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All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go

September 10th, 2013 8 comments

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

This was the first year since I bought my coupe that it did not work out to go to Dorkfest. Leaving my wife with a 5 year-old, 3 year-old, and 4 month-old to go be dorky just didn’t seem very thoughtful. I was also unable to come up with an economical way to get us all out to California either. What’s a guy to do?

One of the perks of maintaining a site like this is that in my search for car listings, I often come across parts listings as well. I also make lots of great contacts allowing me to pick up parts off recently purchased or soon to be sold cars. Over the last few years, I had accumulated many of the parts I’ve always had my eye on including:

Suspension

Brakes

Drivetrain

Wheels

The problem was that I was so busy this spring and summer (new baby), I could never find a good time to install or get the parts installed. I also usually try to budget some Dorkfest money and was a little bummed to not be joining in the festivities. Enter Alex (you may know him as Cloudbase on Bimmerforums). He recently purchased a 4-post lift and was looking for side jobs to help justify it :-). I knew he had done most of these jobs before, and his attention to detail was equal to my own. I packed up my hatch (who says sports cars aren’t practical?), and headed down to his house. Needless to say, I am more than happy with his work and really enjoyed hanging out and dismantling the hatch trim too. All in all, it was a pretty good Dorkfest alternative.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red

The downside of doing so many modifications at once is that it’s hard to feel the individual differences. I’ll do my best to describe my thoughts on each below.

Suspension

Back in the day, Jeremy Clarkson called the M Coupe’s handling “perfection”; and it truly is pretty unbelievable. But can perfection get any better? I now know the answer is yes!

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

20130831-10712002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs


TC Kline Smart Design D/A Coilovers

I always thought owners of these coilovers were exaggerating when I’d hear them say “they ride even better than stock”. How could dropping your car 1+ inches while firming up the struts and shocks make it ride even better? Well, I don’t know, but they really do. Even my wife noticed the difference in ride quality.

Also, in my opinion, the stock ride height of the M Coupes just looks way too high for my tastes. While I kept my ride height pretty conservative and more driving (rather than aesthetics) oriented, I still thing just the relatively subtle drop looks perfect and how it should have looked from the factory.

And finally handling, what the suspension is really all about on a sports car. Lets just say I have yet to meet the limits of these coilovers. Corners that I would previously start to lose traction on can now be taken significantly faster while sticking to the road. It’s almost uncanny. My first 5 minute test drive after getting the car back kept me smiling for a week.

I never thought I could love my coupe more, but I do. These are by far my favorite modification I’ve done thus far.

TC Kline Rear Shock Mounts
TC Kline’s rsms are built by Rogue Engineering who most agree make the best rear shock mount available. The TC Kline version is just prettier :-). It was almost a pity to cover them up with carpet.

Why replace them? First of all, the stock rsms have rubber bushings that are known to wear out and cause clunking sounds from the hatch area. Most importantly though is that the stock mounts require you to disassemble the entire hatch just to detach the rear shocks. It took Alex and I about an hour doing it together. Just to make sure I’ll never have to disassemble the hatch again, Alex cut small access holes above the rsms to allow shock adjustments in the future. The holes are covered by black plastics caps; most would never know it’s not stock.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

Vorshlag Camber Plates
I read lots and lots of reviews before deciding to go with Vorshlag’s camber/caster plates. TC Kline and Ground Control also offer nice alternatives, but Vorshlag has a very long history of making reliable plates for E36 BMWs, and most agree they still have the best overall design. I have not tracked my coupe yet, nor do I plan to ever make it a regular occurrence, but I do appreciate the adjustability.

One thing to note, when you install any set of camber plates and remove the stock strut mounts, be sure to keep the stock strut tower reinforcements on top of the plates. I’ve come across a couple coupes that have cracked their front strut towers after removing the reinforcements. To get the full range of adjustability from the camber plates, you may need to trim the reinforcements a little depending on the design of your plates, but they’ll still be doing their job. Most agree having a strut tower bar also reinforces the strut towers and may be enough reinforcement. Better safe than sorry though. Alex even sanded an repainted my reinforcements while they were out of the car; that made my day.

Powerflex Subframe Bushings
Polyurethane subframe bushings may be one of the best and perhaps most important upgrades you can make to your coupe. Not only do they settle much of the tail wagging behavior that the stock rubber bushings allow, they’ll also help protect your rear subframe and differential mount (see here). I do kind of wish I could have experienced having subframe bushings before installing the coilovers to have a better idea of how much they contribute to the transformed handling, but I did not. From what I’ve heard from others, they may be just as important to my new found cornering ability.

Besides Powerflex, both Ireland Engineering and AKG make highly acclaimed subframe bushings for our coupes. I went with Powerflex due to a couple trusted recommendations and a great deal on Ebay. I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them though. Also, unless your car is just for track use, I’d go with the slightly softer street versions of any of these. I’ve heard the race versions are incredibly firm and can add some discomfort and noise in normal driving.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

Brakes

 BMW Euro Floating Rotors
The floating rotors were standard on M Coupes everywhere else in the world (including Canada). BMW USA worried about their durability here and opted for plain old single piece rotors. My brakes have always worked great, but it was obvious my coupe had been winter driven by the original owner, and they were just ugly. I figured it was probably about time to replace them anyway, so why not upgrade? No, I don’t really need more stopping power; nor do I need the extra fade resistance the 2-piece floating design provides. They just look so cool! The center hub is aluminum which saves weight, but also does not discolor with age like the stock cast iron ones. There’s also a big shiny “///M” logo embossed on the hub. If you order the rotors now however, you’ll receive the same rotors though I’ve heard the new batch is missing the “///M” logo. I know it’s fickle, but I waited until I came across an unused set on Craigslist and verified the presence of the “///M”. Yep, I guess I’m that guy. I still know they weren’t completely necessary, but they make me smile every time I see them through my wheels. Of note, their was only ever floating rotors in the front. The rest of the world shared the plain rear rotors.

