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Presidents Message - Ruminations Per Minute (RPM)

It is hard to pin point when you become a car person. I was having a discussion with some friends about this because their seven-year-old is enamored with cars, Ferraris in particular, but most any “cool car” he is into. I suppose my love of cars and driving started young.

My mother tells the story of how as a four year old got into their Jeep CJ5 and released the brake and it started rolling towards our barn, she hopped in and hit the brakes, I was unfazed though it was fun. I think at one point my dad tried to be a car guy, back in the 1960’s he had a few Mercedes but he would bring the cars to the local gas station for service, remember this was back when the rest of the world was metric and we were standard, so they would strip all the bolts and screw things up.

By the time I remember their cars mom always had some kind of station wagon complete with the vinyl wood along the sides, and dad had Pontiacs. The one I remember most was massive and red with a white vinyl roof and swivel bucket seats. They were tanks, huge, ponderous, bouncy as all get out, tanks.

Then it happened was in high school in the early eighties and one of the local Chevy dealerships went out of business and a VW/BMW dealership opened up. My sister had her license and every now and then I would have her bring me (in dad’s dark green Pontiac Bonneville sedan) to look at the BMWs. There it sat a 1982 Agate Green with tan interior 320i. Somehow my sister and I convinced our parents that the 320i was a much better car than the Pontiac (well it WAS) and we should have it. Even though my sister drove it more than I did, I loved that car. I washed it, waxed it, drove it all around the back roads in suburban Philly, what a fun car.

I did not know about the BMW CCA at the time, but whenever a BMW would pass another BMW on the road the drivers would flash their lights at one another. The cars were rarer back then and passing one was not as commonplace as today and owners felt a bond to one another. Back then the common idea was that for a car to perform it had to have a big V8 and go fast in a straight line. BMW took the opposite view, lithe small cars with free revving smaller engines, chassis that really handled well. These were engaging and exciting cars to drive.

Fast forward thirty plus years and BMWs are rather common place with more model variations than Carter has pills. If you happen to flash your brights at an oncoming BMW you are more likely to get a middle-finger salute than a flash back, but there is this thing called the BMW CCA. It was around back then but it was not as well known. Today there are more than 80,000 members across the country all have different types of BMWs from X’s to i’s to 1,2,3,4,5,6,7’s and the wonderful M cars, lets not forget the MINI. Many different things draw people into the club. The BMW rebate for members over a year on the cost of a new BMW is a nice feature. There are many reasons why people buy them, status, attracted to the technology, love the way they drive. The BMW CCA mission statement says that The Club exists to enhance the BMW experience for our members by providing services, support, information, and activities that promote camaraderie and encourage social awareness and responsibility.

The Genesee Valley Chapter was founded by Joe Ajavon and Gene Skic over forty years ago on that feeling of camaraderie, and that feeling is still here today. Our area is massive serving all of Western New York. Be it at a winter time “car talk and a beer”, or an indoor karting event in Buffalo, our springtime pancake run, our Ultimate Drivers Schools at WGI, our Tire Rack Street Survival teen driving schools in Buffalo and Watkins Glen, we have lots of people committed to our group who are just nuts about their cars. If you have not been out and about with the Club lately, give us a try we are lots of fun. If you have an idea for an event in your area, we would love to help. Send me an email ( and I will do my best to help you get your event off the ground.

See you on the road, I’ll be the blue M3 sedan flashing his headlights at you.