Space Coast Region BMW Meet – 2012-07-07

This past weekend was the monthly Space Coast Region BMW Meet. This months turnout saw the arrival of two E36 M3’s by two of the frequent members of the group. After dinner at Cantinas Dos Amigos, we headed off to shoot some pictures by one of my favorite location. The guys were from Orlando and were dying for some pictures by the ocean, so I was more than happy to oblige.

First up was Zach’s E36 sedan:

I normally do not shoot these, but they requested a group shot, since the two of them are good friends.

Next was Marco’s E36 convertible:

I tried shooting higher up since the ocean was not really visible in my previous images. I actually think this was my favorite from the day:

And of course, Alex’s E39:

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Catching Up – June 2012

I haven’t been taking too many pictures lately, but I did have the opportunity to snap a few on two separate occasions. The first was taking some for sale pictures for a friend of mine. The second was at a local BMW meet.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Z33. They always had a very athletic and sporty look to them. My friend has owned this one for about a year, but decided it was time to let go of the fun car. It had the usual goodies on it and was a pretty good looking car. He asked me to snap a few pics for an ad for him. I was more than happy to help him out. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn’t quite right. These summer sunlight hours are still throwing me off! However, he was happy with them, so I guess I cannot be too irritated with them.

These pics from the BMW Meet in Orlando are one of the rare times I’m shooting in harsh sunlight. Thankfully, after taking this overall group shot, we moved to the overhang and were able to snap pics from there.

This wagon is really clean. I love the style of it.

Unfortunately, this was all I could get before the cops came to shoo us away.

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Space Coast BMW Car Meet – 2012-05-20

The Space Coast Region BMW Group attended the open house at Pierre’s Place on Sunday. It was a fun meet, but it reminded me why I don’t take pictures at car shows. It’s a lot more challenging than shooting a single car. I couldn’t find the angle I wanted to take the picture and get the lighting right. I guess I just need more practice.

I love this car. It just has such a cool, classic style to it.

The organizer of the regional meets:

My car:

Couple of guys from Orlando:

One of Pierre’s customers who showed up:

A friend of ours that showed up in his Porsche (better than showing up in his AMG!):

Another local:

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Finally Lowered – 2012-04-15

After searching around the internet and reading tons of threads, I decided to purchase a set of B&G lowering springs. These springs were chosen for a few reasons. First, I did not want to go for coil overs this time around. I don’t need all of the adjustability afforded by coil overs. Second, I did not like how the H&R springs only lowered the front. The B&G’s give a very low stance and do it evenly. And lastly, a friend of mine was selling hers, so these were cheaply available and if I don’t like them, I don’t have a lot of sunk costs.

The install went smoothly, and took me about 6 hours, including an oil change and power steering reservoir replacement. The drop came out perfect. Now that I know I like the drop, I’ll order some Koni Yellow shocks and struts to finish it off. Next time I’m in there, I’ll also replace a few of the arms and bushings, they are starting to show their age (especially in the rear).

This latest mod also got me out to take some new pics of the M5. I finally got to try out the gradient filters I picked up about a month ago. These are pretty useful for keeping the sky from blowing out.

Taken without the gradient filters:

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Taken with stacked gradient filters:

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M5 Pics by the Beach – 2012-03-12

I had been dying to take some more pics of my M5, but circumstances prevented me from doing so for the last few weeks. I finally got out to the beach behind my house and snapped some pics just before sunset. Shot with my Sigma 70-200 f2.8 with a CPL. No external lighting was used. I’m hoping to pick up a set of Cokin P graduated filters to help with the washed out sky. The M5 presents a very similar set of problems that the 330ci had.

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2001 BMW M5 – Day One

After weeks of ogling M5’s online, I finally picked up my 2001 BMW M5 to replace my recently sold 330ci. It is Lemans Blue with 137k miles. Everything is in excellent condition on the car, it even has new VANOS units, new tires, updated rod bearings, new cooling system, and new MAFS; all the common maintenance items that need to be done. Unfortunately, this gem was in Tennessee. I contacted the seller (European Auto Garage), agreed on a price with them, and bought a plane ticket.

First, let me say, Rich at European Auto Garage was very helpful. He picked me up Saturday morning from the airport, had all the paperwork ready, and made everything go very well. The car was exactly how he described it in his ads and over the phone. His shop is really sick, too. It’s the business I dream of running. If I lived in the area, I’d use them as my shop and would buy a car from them again.

Once back at European Auto Garage, I signed the paperwork, handed over the check and was on my way back to Florida. While it was a long drive, I made it back to the Merritt Island Saturday night car meet by 10 pm.

The next day, I washed the miles of dirt off of it and snapped these pictures. My friend with his 528i (the car I looked to as the inspiration for me buying an E39) had to see the M5, so I took a pic of the two cars together.

So far, I am loving this car. It may not be as nimble as my 330ci was, but its added size and all that power makes up for it.

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330ci is gone…

Last Saturday morning, the BMW 330ci went to a new owner, but it didn’t go without a fight.

Before I sold the 330ci to its new owner, I planned to replace the warped door with a clean one. Unfortunately, I was swamped all week and didn’t have any time to do it until Thursday after work, the day before the prospective buyer would arrive in Orlando to purchase the car. No big deal, I would just work on it until I finished, whatever time that ended up being.

Starting at 6:30 Thursday night, I started removing the old door. Everything went smoothly and by 8:30, the door was disassembled.

I continued working on the door, assembling the new door panel to the car. I lined it all up, got the door latch assembled to it and put the window regulator and glass into the car. At this time, I had to plug the battery back in to use the window to make sure everything worked perfectly. I loosely bolted the airbag to the door to keep in place and closed the door. Everything looked great. I turned around to grab the exterior trim and heard a sound like a small explosion and gas escaping.

Turning back to the car, I saw that the window had shattered and the airbag’s gas cylinder had gone off. It was 1 a.m., Friday morning. After swearing at the car for a few minutes, I called the buyer and left a message. I then went to Facebook to see if anyone had a window or airbag. There was nothing I could do until the next morning.

The next day, I tracked down a window, an airbag for Saturday, and coordinated with a friend who could clear the airbag code. I called the buyer who wanted me to fix all the issues before he took the car. He could stay through Saturday if need be. With that, I picked up a window from Safelite and assembled the door. It took quite a bit of adjustment, but eventually, I got it all together and working. I met the buyer for dinner in Orlando and he was happy with the car. Unfortunately, it was raining so his test drive was a little slow. We’d meet Saturday morning to finalize everything.

We met up around 9:30 in the morning and he drove it to the bank. It put a good grin on his face. We went to the bank, got everything taken care of and went to pick up the airbag. We head over to my friend’s house and I go to put the airbag in, and the connector was different. Talk about a kick in the nuts. The new owner was understanding and I gave him a few bucks back so he could take care of it when he returned home. He understood I did everything I could, and was still happy with the car.

He dropped me off at my house, and I watched the car drive off for the last time. Not going to lie, I was a little choked up. However, I am happy to see it go to an owner who is a car enthusiast and loves the car. He’s already got some modifications planned. He was also very happy to learn that he wouldn’t have to remove any of the modifications since he lives in a county without inspection.

A few days later, I emailed him to see how his drive went and if he and his fiance were happy with the car. He was ecstatic since the car could stay as it was and the drive went great. His fiance (not a car person) loves the car, which may be more of a problem than if she didn’t!

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