Hawk HPS Brake Pads
With the rotor change, I figured it was probably time to change/upgrade my brake pads. I’ve heard great things about Hawk pads from many both for the street and the track. I was primarily looking for something with increased stopping power (don’t know why) and way less brake dust. The High-Performance Street (HPS) pads from Hawk fit the bill perfectly. They also offer a Performance Ceramic pad that has even less dust, but for some reason I felt like I wanted the extra performance of the HPSs. So far, I’m a fan. I haven’t really driven them aggressively enough to feel the performance difference, but they are definitely less dusty.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

Drivetrain

Rogue Engineering Stainless Steel Clutch Line
This was not originally in my plan necessarily, but the guy I bought the rotors from threw it in for free. Score! I think Rogue Engineering makes great products, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s not the easiest to shift smoothly with these cars initially because of the clutch delay valve (CDV) BMW graced them with. This valve does exactly what it sounds like, it delays the action of the clutch in order to save the clutch from inept drivers. If you know how to drive manual, it really just slows your shifts and takes a soft touch to make them smooth (especially 1st to 2nd). Why not just remove the CDV? BMW thought of that and made it part of the stock clutch line itself. The only way to remove it is replace the line. The options are a stainless steel clutch line from a number of sellers or the OEM route is buying a stock, non-M Z3 clutch line which does not have the CDV built in. The Z3 has both the upside and downside of a rubber line in that it can expand with heat but is softer in feel. The stainless steel line does add a little bit of mechanical noise when shifting, but I already do not notice it anymore. The absence of the CDV was not really a night and day change for me like I thought it could be, but I sure notice the difference when I drive my dad’s coupe that still has it. Overall, I think it’s a worth while change.

Wheels

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

18″ BBS RGRs
Now for the most obvious change on my coupe: the new wheels. Unless you have a serious track car or have more power than your tire size can handle, wheels are pretty much just jewelry. It’s fitting that the color of my wheels is called diamond black. I’ve always loved M Coupes with stepped-lip wheels, and that’s what I had planned to find someday. But BBS RGRs have always been my favorite wheels in general and diamond black my favorite BBS color.  When I came across this set on Craigslist in Houston that came off of an M Roadster, it just seemed meant to be. That is until I emailed the seller, and he was only willing to sell locally with absolutely no shipping.  That’s ok, I happened to have a good friend moving back to Fort Collins from Houston two weeks later. Yep, the stars were aligned, and my friend had room on his truck.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRsI think 18″ wheels are the sweet spot for wheels on M Coupes. Granted the right set of 19″ wheels can look amazing, but I’m not willing to give up the ride comfort with even lower profile tires. This set happened to be as close as BBS makes to correct fitment (actually for E46 M3s) in 8.5″ et38 front and 10″ et25 rear. The tires are 255/35-r18 front and 285/30-r18 rear. The front tires are probably slightly wide and did rub on the coilover height adjuster when I tried them on my dad’s coupe. His coupe sits almost an inch lower than mine though. They sure looked good on black sapphire though. They fit perfectly on my coupe with absolutely no rubbing. I had picked up a set of Rogue Engineering 10mm spacers to try to offset the look of some of the camber picked up when lowering a car on trailing arms, so I left those one. The stance seems just right to me now.

What is also crazy to me is that even with wider wheels and much wider tires, they were noticeably lighter than the stock roadstars. BBS lists them at 18.6 pounds front and 21.2 pounds rear which is roughly 5 pounds lighter per corner. I guess forged aluminum does make a difference :-).

To be honest, the RGRs look way better on my coupe than I thought they would. I’m still not sure if I like the diamond black on steel gray though. They looked a lot better on my dad’s black sapphire coupe and I can easily picture them on alpine white, imola red or estoril blue too. If I keep them, I’ll probably try to track down some red BBS center caps to replace the current BBS/BMW caps. We’ll see what happens.

2002 BMW M Coupe Steel Gray over Imola Red with BBS RGRs

Special thanks to my wife for having the photo skills in the family. JennEileen.com

3rd Annual MCBG Fall Drive & BBQ

November 6th, 2012 Comments off

As it’s been over a month, and I have not done a write-up of my own M Coupe event, Alex was generous enough to let me post his. It was pretty awesome to have one of the largest coupe gatherings in the country at my house. It was an epic day! From Alex as copied from his blog, Life on the Lee-Side:

Fall is officially here, which means it’s time for the M Coupe Buyers Guide Fall Barbecue. M Coupe Buyers Guide is the best M Coupe resource on the internet.  We meet at its creator Jon’s house every spring and fall to stretch our car’s legs a little and geek out in his driveway. This year we had a record setting 9 M Coupes, 2 M Roadsters, 3 E90 M3’s, 2 E36 M3’s, and 2 motorcycles.  My brother John flew out for the weekend and drove the new addition to my fleet, a track prepped M Roady (I’ll post more about that later).

The New Addition

As the cars rolled into Jon’s neighborhood the numbers in attendance this year became staggering compared to previous years.  Lindsey travelled the farthest distance, coming all the way from Bozeman, MT in his Cosmos Black M Coupe with gold wheels.  Colby had the newest addition, with his nearly mint Dakar Yellow M Coupe.  Seth, who I met by refusing to allow his oil to be changed at Jiffy Lube came up with his Estoril Blue M Coupe.

