(Pardon the tardiness of this post while I attended to some other pressing matters.)
After the success of our first Cars & Coffee-type event of 2021, we decided to try it again; we even selected the same Dunkin’ Donuts location in Mahwah NJ. We had an enthusiastic turnout, and as much as this group has always enjoyed the morning cruise along country roads, there is something to be said for planting the car in one spot and devoting 100% of your time to chatting up the crowd.
The cars ranged from Corvettes (a C1 and C7), BMWs (a 2002tii and a 135 coupe), Porsches, a Nova, a Grand Prix, and your blogger’s Miata. Having arrived at 8am, much of the crowd was still hanging out at 11. Breakfast was top-notch (as good as a bagel and a hot coffee can get), and the late August weather, never predictable, cooperated. We enjoyed ourselves and we will do it again!
A TALE OF TWO BMWs
Both Sal with his 2002 and Art with his 135 were more than generous in offering me a chance to jump behind the wheel for a short spell. I haven’t driven a 2002 in who-knows-how-long, and I’ve never driven a Tii. Sal’s car is somewhat modified in the steering, suspension, and tire departments, although that’s not easy to detect by eye. He has ‘sport’ steering in it, with about a half-turn lock-to-lock (I’m kidding, but not by much). The car started right up, and the throttle response under the mechanical fuel injection was very linear. The 4-speed was easy to shift with a light clutch, and the sweet spot on the road was around 40mph in 3rd gear (not unlike my Alfa). Dashboard ergonomics were German-funky. After 10 minutes, I still never found the windshield wiper control. Visibility with that tall greenhouse is outstanding. Fifty years on, it’s quite easy to understand the revelation that BMW’s little sports sedan brought.
Art’s 2011 135 has just enough connection to the 2002 to see the familial resemblance, but of course, this is a 21st century automobile. All the controls are light, almost too much so, and the 6-speed is a delight to snick through the changes. There may be nothing quite as smooth as an inline-six (except an inline-eight), and BMW’s sixes are known for their sewing-machine precision in sound and performance. Funnily enough, I’m not sure that the dash ergonomics are much of an improvement over the 2002, but that is as much a function of electronics as it is design. For me, the size of this box is perfect, and many of the buff books at the time agreed, citing a 3-series car that had become too bloated. Art sought this out to have a RWD manual tranny ‘sports car’ and he’s got a jewel of one.
All photographs copyright © 2021 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.