Photo by Vintage BMW magazine

259 years ago a dozen German men emerged from the forest along Mill Creek and began building what would become the splendid city of Winston-Salem. 170 years later, some other men in the forests of Bavaria began building the first of a splendid series of motorcycles and cars that would become known far and wide as bimmers and beemers.

Fittingly, on Saturday, April 26, those two worlds will merge in Old Salem to produce the largest show of BMW vehicles in North America.


I cannot guarantee that the car above will be there…in fact, I can pretty much guarantee that it won’t, because it is a unique creation, a 1937 BMW 328 Millle Miglia Buegfalte, designed to run in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race that year. It also ran in the 1938 Mille Miglia, the 1,500 kilometer race on public roads around Italy. Later, during the rise of the Third Reich, it was owned by a NAZI minister. After WW II it was seized by the Soviet Union, and later sold to Artiom Ivanovich Mikoyan, the creator of the famous Soviet MiG fighter jets. It recently was sold at auction to an unidentified buyer for $5.6 million.

But there will be hundreds of other cool BMWs on view. And it’s all free. Well, the Spaten and the food won’t be free, but the looking at cars will be. According to those in the know, the best viewing is between noon and four PM on Saturday.

* A beemer (or beamer) is a BMW motorcycle, the first product of the Bavarian Motor Works. A bimmer is a BMW automobile. The two terms are not interchangeable.