“Let me tell you something. They undercharge for this baby.” PAT PAT.
I looked up from behind the wheel of the M340i I was in to find a salesman looking at me. Was he talking to me? And did he really just tap the roof of this almost $70,000 car?
“This car is so fast…”
I stopped him right there. I was just in the dealership to take some reference images for the Performance Center, and I didn’t need his salesman speil. It’s not like he knew who I was anyway.
There are a lot of people around car culture that we might consider a necessary evil, like that poor soul. But I don’t do the BMW M Fall Cruise for them. I do it for you and I.
It is the sound of 265 BMWs roaring down the highway. It’s how the sunlight glistens off clean sheet metal on a crisp fall morning. And it’s smiles. Lots of smiles.
I know I’m pushing the boundaries of sanity when I’m asking everyone to show up on the edge of New York City at 7 AM on a Sunday. But the reward is a beautiful drive to Edgewater, New Jersey during sunrise, and uninhibited roads.
We roll into an empty parking lot, some single, some in groups. Grab a coffee at Starbucks, chat about everything BMW, and have a few laughs. It’s become a bit like a family reunion. Some faces I see often, some once a year, and some I meet for the first time.
So many are gracious. “Thanks for doing this Mike”. Thank you for coming!
Of course, the person planning the party never has as much fun, but that’s ok. I just want everything to go smoothly, and for everyone to have fun and be safe.
By 7:45, it’s about 75 cars deep, with many planning to join us en route.
I start my M3. That seems to get everyone’s attention. It’s time for the M Fall Cruise. Let’s roll.
How to shoot one hundred cars
I enlist my good friend and fellow driving enthusiast Kyle to get behind the wheel of my car for the hour drive to Yorktown, New York and FDR State Park. It’s a new destination this year, but the route remains the same. Up the Palisades Parkway, over the Bear Mountain Bridge, and through some of the best roads you’ll find on the eastern seaboard, all with spectacular fall views.
Once we leave Edgewater, it’s a slow cruise up River Road with Manhattan’s skyscrapers off our right side. I lead the parade, and it’s nothing but M behind me.
When we turn onto the highway, I have the best seat in the house as my M3 hangs out in the right lane. Everyone pulls out and drives past me as I snap roller after roller of everyone’s beautiful rides. The car pauses in formation so I can snap, and after a moment they zoom by to make room for the next.
Added smiles come from hearing everyone’s car. The E9X remains the king of aural pleasure, but all Ms have that distinctive sound. It’s intoxicating.
Car after car zooms by. My face gets frozen from the wind. I do not care.
It’s important to me that this remains an authentic experience. We meet up, we drive our cars, we hang out, and we’re home in time for Sunday family and football. It’s a good day.
So if I’m going to be bringing sponsors, it’ll be worth while. This year, I had the BMW CCA show some support, and the BMW Performance Center was kind enough to gave away a free Driving Experience.
Next year, perhaps there will be more.
We arrive at Yorktown to find a lot that’s actually big enough to accommodate everybody. 265 cars registered, and it’s clear that most showed up. The lot is two-thirds packed.
I set up the raffle for the PDC by my car, and then just sit back, shoot and have fun.
What’s nice this year is that a few old school Ms were on hand. An original E31 8 Series was there, as were some E36s. And hey, whomever had that Alpina-themed E30, bravo. Among the cleanest I’ve ever seen. Also there was a new iX. When I say all are welcome, I mean it.
As always, 99% of drivers are responsible, but a few knuckleheads ruin it as they pull out. Some things never change. There can’t be an M Fall Cruise if there’s no place to end it.
We are M
BMW isn’t perfect, and I’m no spokesman for the company. If we’re being honest, take the badges off the cars and you might find me in a Blackwing.
But badges do exist, along with the rich history and large following that BMW has. There’s nothing like an M car. I wish I could explain it.
The current marketing campaign for BMW M states “We are M”.
They are. But so are we. See you next year!
Special thanks to the BMW Performance Center! Also thanks to Kyle Walsh, without whom these images wouldn’t be possible.
If you attended the event and saw an image of your car, you can find it here.
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I use Nikon camera bodies and lenses, a Westcott Ice Light 2, Manfrotto tripod, B + W filters and an iMac Pro to make the art you see here.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Follow along on Instagram @machineswithsouls
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