each earnest conversation.
Lunch was a delicious array of pure Southern fare and did well to counteract the dropping temperatures. Despite the cold front, spirits remained high, and it was so incredible to see enthusiasts latching onto not only both cars but also what we as Future Classic were doing as a company. The club stickers and custom build sheets brought curious onlookers closer, and many stayed to chat about the prospect of furnishing their own cars with something from our growing outfit. It was such an incredible reassurance that we are speaking the right language to the discerning enthusiast—both as a motorsport parts manufacturer and worldwide car club.
After the event, we re-staged the cars for the Akrapovič-sponsored dinner and decided to make a quick trip to the nearby BMW CCA Foundation; there was a rare opportunity to purchase items from a recently passed member’s BMW collection. By the time we arrived, we’d been told that a large portion of it had already been sold, so I figured there were probably only handfuls left. Nevertheless, there were over a hundred examples still available, amongst them quite a few gems.
I was unprepared for the eye candy in the foundation’s garage area—there was a carefully curated collection from all over the United States that filled the cavernous space in the middle of the room—while a slew of enviable BMW memorabilia overtook every inch of wall space. The perfect garage.
Of all places, we ran into some members from the Windy City chapter on our way out. But before Larry and I could get to chatting about our latest obsessions for the next two hours, he was quickly escorted away by his wife.
Despite the coincidence, it has to be said that the car community as a whole is a small one. But on this trip, on this special day, it felt like the whole world was on the same wavelength. I have to extend another huge thank you to Daryl and Alex from Turn 14 Distribution for the opportunity. This trip solidified that my E90 has transcended being just a car for me, and being surrounded by fifty years of community-driven history was yet another exceptional memory to add to my 11-plus-year ownership. I enjoyed so much about this trip it makes me excited about what future adventures await me in my E90.