A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, I was but a young padawan vintage gearhead, and I went to a european car show. I was travelling in the back of a BMW Bavaria with a crew of friends, only one of which I knew. I remember feeling totally out of my league as these guys discussed a range of topics surrounding BMW in particular. Things like exactly when the Hofmeister kink first appeared, and the exact contents of the 2800CS trunk-mounted toolkit. I simply listened in awe, wondering how many years you needed to spend in the BMW monastery to achieve such mastery. Did they shave your head in the pattern of the Roundel ? Were you forced to wear robes of corduroy ? Vinyl lederhosen ? Did you eat all of your meals from an Isetta hubcap ? Surely such knowledge could come only from years of discipline, study, and self sacrifice.Three of the group continued their scholarly debates, while the driver remained silent and seemingly disengaged. It was not until one of the debates seemed to end in a stalemate, that one of the three turned to the driver and said, “Was it 1962 or 1963 ?” There was hardly a nanosecond of pause, “October 62, the factory made a few and then they broke the die. They resumed production in January 63.”. The driver had never changed his gaze or his expression. The debate had been conclusively settled as surely as if we had all jumped into a time machine and witnessed the actual events. The others moved on to another topic. I studied the zen master. Years later, I dubbed him Yoda.
Once we arrived and parked, we walked toward the showfield/swap meet. This was well before the Internet days, and other than the classified of the newspaper of club newsletters/magazines, this was how you bought and sold parts. Every show was also a swapmeet. At some distance from the show field, one of the guys declared that there was a 1600 in amongst the round light and square light BMW 2002s. This seemed incredible, since all of the cars were facing forward and you could not see the rear. I could barely see the front of the cars from this far away. Plus, at the time, the 1600 looked identical to the early 2002 to me. I was to learn later on the subtle difference between the front grilles that gave away the model. As my tutelage continued, I learned the differences in the instrument cluster, and vent windows. Fascinating stuff. I bought a tail light for my project 02 because it was in slightly better shape than mine. The guys bought an assortment of parts from brake drums to floor mats.
After a while, they stopped for lunch. I grabbed a bag of chips and scampered off like a puppy to soak up more knowledge. I watched Yoda inspect a header pipe. when he looked up at the owner of the blanket of miscellaneous parts, he simply raised his eyebrows rather than speak. The owner said “They are the stock header, gimme 10 bucks.” Yoda looked at him and then handed him a crumpled five dollar bill. He still had not spoken. The owner said “Sure, I’ll take five for it.” I later put this down to some kind of Jedi mind trick. I later watched Yoda inspect a headrest for 10 minutes before walking away. As I was on the verge of purchasing a shop manual for the 2002, Yoda appeared behind my right shoulder and frowned. I had never seen Yoda smile, so the only reason that I knew it was a frown was that the corners of his mouth moved even lower than normal. I backed away from the deal. Everytime I stopped after that, or had any interest in an item, I looked around nervously.
Several more hours passed, and we all headed back to the car. We loaded up the trunk with the spoils, and the guys snickered a little at the fact that Yoda only managed to bag a stock header that looked well used. As we slowly crawled out along the gravel road, a guy with a pickup towing a very tired 2002 Bauer Cabriolet honked. It was the first time I had seen one in the flesh. The guys oohed and ahhhed. The pickup driver whistled at Yoda and shouted “Now remember, delivery is free as long as you keep it under 70.” Yoda nodded.