In this final issue, Bob mourns the demise of BMW Car
This is the end, beautiful friend…” so said Jim Morrison and The Doors all the way back in 1967. The song – The End – was, of course, part of the soundtrack to Apocalypse Now and while I’m not quite as unhinged as many of the film’s characters become I am deeply saddened that after 28-years BMW Car will be closing its pages for the very last time. I’ve been involved with the magazine since 1999, 18-years as a staff member and another five in a freelance capacity, and it really does feel as if I’m losing a treasured friend. There have, however, been some fantastic times along the way and many of the best memories I have from my working life so far have come from my association with BMW Car. I’ve been extremely fortunate to travel to some incredible places with trips to BMW’s winter testing ground at Ajeplog being a particular highlight, as was a visit to the Sahara for the launch of the current generation of X3. We’ll gloss over nearly getting arrested in South Carolina at the wheel of a Z4 M… I really wasn’t going that fast, officer!
Countless European launches inevitably featured some memorable drives too, but it was often the trips in the UK that created standout moments. If I had to pick one out it would be spending 36-hours in the company of Munich Legends’ M1 way back in the August 2000 issue, driving the iconic supercar from Sussex up to the north York moors and back. While the car’s outright performance was impressive it was the way it felt on the sinuous and twisting moorland roads that really got to me. It was a sublime car and a great trip with that howling M-Power straight-six sitting right behind you it left indelible memories.
Things didn’t always go exactly according to plan and there was some bent metal involved along the way, but much to our insurer’s relief it was never of a catastrophic nature. I won’t mention the E92 M3 GTS incident as that really wasn’t our fault…
As well as having driven some amazing machinery over the years I’ve also met a host of fantastic people and been driven by some top, top drivers which is always a humbling experience and puts your own ability b›ind the wheel into question. The highlight? Probably sitting next to Nigel Mansell while he attacked the Bahrain F1 circuit at the wheel of an M1 Procar, although watching in awe as Hans Stuck drove me in an E46 M3 CSL and took it on a merry dance around a soaking wet track pushed it pretty close.
But it was perhaps meeting so many owners and enthusiasts over the years that was the real highpoint – after all, the magazine would have been nothing without its loyal readership. So thank you to everyone who gave up precious time on photoshoots and those who contributed to the magazine in a freelance capacity. I can’t say goodbye without also saying thank you to everyone at BMW (UK) Ltd who generously helped me throughout my time on the magazine. It really wouldn’t have been possible without them.
It was a wonderful rollercoaster ride while it lasted but times change and print media is seemingly becoming an endangered species. Still, every cloud has a silver lining – perhaps I can stop messing about writing about cars and find a proper job for once, or at least one that will pay the gas bill. I can just about guarantee that it won’t be as much fun as working on the world’s best BMW magazine.