A Record 9 M Coupes




After the obligitory photo session we drove out usual route through Poudre Canyon and Stove Prairie.  The High Park Fire this year had scorched large swaths of the canyon, while the ongoing drought had reduced the Poudre River to a trickle.  The colors of the canyon were diverse, with the usual yellow and orange colors contrasted deeply by black and greys in the burned areas.  There was a certain beauty to the destruction that contrasted the vivid colors of our M Coupe’s brilliantly.  The impact of the fire on the community, even after three months, was still fresh.  Signs thanking firefighters were posted by many residents and on Stove Prarire helicopters were dropping straw on mud slide prone burn areas.

80 Years of Automobile Evolution Separated by a Gas Pump


Staging Before the Canyon

Colby’s Dakar Yellow M Coupe

Firefighter Gratitude

John Driving the M Roady

Into the Canyon



Drought Stricken Poudre River Slowed to a Trickle

More Gratitude

Headed Up Stove Prairie



See the Helicopter?

John and I had to break off at the end of the drive, but not until we all got together for one last photo session overlooking Horsetooth Reservior.

One Last Group Shot

John in the Roady


2nd Annual MCBG Spring Drive & BBQ

June 21st, 2012 Comments off

One of Many Fun Curves

Well, it was just barely spring, but I’ll count it. Saturday afternoon in Fort Collins was not a typical day though. For several weeks, there has been a large fire burning just west of town. Unfortunately, this fire has covered all three of my favorite driving roads and nearly 200 houses (High Park Fire Map). Fortunately, the wind was pretty mild and not our of the west, so Fort Collins itself was not full of smoke. No typically beautiful blue skies though.

Helicopter

Helicopter

As an alternate route, we decided to go a little farther north and drive up to Red Feather Lakes. It ended up being a pretty fun drive. It’s not nearly as curvy as our usual roads, but very scenic with a few fun corners. We were also able to see several fire fighting helicopters refilling their buckets which is not something you see everyday. I believe Red Feather had been issued a pre-evacuation order so traffic was sparse, and town was virtually empty for a nice Saturday afternoon.

As Colby, our usual photographer, was busy, my wife Jenn took it upon herself to get some good photos. I think she did great for being her first time taking photos of cars (and good practice for the Dorkfest trip). You’ll also notice there are more photos with people in them than usual :). The only downside of having the photographer with me is that my car is not in as many photos :-).

Our group was a little smaller this time, but two new coupes joined the fun this year. In attendance were:

  • Jenn and My 2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe
  • Cameron’s 2001 Estoril Blue over Estoril Blue M Coupe
  • Jon’s 2000 Imola Red over Black M Coupe (sunroof-delete)
  • Todd’s 2010 Jet Black over Fox Red M3

After the drive, we came back to my house for brats and drinks. Cameron’s new coupe has a variety of envy producing modifications that we all enjoyed gawking at and later test driving (man it felt fast). All in all, it was a good day.

Sideview Mirror Shot

Sideview Mirror Shot

Keeping Up with Cameron

Keeping Up with Cameron

Parked in Red Feather

Parked in Red Feather

Jon's Imola Hood

Jon's Imola Hood

Cameron's Apex and Brembos

Cameron's Apex and Brembos

Cameron's Side Gill

Cameron's Side Gill

2010 BMW M3

Todd's Nostrils

2010 BMW M3

Todd's Side Gill

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe

My Front Fender

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe

My Side Gill

Parked in Red Feather

Parked in Red Feather

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

Group Shot

2010 BMW M3 Wheel

Todd's Wheel

Parked at Red Feather

Parked at Red Feather

Happy Birthday to Me!

March 18th, 2012 4 comments

2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe
It’s a rather unusual 80 degree day in Colorado on March 17th, what’s a birthday boy to do? Take the M Coupe out of winter hibernation of course! And that is exactly what I did. With the kids napping at my parents’ house, my dad and I drove back to my house and released the coupe from it’s winter home. I already knew what this birthday present was going to be, but it didn’t make it any less fun to unwrap.

M Coupe Indoor Car Cover

Winter Home Under Cover

M Coupe Indoor Car Cover

Unwrapping the Perfect Present

Imola Red and Black Interior with Color Matched Puma Driving Shoes

Puma Driving Shoes

Even though it has looked great under it’s tight, black, form-fitting cover, it looks even better without it. The drive also gave me the opportunity to try out two of my new modifications. First, my wife had bought me some imola red and black interior color-matched Puma driving shoes for Christmas (does she know me or what?). I had not had a chance to try them out yet. They lived up to the hype and will now be worn on all drives going forward. I had also only had one opportunity to drive using my new illuminated ZHP shift knob after installing it last fall. If anything, I like it even more than I remember. It completely transforms the shifting action. My dad probably got tired of me saying how much I liked it. Who knew such a small thing could make such a big difference. Man does it fell good to be back in the saddle again.

BMW M Coupe Imola Red and Black Interior

Back in the Saddle Again

Stove Prairie Road in a BMW M Coupe

Stove Prairie Road

We headed up Rist Canyon and back to town on Stove Prairie road which is one of my favorite routes. There were a few too many motorcyclists out, but it didn’t ruin the beautiful weather and even better roads. On our way back into town I pulled off on an overlook on the ridge over Horsetooth Reservoir, and my dad took some great photos. My wife used her photo editing skills to make them even better. See what you think:

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Horsetooth Reservoir

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Front 3/4

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Profile

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Rear 3/4

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Profile Detail

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Black & White Close-Up

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Rear 3/4

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Big Rock

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe Horsetooth Reservoir

Hood Detail

Needless to say, I had a very happy birthday.

