The idea of holding this event was originally proposed and met with enthusiasm from various groups. After perusing a National Geographic map of the United States it became apparent that a meeting point equidistant between Vancouver, San Diego and Denver was located in the redwoods of Northern California. The obvious locale was the Benbow Inn.
Help was requested and several people volunteered to become facilitators for many different geographic areas. Of all the facilitators only three had met each other. Through this virtual effort, they all shared the vision of a grand meeting of E-31s.
That was 2003. At that time they had an overwhelming number of registered attendees, from 19 of the United States, two provinces of Canada, (including Ontario), and Germany.
The BMW 8 Series (chassis code: E31) is a V8 or V12-engined, two-door, 2+2 coupe built by BMW from 1989 to 1999. While it did supplant the original E24 based 6 Series in 1991, a common misconception is that the 8 Series was developed as a successor.
This year’s gathering was even better with perfect weather and a full weekend of activities. Event facilitator Steve Cohen from Santa Rosa said no one would be bored and there were plenty of things to keep everyone busy renewing old friendships and making new ones.
Friday afternoon was spent checking in to the Benbow Inn with overflow participants staying at the Humboldt House Inn. The car owners washed and polished their rides in preparation for the arrival of friends from all over the United States and British Colombia. Cohen said there were people driving from New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Arizona, Florida, and of course California.
On Saturday the group drove out to Honeydew and Petrolia and had lunch at A.W. Way Park. Then the fun began with the drive over the hills of the Wildcat to Ferndale where they spent some time shopping before driving back on Hwy. 101 and through Scotia. Back at the Benbow Inn they enjoyed happy hour and dinner.
On Sunday they drove north up the Avenue of the Giants and back south to Richardson Grove where they had reserved the campfire area for lunch. Later that day tech sessions were held where participants could talk about their cars and discuss the “technical” responsibilities involved with owning such a classic automobile. The evening would end with a farewell dinner and awards celebration.
Monday morning, they had breakfast and said their goodbyes to old and new friends in expectation of the next time they would get together.
Cohen said it takes a large group of people to put on this event and it is because of such dedication they had a great time in the redwoods. He wanted to thank John and Teresa Porter and the entire staff at the Benbow Inn for their great hospitality.
REDWOOD TIMES PHOTO BY SUSAN GARDNER
Tom Carter, a.k.a. Wuffer, stands next to his bright red 1991 BMW that has 250,000 kilometers on the engine. Carter said it took him 12 hours to drive from British Colombia. Carter said he has built 11 BMWs using various parts.