The History of BBS Gold Wheels – BimmerLife

It’s been a difficult week. The water heater is dead (read it in mind-numbing detail here), and my back is still messed up, so none of the hacky BMW stuff I rely on to generate content happened this week.

Oh wait; This is not entirely true. I did Take Hampton, the ’73 2002, on the Nor’East 02er fall route. But since there was no real prep needed, and nothing broke, and since Hampton had already hosted some kind of release party, that’s hardly news.

So I will tell you the story of the BBS golden wheels.

Almost every 2002 owner knows that 14 x 6 inch alloy wheels on an E30 3 Series fit a 2002 perfectly. With either 195/60-14 or 185/65-14 tires, the 35 offset mm of the wheels makes them sit perfectly on the hubs, with front tires close but not touching the strut housings, and no front or rear fender rub; it’s as if they were designed specifically to be installed on a 2002.

When the first E30 318i landed in this country in 1984, its bottle cap alloys already had the correct sized 195/60-14, so these wheel and tire sets quickly became popular modifications on 2002s. (At some point the E30 tire size was changed to 195/65-14, which is too big for a 2002, so if you come across a set be sure to check it out.) The 02’s caps , especially the 2002s with round taillights, have fallen a little dated, but the latest BBS braiding alloys also fit perfectly, and those are very desirable. I still think the bottle caps look great on the 1974 thru 1976 big-bumper 02s, because the combination reminds me of a giant rack, but I digress.

What is not widely known is that the last E30 325ic convertibles – I believe 1991 and 1992 – not only had BBS basketweaves, but gold BBS sneakers. I didn’t know such a thing existed until I came across a cheap set on Craigslist about fifteen years ago. At the time I had an Agave (green) ’73 2002tii, which was my first 2002 in almost fifteen years (I had a moratorium in 2002 during the period when I only had a garage for a car that was to house my E9).

I grabbed the baskets of gold and put them on the tii. They looked great against the Agave paint.

Over the years, these wheels have been fitted to five cars, a sort of Brotherhood of Traveling Basketweaves. When I sold the ’73tii I kept the wheels, and they soon found their way onto another 2002 Agave.

Agave ’73 rocks the still-shiny golden weaves.

After that they were on Kugel, my Chamonix (white) ’72tii for many years, although the gold against Chamonix didn’t break out like the Agave. For a while they were on Louie, the Ran while parked car, also Agave. Then, showing their age – and no longer pretty and shiny – the wheels rolled up on Bertha, the old track rat I sold many years ago, bought back, and resurrected. Wheel tarnishing was fine with me, even preferable, since I had never explicitly gone for the blingy-wheels-again-distressed-paint look.

This photo by Brian Ach taken at Vintage 2019 shows the well worn car, wheels and owner.

But that’s not the story of the BBS golden wheels.

Dave, center, at the annual Lexington Open Croquet Tournament where he was a three-time grand champion.

The story involves my late high school friend Dave Gelineau. Dave was a year ahead of me in high school. He was a larger than life character with an outsized personality and the kind of brutal honesty that could either cut through life’s shit or be wildly inappropriate, and you never knew what it was going to be, what caused me to hang out with him. exciting. I wrote a song about Daveand one of the lines is, “There was never a doubt when Dave was there.”

Dave was a car guy through and through. His chosen poison was the VW Beetle, although I think he would have been a Porsche guy if he had gotten the scratch and knocked the chip off his shoulder. I vividly remember being roped in to help him carry an air-cooled VW engine up the third floor from his apartment on Mass Ave on the Arlington-Lexington line. Why? Because he had finished rebuilding it on the kitchen floor. Why? Because that’s where the cold beer was.

Things like this cross your consciousness in funny ways. Six years later, when my then girlfriend (and now wife), Mayor Anne, bought a VW bus, and we moved to Austin in 1982, and the engine needed rebuilding, I took it rebuilt in the kitchen of our duplex in Austin. Why? Because I had seen Dave do it (and yes, because it was Texas, it was hot, and that’s where the cold beer was). When we came back to Boston and I had to rebuild Bertha’s engine, I tried to do the same thing, but at that time we lived on the third floor of my mother’s house, and the house was already about twenty feet from street level. .

Hell, David did it. I actually dragged the components to the third floor and then realized that was silly because once the crank was in the block I could never move the thing again. So I took it all back and rebuilt the engine in the garage like a normal person. Good, After Ordinary.

Dave’s influence: rebuilding my wife’s VVW engine in the kitchen of our Austin duplex in 1982.

When I bought my 1970 Triumph GT6 after high school and was just at the start of my 45-year automotive knowledge accumulation process, Dave saved my bacon on several occasions, including solving a car problem barely running upon discovering my dispenser hat had been knocked off, and rolling his eyes at me when he rescued me at 3:00 a.m. on route 2 when an increasingly loud rumble was revealed to be the result of loose lug nuts (another quarter mile, and to make the obvious Kenny Rogers song joke, the loose wheel would have picked a good time to leave me).

I saw Dave many times in college, when he would go out to share the delicacies that UMass Amherst was famous for in the 1970s. He got arrested and served time, he came out just when I moved to Austin. I reconnected with him when I returned in 1984. He cleaned up, got married and went back to school, but in 1990 he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer which had metastasized to the point of to be incurable. He lived in Watertown, so whenever I could, I took a few subs and went to see him.

We were mostly talking about cars. The last time I saw Dave he was on a particular tear against Japanese sports cars. The late 80s and early 90s were a great time for Rising Sun cars, as new generations of Mitsubishi Eclipse/Eagle Talon, Nissan 300ZX, Mazda RX8 and Toyota Supra hit the streets, all dominated by the remarkable Acura NSX. Cockade The magazine used to have its annual staff meeting at the IMPA test day at Lime Rock or another track where the cars were parked in the paddock for journalists to come up and do a few rounds. So I drove these cars and was very impressed with most of them.

Dave would have none of that. It was German, Mopar or nothing.

For some reason, his bile was particularly stirred against the Mitsubishi 3000GT VR-4. There was something about the combination of turbocharging, all-wheel drive and four-wheel steering that just fired it up like nuggets on a steak. He became so vocal in his denunciation of the car that he started coughing. In a person who was, well, dying, it was hard to see.

When he calmed down, I said, “Dave, it’s just a matter of taste. Anything that blows your skirt, one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and all that.

He caught his breath and sighed. “Yeah, I guess so,” he said. Then, as if a switch had been flipped, he suddenly became Full Dave and said the line I will remember all my life: “Except for someone who owns a Porsche Guards Red and puts BBS basketweave gold wheels on it. You can’t tell me this guy isn’t a fuckin’ hole.

We are nothing without our strong opinions.

Decades later, I came across a set of 17-inch gold BBS RC090s at a price I couldn’t pass up (the ones shown in the cover photo). I considered putting them on my Signal Red E9, but realized I could never look at them without thinking I had crossed the Dave Line, so I sold them. Every time I look at the golden weaves of the E30 BBS on Bertha, I think, “The wheels are beaten. The car is beaten. They are only there for convenience. Dave would approve.

Life is made of memories and stories. When people pass, that’s usually all that’s left of them. Sometimes the stories are good enough for people who have never even met the deceased to tell them. I dare you to look at a Porsche Guards Red with gold wheels and not think of my friend Dave. And not to look at the owner and marvel.—Rob Siegel


Rob’s latest book, The best of The Hack Mechanic, is available here on Amazon, as are his other seven books. Signed copies can be ordered directly from Rob here.

#History #BBS #Gold #Wheels #BimmerLife

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