Categories: My M Coupe Tags: , ,

2nd Annual MCBG Fall Drive & BBQ

November 12th, 2011 2 comments

Steel Gray BMW M Coupe

I can’t believe it’s already been a year since our last fall get together. As you can tell from the photos, winter started a little early in Colorado. It had snowed almost a foot at my house just a few days before. The day of the BBQ though, the temperature was around 50, the roads were dry, and there was fun to be had. It also made for some interesting photos. The weather did keep a couple of our mountain living friends stuck at home, but it was a great day overall.

In attendance were:

  • Jenn and My 2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe
  • Alex’s 2002 Imola Red over Imola Red M Coupe
  • Kevin’s 2002 Alpine White over Black M Coupe
  • Colby’s 2002 Alpine White over Imola Red M Roadster
  • Todd’s 2010 Jet Black over Fox Red M3

It’s interesting that all but Kevin’s coupe had red interior, and all but Todd’s M3 had an S54 (though his 4.0L V8 is not so bad either). Jon road up with Alex because his imola red S52 coupe was having some cooling system issues after a track day earlier in the week.

We started at our house at 9:30 am. Even though this is my 4th coupe BBQ, it still feels like Christmas morning sitting in the garage and first hearing then seeing coupes driving down my street towards my house. When everyone had arrived, we set out on our usual route up Poudre Canyon then back on Stove Prairie Road. We were not sure what the roads would be like (especially on the far less traveled Stove Prairie), but were very pleasantly surprised.

Our first stop was at the intersection of Stove Prairie Road with Poudre Canyon where we took so many great shots last year. It was a little muddy this year and far less scenic, so we didn’t stick around too long.

M Coupes at  Stove Prairie and Highway 14

Stove Prairie and Highway 14

M Coupes at Stove Prairie and Highway 14

The Interloper

Instead we sent Colby and my sister Lindsay back down Poudre Canyon about a mile to the tunnel to take some moving photos which came out very nice.

M Coupes in Poudre Canyon

M Coupes in Poudre Canyon

M Coupes in Poudre Canyon

M Coupes in Poudre Canyon

2002 Imola Red BMW M Coupe in Poudre Canyon

Alex's M Coupe

Todd's 2010 BMW M3 in Poudre Canyon

Todd's M3

2002 Alpine White BMW M Coupe in Poudre Canyon

Kevin's M Coupe

2002 Steel Gray BMW M Coupe in Poudre Canyon

My M Coupe

After that Colby put down his roof and had Jon drive his roadster while he turned around and took some photos.

BMW M Coupes on Stove Prairie Road

Stove Prairie Road

BMW M Coupe on Stove Prairie Road

Alex Taking Off

BMW M Coupes on Stove Prairie Road

Stove Prairie Road

BMW M Coupes on Stove Prairie Road

Coming Through the Trees

We all made it safely back to our house and enjoyed some brats, beer, and time staring at my beautiful driveway. Until next spring…

BMW M Coupes

Back to My Driveway

BMW M Coupes

Side View

BMW M Coupes

Side View

BMW M Coupes

Rear View

All the photos of are courtesy of Colby and Alex. See more on Colby’s Flickr Photostream and Alex’s SmugMug page.

Categories: Events, My M Coupe Tags:

Warmup for Dorkfest

August 1st, 2011 Comments off

Steel Gray and Alpine White M Coupes

Friday morning, I met Kevin and his alpine white S54 M Coupe for a 300+ mile morning drive. We started at Starbucks in Fort Collins at 6 AM and went up Poudre Canyon, down Stove Prairie Road to Masonville, cut over to Loveland to go through Thompson Canyon to Estes Park, into Rocky Mountain National Park, and up the seasonally open Trail Ridge Road to an altitude of 12,183′. Up at the top, we pulled out of a scenic overlook and were followed by a Park Ranger the next couple miles. He eventually pulled me over and took my information. After 20 minutes and 100s of tourists staring at the two funny looking cars that were in trouble, he came back from his cruiser and gave me a written warning for not coming to a complete stop before following Kevin out of the overlook. It was almost enough to ruin my day, but we pressed on.

Steel Gray and Alpine White M Coupes

Trail Ridge Road

Steel Gray and Alpine White M Coupes

Trail Ridge Road

The original plan was to head back home from there, but they were doing road work at the bottom of the mountain that we didn’t want to have to go back through nor did I feel like following the park ranger who had turned back down the mountain. We decided to head down the other side to Grand Lake and Lake Grandby. From there we turned onto 125 to Walden, CO. There’s virtually nothing in those 55 miles. The first half of the road contains long sweepers through a valley along the Colorado River. It made me forget all about the ranger. At Walden we parted ways as I actually had to go home and do some work, so I headed over Cameron Pass, back through Poudre Canyon to Fort Collins. Kevin continued on to double his trip through Steamboat Springs all the way to Hayden.  He then headed south on Twentymile Road (a cool stretch as it turned out) to Oak Creek, then via 131 to Toponas.  He cut east on 134 and 40 to Kremmling, then south on 9 through Silverthorne, then 6 through Keystone and over Independence pass back to I70.  He said it was dark when he finally headed back.

This was the longest day I’ve spent in the coupe (about 7 hours), and it handled perfectly. Aside from the ranger, we did not have an issue and I came out of the driver seat feeling refreshed. It only makes me look forward to the 1,200 mile drive to Dorkfest even more.


View July 29, 2011 – Drive with Kevin in a larger map

Edit: We also saw an Evergreen M Roadster on the way up the canyon to Estes Park. It was right at a blind corner, so we didn’t even get a chance to wave.

