Report and photos by Zoltan Papp
Seldom happens that the experience of a spectacular and memorable event can be further enhanced. That was the case with this year’s BMW Classic Tour which served as an after-act, following the heightened atmosphere of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, pampering a dozen invited journalists with a two-day tour.
The program was simple but very interesting: to celebrate the introduction of the new BMW 650i with eight old- and young timers in a tour from Italy to Switzerland, along the most enjoyable scenic routes passing across the Alps. The fleet of eight was awating the representatives of the press at the shore of Lake Como, in front of the Grand Hotel Imperiale.
All belonged to the 6-series and its predecessors: the six-cylinder, triple-carburettor 327/28 Coupe of which a mere 86 pieces were made in 1938 and 1939 represented sportiness, the eight-cylinder 503 Coupe and Convertible, capable of a top speed of 110 miles per hour, demonstrated the luxury of the mid-fifties.
The pearl of the small collection was the Bertone-designed 3200CS of which 603 pieces were manufactured between 1962 and 1965. It had a V8 engine, luxurious interior, electric windows, disc-brakes at the front, 124 mph top speed and a timeless elegance in a car that was very enjoyable to drive.
The 3.0 CS and Csi are emblematic touring coupes from the seventies, remembered by their rare mix of comfort, power and style. The 635 Csi is their straight descendant.
American, Belgian, British, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Romanian journalists, and one from Hong Kong, were driving in pairs, everybody drove each cars in turns, covering about 25-35 miles with each.
I formed the Belgian-Hungarian team with Iwan, always him driving first, and me as co-driver. Finding our way was never a problem, we always had some time to enjoy the landscape.
We started with the new 650i which I was happy about as it is more interesting to drive on mountain roads than in the dense city traffic, and I was more interested in the older cars anyhow. Unfortunately the 327/28 broke down in the beginning, so we had to rearrange the shifts.
By the end of the first day we covered about 100 miles from Moltrasio to Lenzerheide in Switzerland, and tried four cars. The evening was spent at 1600 meters above sea level, in the picturesque Guarda Val Hotel, in the company of some fine wines.
Three cars were left for the second day, and we organized the shifts in a way to make sure that the next car we drive is always older than the previous one. Usually, when you change from a powerful car to a less powerful the missing power is always apparent – not quite so in the case of the BMWs. The V8 and straight 6-cylinder engines could always deliver the necessary performance up to our target in Zurich.
The program was organized with the legendary German precision and attention to detail, and we could drive amazing cars.
BMW Classic Tour – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)
[Source: Zoltan Papp]