BMW ACA/CCA Puget Sound Region Club History
As with all the BMW Clubs in North America, the BMW ACA, Puget Sound Region was formed in response to enthusiasm for the 2002. On June 4, 1970, a small group of BMW owners held an organizational meeting at a restaurant in Bellevue, Washington. Events were planned and our Club was born. It was known as the BMW Enthusiasts of Puget Sound or BEPS.
In 1972 Leif Anderberg visited with some of the officers of BEPS. The Puget Sound group decided to become the Puget Sound Region of the BMW Automobile Club of America. Leif had started the BMW ACA in Los Angeles in 1970. He was assisted by Max Hoffman, then the importer of BMW automobiles into the United States.
Over the past 40 years, BMWs have changed a lot and so have the owners and the Club. In the early years, the Club members were a small group of friends and most Club activities were social.
The Club grew slowly through the 1970s. By 1975 membership was about 125. Growth accelerated in the 1980s with the increased popularity of BMW automobiles. While membership was about 200 in 1980, by 1986 it was almost 700. On November 1, 2000, the Club left the ACA umbrella to become a chapter of the BMW Car Clubs of America in order to supply the membership with the benefits of the larger national association. Membership peaked at over 3500 members. Then, in 2010 Oregon formed a new chapter which absorbed almost 1500 members. Currently membership in the Puget Sound chapter is over 2,400 members.
With a much larger Club, one certainly can’t know everyone any longer. That doesn’t mean the Club is any less friendly, just different. And, of course, not everyone owns a 2002 any longer. Now, Club members include those trying to keep an old car together with baling wire and the lucky person with the $100,000+ 7 Series. Which is terrific. Diversity! We come from all walks of life and have varying economic means but we share a love for BMW automobiles.
A bigger Club also means diversity in events. We still hold social events but the Club offers so much more. Our annual Concours d’Elegance draws super-clean BMWs, dozens of participants and hundreds spectators. We have a full schedule of high performance driving schools and lapping days. For those who want to drive at lower speeds we offer tours. Our annual banquet is our once-a-year chance to dress up and have a fancy dinner and first-rate speaker. We have technical events for those so inclined. The E30 Picnic draws examples of the quintessential 3 series from all over the US. There is something for everyone.
For those interested in racing, in 2002 a new provisional class was introduced within the International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC). Spearheaded by club members who wanted a relatively inexpensive class for a car they loved, the E30 325 (1984-1991), they called it “PRO3”. PRO3 became an official class in 2003. Competition within this class is very close, with all cars being fairly even and very few modifications allowed. PRO3 has become one of the largest single-car classes within the ICSCC, seeing starting grids of more than 30 cars in many races.
The common element that draws us all together is BMW cars. The joy of driving BMWs is what the Club is all about.