Categories: My M Coupe Tags: ,

Photos with Dad

July 17th, 2011 3 comments

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Almost every Saturday morning, I get up at sunrise and head for the local canyons and mountains outside of Fort Collins in my M Coupe. Traffic is non-existent, the cows aren’t wandering in the open range, the deer have called it a night, and the cyclists are still asleep. It’s just me and my coupe, and often times a lucky passenger. This week my dad rode with me. He’s been a photographer for a long, long time and has great photos from all over the world, but he’s never taken photos of a car before. It was a first for us both. We started off a little clueless and unable to figure how to get the lighting right in the locations we wanted, but eventually caught our stride. I have a feeling we’ll be trying it again sometime.

All of these locations are on the route I drive almost every week, but I had never pulled over to appreciate them before. I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful place.

I have not doctored or cropped any of these because I don’t really have that talent, but if you’d like a full size version to play with just send me an email. Here are a sampling of the results.

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

On the Bridge

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

On the Bridge #2

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Through the Tunnel

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Found Some Sunlight

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

First Motion Shot Attempt

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Second Motion Shot Attempt

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Through the Tunnel #2

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Canyon

Steel Gray over Imola Red BMW M Coupe

Found Some Sunlight #2

Categories: My M Coupe Tags: ,

1st Annual MCBG Fall Drive & BBQ

October 10th, 2010 Comments off
M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

The Coupes in the Canyon

As promised, there was just no way we  could hold ourselves to just one BBQ per year. This time, we included a drive too which will undoubtedly be part of every future BBQ. The day started early for Colby, Lindsey and Kevin who met at 10 AM in Loveland to start the drive up to Estes Park where Alex met them later. On their way back, my wife Jenn and I joined up with them at a little general store in Masonville from which we headed north on what most of us now call our new favorite road in Colorado: Stove Prairie. It was a beautiful day for a drive with blue skies, perfect temperature, and the aspen leaves turning a stunning shade of yellow. We probably would have appreciated it more if it hadn’t all gone by in a blur. After a “spirited”, grin-inducing drive up Stove Prairie, we breathlessly pulled to the side road where it meets up with Highway 14 in Poudre Canyon for a few photos. The group ended up including:

  • Alex’s 2002 Imola Red over Imola Red M Coupe
  • Colby’s 2002 Alpine White over Imola Red M Roadster
  • Kevin’s 2002 Alpine White over Black M Coupe
  • Lindsey’s 2000 Cosmos Black over Dark Gray M Coupe
  • Jenn and My 2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red M Coupe
M Coupe Drive

The Lineup

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Stove Prairie and Highway 14

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Looking Back Up Stove Prairie

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

I Love Steel Gray in the Sun!

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

A Beautiful Day for a Drive

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Ready to Move Out

Jenn then took over driving duties in Colby’s M Roadster, so he could take some moving photos as we drove through Poudre Canyon. They started in the front of the pack and worked their way back getting photos of each coupe.

Jenn Driving Colby's M Roadster

Jenn Driving Colby's M Roadster

M Roadster Photos

Colby Doing His Thing

I had a tough time narrowing the photos down to even this many. The results are amazing:

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Alex's Coupe Leading the Way

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

My Coupe

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Beautiful Scenery

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

My Turn for Photos

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Getting Creative

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Lindsey & Kevin

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Lindsey & Kevin From the Back

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Everyone from the Back

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Fun's Over

Alex’s buddy drove his car back, so he was able to take some nice photos as well.

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

My Favorite Shot of the Day

M Coupes - Poudre Canyon

Alex Making the Most of His Roof Rack

Some great individual photos were taken throughout the day as well.

Steel Gray M Coupe

My Steel Gray M Coupe

Steel Gray M Coupe

My Steel Gray M Coupe

Steel Gray M Coupe

My Steel Gray M Coupe

Steel Gray M Coupe

My Steel Gray M Coupe

Steel Gray in Imola Red M Coupe

Alex's Beautiful View

Imola Red M Coupe

Alex's Imola Red M Coupe

Imola Red M Coupe

Alex's Imola Red M Coupe

Imola Red M Coupe

Alex's Imola Red M Coupe

Cosmos Black M Coupe

Lindsey's Cosmos Black M Coupe

Cosmos Black M Coupe

Lindsey's Cosmos Black M Coupe

Alpine White M Coupe

Kevin's Alpine White M Coupe

Alpine White M Coupe

Kevin's Alpine White M Coupe

We then took a few back roads to my house for some food, drinks and more photos.

M Coupe Driveway

Dream Driveway

M Coupe Driveway

Dream Driveway

M Coupe Driveway

Side View

M Coupes and M Roadster

Staring Down the Roadster

M Coupes and M Roadster

M Roadster Included

M Coupe Backsides

M Coupe Backsides

Imola Red M Coupe Interior

Through the Windows

Imola Red and Alpine White M Coupes

Alex's and Kevin's Coupes

M Coupe Group

The Group

M Coupe Driveway

And I'm Spent...

Thanks to Colby, Alex, and my sister Lindsay for the great photography. I can’t wait to do it again.

If you’d like high res versions of any of these photos or want to see more contact me or visit Colby’s Flickr page or Alex’s SmugMug.

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My Coupe’s 1st Spa Day

October 9th, 2010 2 comments
Colby Polishing

Colby Making My Coupe Even More Beautiful

At the BBQ, parked in the sun next to Glenn’s pristine steel gray coupe, it became apparent I had some swirl marks. The previous owner of my coupe works for Adam’s Polishes, so I assume they were not left from him, but it did spend almost 3 weeks at a dealership and there’s just no helping cars there. Colby told me he’d polish it for me if I brought it up to his house in Cheyenne the next day. I couldn’t pass that up, so I told my wife I’d be back in a “few hours” and headed up around 11 AM the next morning after church.

