West Coast Euro: 6 Picks from NorCal vs. SoCal
With both a large track day and car meet going on at the same time, there was a lot to see at the recent NorCal vs. SoCal Euro event at Buttonwillow Raceway. The variety of styles and types of European cars on hand made it difficult to pick favorites—but here are four BMWs and a pair of classic Volkswagens that caught our eye. From show cars to purpose-built track machines, prepare for Euro overload.
1. BMW E28 535is
First up we have a lovely machine spotted in the vendor area—an E28 chassis BMW 535is that was dripping 1980s perfection. There’s been a lot more interest in BMWs from this period lately, and after looking at this car it’s easy to see why.
Both the exterior and interior were immaculate, and the only big changes from stock were the more aggressive ride height and a period-appropriate set of BBS RS mesh wheels.
One of our favorite little details on the car were the headlight wipers—something you wouldn’t dream of seeing on a modern BMW but perfectly suited to the classic round headlights on the E28.
No, this vintage 5 Series wasn’t heavily modified like some the other cars on display, but with great lines and a presentation this clean, it didn’t need to be.
2. Simple & Pure E30 M3
Staying in a similar era, we head over to the track day paddock where we found this wonderful E30 M3 that came out to do more than just park and look pretty.
While certainly not a dedicated race car, the E30 was sporting a few track-appropriate modifications, like this set of lightweight Kosei K1 wheels mounted with Nitto NT01 rubber.
Elsewhere, the M3 was clean enough to make you mistake it for a garage queen, with a beautiful tan interior complimented by a Momo steering wheel and a pair of racing harnesses for the driver and passenger.
With the value of E30 M3s continuing to skyrocket at the hands of collectors, it’s going to become rarer and rarer to see them at the race track. Hats off to this enthusiast for using the car the way BMW intended.
3. How to Do an E36 M3
Now we move to the next generation of M3, the E36. While these cars aren’t nearly as valuable as their older counterparts, they are becoming more sought after, and super clean examples like this one are becoming harder to find—especially at the race track.
With some effective modifications, this car takes everything that was great about the E36 platform from the factory and improves upon it in a functional way.
Exterior wise the car has just the right amount of upgrades, with bits like the lightweight wheels and the carbon fiber intake duct that replaces the driver side headlight.
With great looks and the sweet sound of its inline six climbing to the redline as it lapped the track, it was easy to see why so many people have the E36 M3 pegged as a future classic to buy now before the prices jump.
4. German Body, American Heart
Next up we have another E36 M3, but one built in a much different style. This is Moton Suspension USA’s demo car, and there’s a bit more to it than meets the eye.
With a stripped out cockpit, full cage, fender flares and giant Voltex GT wing in the rear, this is a serious track machine, but the BMW purists might want to look away when the hood gets popped.
That’s because the factory straight six has been swapped out in favor of an GM LS V8 swap. It’s part Bimmer and part Corvette—and we can’t help but love it.
With a stout chassis and a lots of aftermarket support, the E36 is a perfect platform for an LS swap, and with its fantastic looks and track performance that speaks for itself, this has to be one of the coolest (and fastest) GM-powered BMWs around.
5 & 6. Scirocco & Corrado Duo
Last but not least we get to a pair of Volkswagens that were on display in the show and shine area, which was heavy on watercooled machines.
Mention the words "classic Volkswagen" and you might first think of something aircooled, but when it comes to the watercooled era the Scirocco and Corrado have an appeal all their own.
Whether you dig the uniquely '80s styling of the Scirocco or the equally cool '90s lines of the Corrado, both of these cars represent a very different era in VW's history, and it was really cool to see them both parked side by side.
The fact that both of these classic VWs were rocking choice sets of BBS RS wheels made them that much cooler, and a perfect way to complete this selection of Euro goodness.
Here's hoping there will be more of these NorCal vs. SoCal car meets in the future, because it's always cool to see enthusiasts from both sides of the Golden State get together for a day of fun like this.