When I pulled up, Lindsey was just finishing washing his cosmos black coupe (that had apparently driven through a large bee hive the previous day :)). He moved his car out of the shady corner of the driveway to let me wash mine. Colby went over to his shelves (plural) of detailing supplies and grabbed me a couple buckets, several styles of wash mits, a leaf blower, and microfiber towel. Being someone who has only ever used one bucket, one sponge and a shammy I needed a little instruction. I learned the following steps for a clean, scratch-free car:

  1. Wash the wheels using their own bucket and a  small round wax applicator with a pocket for your hand
  2. Wash the rest of the car top to bottom with the microfiber wash mit
  3. Blow dry with the leaf blower using the microfiber towel for any small drips it misses

These were all new ideas to me, but I have to say I’ve been converted. The idea of work smarter not harder holds true here. Before the next washing I went out and bought the wax applicators for the wheels and microfiber wash mit. Running your hand directly over the paint while inside the wash mit gives you an even greater appreciation of the coupe’s curves. I haven’t quite sold my wife on the necessity of a leaf blower yet, but I’m working on it :).

Typically the next step would be a thorough clay barring, but my paint was in nice shape so we skipped right to polishing. While Lindsey worked on clay barring his coupe, we pulled my coupe into the garage for a polish.

All Taped

All Taped

Colby got out his Porter Cable random-orbital polisher and selection of Menzerna polishes. After a fruitless search for the painters tape roll Colby had been using earlier (found hours later in his trunk), we used a different roll and taped up everything we didn’t want polished. By this time, my “few hours” had just about expired, but I couldn’t wait to see what he could do. He explained the different levels of polish to me with each one being a little more aggressive. When the stage 1 polish failed to get out every single scratch, he decided he’d do two stages on the hood and roof where the swirl marks were most apparent, one stage for the rest of the panels, and finish with a sealant.

About 5 hours, a couple beers,  and several calls from my wife later, it was complete. Lindsey helped Colby and I wipe off the final sealant with Colby’s “for paint” microfibers and pulled it out into the sun. Then just stared…for a while. The paint on this 8 year-old car looked better than either of my last two cars ever did, both of which I bought new. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the sunset off the mirrored reflection of my hood on the drive home.

I really wish I would have brought a decent camera (rather than just my phone) for before and after photos because the difference was pretty unbelievable. I thought it looked good before and the photos from the BBQ look stunning, but even my wife and later my mom thought it looked 10x better when I got home.

If you’d like to hire Colby’s remarkable skills and detailing products/equipment, shoot him an email at colbys.detailing@gmail.com. I guarantee you’ll be blown away.

The Result

The Result The Result

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1st Annual MCBG End of Summer BBQ

September 17th, 2010 3 comments

When our coupe did not arrive in time for the final Bimmer Burger Night of the summer, my amazing wife suggested we should just host our own BBQ to introduce our coupe to the world. Our coupe came at kind of a busy point in our lives, so we sent out the invites the day before. Amazingly we were able to find a few takers on such short notice. We then thought, “We should do this every year and make it an annual thing.” Hence it became the 1st Annual M Coupe Buyers Guide End of Summer BBQ. We had so much fun, we may need to institute a Fall BBQ, Spring BBQ, Beginning of Summer BBQ, and Mid-Summer BBQ.

Our attendees included Glenn with his 2002 Steel Gray over Imola Red sunroof-delete M Coupe with only 7,000 miles, Lindsey with his 2000 Cosmos Black over Dark Gray sunroof-delete M Coupe, and Colby with his 2002 Alpine White over Imola Red M Roadster. My little sister Lindsay also stopped by to hang out, see my coupe, and take some photos. I’m not sure why they say sunroof-deletes are so rare; I was the only one there with a sunroof :). Next time, we’ll try to plan ahead a little better so some others will be able to make it.

My driveway became something out of an Z3 M lover’s fantasy. We all stood in the street and giggled at the sight. Colby brought his very nice camera and the results are below:

Let me know if you’d like a higher resolution version of any of the photos.

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Separated at Birth?

September 17th, 2010 Comments off

Produced just 13 days and 22 cars apart in October 2001, Glenn and my M Coupes (#39 and #17 of 2002 and the first of the year in this color combination) could have shared time together before being shipped out. It really was amazing to see them next to each other again almost 9 years later. They are near spitting images of each other. Besides Glenn’s rare sunroof-delete option and my European clear bumper lights, not a lot separates them from the outside. One interesting thing we did note – that we wouldn’t have if they weren’t parked within feet of each other – is that Glenn’s shadow chrome roadstar wheels were noticeably darker than mine. On the inside, Glenn’s driver seat bolster is the definition of perfection and about the only one that could make mine look less so. I have the 6-disc changer in the trunk and an alarm LED in the center console, but those are about the only noticeable differences.

Back in February, I was beginning to give up hope of ever finding a steel gray over imola red M Coupe and thinking of settling. When Glenn was nice enough to let me come down and gawk at his coupe, my fortitude to press on with my search was renewed. Now that I have finally found one, I’m so glad I held out all these years.

Thanks to Colby Gregory for taking all these amazing photos.

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First Photoshoot

September 17th, 2010 1 comment

Last Saturday, we had a mini get together at my house, and Colby Gregory as well as my sister Lindsay took some great shots of my new coupe. Enjoy!

That last photo will need to be retaken now that Colby has polished out every last one of those imperfections :).

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Worth the Wait!

September 12th, 2010 7 comments

Front 3/4

My apologies for the lack of updates. My new coupe arrived safe and sound on Thursday at 1 PM. I’ve been driving it about every free moment since including a 4:30-6:30 AM drive through local canyons the following morning. After my previous shipping update, the driver was much better about consistently updating us and even called when he was a mile out to give me a play by play as he got closer and honked as he drove through our subdivision. It arrived from its several thousand mile journey in good shape but dirty. After a very quick wash, my wife and I took it up to a local canyon to try it out. We both had a blast. I think it’s even better than I ever imagined it could be. I’m very glad I held out for just the right one. I can’t stop staring at it and look for excuses to sneak out to the garage. It was definitely worth the wait!

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A Shipping Saga – Part 2

September 8th, 2010 6 comments

The saga continues… Monday afternoon I received word from the dealership owner that the truck was fixed and headed this way. The driver called and said he planned to drive as far as possible Monday night, hit it hard on Tuesday, and should be here by Wednesday. It’s not going to happen, but it’s not really his fault this time. He just called to let me know a couple hours ago he was randomly selected for an Inspection 2 at a weigh station in Iowa and they found a couple minor things he has to fix before they’ll let him continue. He said things should be straightened out soon, and he’ll be on his way again. He’s still 665 miles away, so I’m pretty sure he won’t make it today, but I feel like I’m getting the truth now. He even sent me a couple photos while he was waiting for his truck to get fixed. The coupe looks good, and I’m glad to see the dealership didn’t put on a tacky logo! It also seems to be in ok company. I think I can see an Audi behind it, BMW above it, and Cadillac DTS in front of it. One more day…

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A Shipping Saga

September 6th, 2010 6 comments

The following story may be hard to fathom, but believe me, I’m not creative enough to make it up. It all started when an independent transport driver, contracted in the past by the dealership I bought my coupe from, overheard them saying they needed to get a car out to Colorado. He told them he could pick it up as soon as it was ready and could do it cheaper since he was headed this direction anyway. The dealer knew my budget was stretched and I wanted it as soon as possible(we split the shipping cost 50:50). They knew and trusted the driver from past experiences but because it was a long trip verified his insurance through the VIN number on his truck, double-checked that his license was up to date, etc. and everything checked out fine.

The M Coupe was promptly picked up as promised on Saturday, August 21st within 24 hours of my check arriving. They were told, and passed along to me, that it should be in my driveway by the end of the next week. I thought perfect, it will hopefully get here just in time for the final Bimmer Burger Night that Thursday. People on Bimmerforums were asking me Thursday morning if it was going to be there, so I got the driver’s number from the dealership so I could check on his progress. I hoped it would be there that day but understood if it wouldn’t be till Friday or even Saturday. I was planning on going to a local Porsche/Audi show on Sunday with a friend, and assumed it would be here at least by then. The first thing he said was “I should have it to you sometime next week”. Hmm… I said, “so…Monday?”. He replied, “Monday to Wednesday. My dispatcher has been running me around, and I’m still in Alabama headed towards Texas. I’ll have it in your driveway on Wednesday at the latest.” I thought, well, I guess I’ll miss those two events, but I’m still getting an M Coupe.

Monday and Tuesday I left the window of my office cracked so I would hear any approaching diesels just in case. On that Tuesday, September 1st, I called again to make sure everything was still on track for Wednesday. My wife was going to be working Thursday and Friday and really wanted to be here for the coupe’s arrival. He said, “well, I’m still in Houston which is 19 hours away, but if I don’t run into any delays I should get there tomorrow afternoon.” On Wednesday, I was so excited I spent the day watching out my window rather than working. At 4PM, it hadn’t come yet and I hadn’t heard from him, so I called the driver again for an update. He said, “my dispatcher is sending me back to Tennessee to pick up a car, we can get it to you by Saturday if I transfer your car to another truck in Nashville tomorrow.” This is when I started to worry and called the dealership and asked if they thought that sounded funny. My contact at the dealership agreed with me and said he’d get the dealership owner involved.

The dealership owner called me 45 minutes later still huffing and puffing from his “conversations” with the driver and his dispatcher. He told them it was ridiculous to bring my car back east, it’s already a week past the original delivery date, they’re not moving it to a different truck with a driver he wasn’t familiar with, etc. He said after a lot of yelling, the dispatcher eventually promised it would stay on the truck with the original driver and be here by Saturday. There wasn’t much else I could do, so I decided just to wait for this Saturday. I figured my wife will be off work, it’s a long weekend, it will be fun to have a few days to drive it without worrying about my own work.

On Saturday morning I hadn’t heard anything else, so I called to check in and see where it was. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the driver say he was in Denver. I was kind of afraid to ask, but just to make sure I asked if it would make it up to Fort Collins that day. He said he had two deliveries in the Denver area but thought he “should” make it by that afternoon. Around 5 o’clock that evening, after spending most of the day hanging out in the garage and driveway with my family waiting for it to come, I gave him another call. He said he couldn’t make it that night because he was running on Eastern time and had to call it a day. This sounded ridiculous to me being only an hour away all day and not making it up to Fort Collins. I called him back a few minutes later and asked where in Denver he was at. He said “South side”. I said, “All I’ve done all day is wait around for you; I’m not doing anything, we’ll just drive down and pick it up and save you the trouble of having to deliver it tomorrow.” He said “Not tonight, I need to go to bed. I’ll be there by lunchtime tomorrow.” What the heck?

I was pretty confident we would probably be getting the car today. I wore my “A Lot Like Nothing Else” t-shirt to church and my mother-in-law drove up from Denver to watch the kids so we could go for a drive when it arrived. We hurried home from church this morning, grabbed lunch on the way home, and ate it in the garage/driveway with the camera out and charged. 11 o’clock became 12 became 1 became 2… I finally called to ask what time they eat lunch on ‘Eastern time’? No one answered. I then wondered if he was avoiding my calls so I called him from my wife’s phone. He didn’t answer but called it back a minute later and seemed surprised to hear my voice. He said something about his dispatcher making him take a car down to Colorado Springs before bringing mine up to Fort Collins. It was 3:30 at that time, and since I found out the day before that he apparently shuts down at 5 I knew that was never going to happen. I said, “You’ve had my car for 15 days, moved back the delivery time 3 times, my family has spent most of the last week in the front yard waiting for it to arrive, you need to come here first. It’s only 45 minutes from Denver, I live 1/4 mile and 2 turns off the interstate on a through street that my neighbor parks his racing truck and trailer on most weekends. There aren’t any accessibility issues. You can be here and back in 2 hours.” He said he’d call his dispatcher and call me back. He didn’t.

I called my contact at the dealership on his cell phone to give him an update. He at first assumed I was calling with good news, but I wasn’t. He said he’d call the dealership owner and they’d get back to me ASAP.

My wife was getting pretty sick of spending all of our time, including the holiday weekend, waiting around for this guy. She called him herself and left a message. He called her back about an hour later. She went on to ask how he’s been in Denver the past 2 days and not been able to make the drive up to Fort Collins in that time. He said, “I don’t know”.

She asked, “What are you plans for tonight?”

He responded, “I’ll probably get some dinner and go to sleep.” (???)

She said, “Joy (the driver’s name, it’s a guy), we have kids, we can’t keep moving our schedule around for this car that you can’t get here. We have a contract and you’ve had the car for weeks. You said you’d have it here today and you’re going to. I’ll make you dinner when you get here. We have Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper we can send with you when you leave. We just want the car.”

He kind of laughed, then said, “I’ll do my best”.

“No, you’ve been saying you’ll do your best for the last week and a half and you haven’t.  We need it here tonight. We’re only an hour away. Did something happen to the car? Is there a reason you do not want to deliver it? Just tell us the truth.”

He responded, “No. No, ma’am, the car is fine. I’ve been taking good care of it. I have a lot of people mad at me right now who want their cars. My dispatcher keeps running me around and there’s nothing I can do about it.” Then sounding close to tears, “I’m about to quit. When I got this truck they said I could do what I wanted with it, but now they’re telling me other things. Everyone is mad at me and keeps calling. I should have never taken your contract and you’d probably have your car by now.”

“I’m sorry Joy, but you did take the contract and you said you’d get the car to us, so you need to do it. Where are you physically at right now?”

He said, “South of Denver”.

“Where south of Denver?”

He said, “Pueblo (which is about 2 hours south of Denver and 3 hours south of us and an hour south of the Colorado Springs drop off he had told me about earlier).”

She said, “We need it here tonight. When can you leave to start heading this direction?”

“Probably in about 20 minutes.”

She said, “OK, call me when you are leaving. I’ll be expecting your call in 20 minutes.”

“OK”

She repeated, “OK, I’ll be waiting for your call right next to the phone. Call me in 20 minutes when you are headed this direction.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

At this point, the day was wasted as he wouldn’t get to us until after 9 PM, my mother-in-law had long gone home, but I felt we had finally gotten through to this guy. And was pretty proud of my wife :). We even felt a little bad for the driver.

He didn’t call back, but about a half hour later, the owner of the dealership called me. He said he had talked to the driver. He said he had asked him the same questions over and over until he felt like he gotten the actual truth. He said the driver told him he had blown a turbo and has been on the side of the road waiting to get picked up. That did not match at all with what he had told us, and I’m sure my wife could read the dumbfounded expression on my face. How was he supposed to leave in 20 minutes to get us the coupe tonight and why didn’t he just tell my wife he was broken down? We would have understood.

The dealership owner then dropped the bomb, “he’s also saying he’s just outside of Pittsburgh which I know we can’t believe anything he says at this point, but I’m pretty sure it’s the real truth.” What?!? He continued, “I eventually got his dispatcher’s cell phone number out of him and called to chew him out. He confirmed that the car was in Pennsylvania broken down but says they now have 7 cars on it headed to Colorado and it would be on the road again by tomorrow morning. If it’s not moving by morning I’ll send a guy out to get it off the truck and bring it back to the dealership. We’ll then get it shipped out with a real transport company.” He said at the time they contracted with the driver they thought he was still driving independently and all his paperwork said so; that they didn’t know he was now running for a dispatcher. He apologized for me being in the middle of this whole thing, said they honestly thought they were doing me a favor by getting my car on the first truck out of town, and said they’d find a way to make it up to me.

No compassion for the driver anymore. Everything he’s said from at least Saturday on (if not before) was a lie including his 20 minute “heart-to-heart” with my wife. I’m hoping the truck is still broken down today, so the dealer can catch up to it and get my car safely off.

What I’m pretty sure happened is that this driver really was headed this direction but thought he could pick up my car on the side. His dispatcher then found out he had taken a side job on their truck and has had him running around the country filling his trailer with other cars coming this direction before he’d let him go. I have no idea why the driver said he was in Denver yesterday as there’s no possible way to back that up knowing what we know now. It’s also depressing that all this time the past week – and especially the past couple days – of us thinking it could arrive at any minute were so far from the actual truth. I”m pretty confident that the car itself is ok though.

So long story short, our car has toured the country for 15 days and is only 300 miles from where it originated. Who knows when and how it will actually get here?

To be continued…

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