I started writing this late last year as we were about to head into our second lockdown here in Toronto. I figured now it was as good a time as any to finally get around to sorting through all of the photos and notes from my European Delivery last summer. I wrote this post up over several months when I could find an hour or two to kill at a time. I just finished it (May 2nd, 2021) and probably spent over 20 hours on this whole story.WARNING: This is going to be lengthy. Because there’s nothing else to do, and also I’m partially just writing this up as a bit of a “diary” for myself to look back on in a few years.
EDIT: This might be the longest and most drawn out delivery thread ever, so if you’re not interested in a ton of details and a lotttt of photos this may be a waste of your time. It ended up being more of a diary of all-things automative from the last (almost) 2 years.
Some of these photos were taken with my iPhone (XS/11 Pro/12 Pro depending on the date) and others with my Go Pro, my Mavic Air or my Nikon D750, hence the differences in photo quality. Some are just quick “memory snaps” and others are more considered photographs. When all was said and done this post ended up being over 700 pictures, so bear with me!
Ever since I can remember (my teenage days) I’ve always dreamt of doing European Delivery. As a kid my “realistic” poster cars were the 996 Turbo and the E46 M3, with a yellow Murcielago as that unattainable dream car. I always thought if I worked hard that I could someday day own one of these cars. As I grew a bit older my tastes shifted slightly to the Porsche GT cars (namely a 997 GT3) and BMW’s M sedans (starting with the E90 M3). I’d been a longtime lurker on this forum (and occasional poster), hoping to one day become an actual active member with my own M car.
So before I dive into my European Delivery story, here’s a little brief car history.
SOME BRIEF CAR HISTORY
I had grown up driving my parents cars (first my mom’s Villager van), followed by my dad’s Dodge Stealth Twin Turbo. That was my first real taste of a sports car, and the car I learned to drive stick on (thanks dad!). He still owns the car to this day, and I have many fond memories with it. My mom then purchased a Mitsubishi Endeavor when I was in high school, so that became the main car I drove.
My very first car (that I actually owned) was a 1998 Subaru Legacy GT. I took out a student loan to buy it (so I could drive to college…which I ended up dropping out of after 9 months), and had it for a year before it was wrecked in an accident (not my fault).
I then didn’t drive again for couple years, at which point I picked up a right-hand drive 180sx. Had it for 3 weeks before my insurance company canceled the policy on me and I had to sell it. Lost $1,000.
Next was a 1998 Nissan 240sx (S14), which I owned for about 2 years. I spent a ton of time and money and energy working on the car to prepare it for the track, and tragically it was stolen 4 days before my very first scheduled track day. Anyways, there’s more about that here if you care to read.
This thread is about my first M car, but second BMW. My first German car (and introduction to BMW) was the 1998 328i sedan I purchased back in 2011. I still own the car, albeit it’s currently being “stored” (I use that term loosely) in a friend’s garage. Ultimately I’d love to restore it someday as the car has a lot of sentimental value to me.
The E36 was my only car until 2016, when I was fortunate enough to be able to pick up a Cayman GT4. The BMW remained the car I drove *most* of the time, but I now had a fun car to take to the track.
For a full backstory and history, please see this thread I started in 2016 when I purchased my second German car, a Cayman GT4: https://f80.bimmerpost.com/forums/sh….php?t=1265031
After driving both my E36 and Cayman GT4 for a few years, it finally felt like it was time to pickup something a little more fun as my daily driver, with some modern creature comforts (heated steering wheel, CarPlay, better sound system, etc.). My E36 served me incredibly well but it’s at the point where all of the small things are falling apart. Power window issues, displays burnt out, bits of rust, etc. The engine and transmission are still strong but it’d need a lot of TLC to get it to the place I’d want it to be. It’s hard to justify spending ~$20k (refresh brakes, new summer and winter tires, wheels, suspension, exhaust and fix a bunch of miscellaneous issues etc.) on a 22 year old car with 200,000km+, although I hope to restore it one day…
Anyways, on to what’s new!
For quite some time I had a deposit for an F80 M3 sitting at a dealership, but I could never really justify spending the money at the time given my financial situation (and the fact that I barely drive anyways, living in the city). As my business picked up a bit, it finally felt time and in December 2019 I ordered an M2 Competition. I would have preferred a sedan and had ordered an F80 M3 (black on silver wheels as a nod to my E36), however they were out of production by the time I was ready to buy and European Delivery had been on my bucket list as long as I can remember.
Here’s what I ordered:
2020 BMW M2 Competition
- Black Sapphire Metallic
- 6-speed Manual
- Blue Stitching
- Silver 666M Wheels
- Harmon Kardon Sound
My main goal when I bought this car was to cover as many miles as possible. Drive it anywhere and everything – rain or shine, track or street, road trip or grocery run, you name it. I often find it funny that people brag about how low mileage their cars are. Cars are meant to be driven! Literally! If your car costs too much and you’re worried about racking up miles and lowering its value than you bought the wrong car (IMO). BMW M cars are meant to be driven, and in my opinion the main reason they ARE so great is that you can do everything in them. The M2 Competition is not a Ferrari F40, so get out and drive it! The way I see it, the higher the mileage the MORE fun you’ve had. Higher mileage should be a bragging right, not a concern!
Anyways, let’s get on to the trip!
PART I: EUROPE
My good friend and fellow car enthusiast (owner of a Z4M Coupe) was joining me for the journey, but unfortunately due to a fuckup at BMW my car was ready early and I ended up having to switch my flight and head to Germany without him (he’d join me a day after I got my car).
I arrived in Munich super early in the morning after an overnight flight and went to my hotel to grab a few hours of sleep before delivery. Not ideal, as I had planned to arrive 3-4 days ahead of pickup so I could be fully coherent and excited, but life goes on!
I arrived at the Welt, headed into the lounge area where you’re taken for delivery, signed some papers and had an Americano and then was off to see my car.
The first glimpse:
The man who handled the handover of the keys and everything was really friendly. Gave me a really nice tour of the car, congratulated me on my purchase and told me he’s a huge fan of the car himself. The only slightly annoying news was that CarPlay wasn’t going to be enabled while I was in Europe, so we had to make do with the BMW Navigation for the trip. I like that it’s full screen and more integrated into the car, but entering in addresses is a lot more cumbersome.
He then mentioned I could do as many “parade” laps of the Welt as I wanted and then head outside. I only did one, then proceeded to snap a couple quick pics outside the Welt:
I decided to just head out of the city aimlessly and see where I end up. It was a beautiful day out and the sun was shining so it was great. Sadly my friend wasn’t with me, but I made the most of it. Drove around some windy countryside hills and took more photos as the sun began to set. I couldn’t really push the car as it hadn’t been broken in, but it kind of felt exactly as I had imagined it. I’d never driven an M2 (or F8X for that matter) but so far so good! I think I kept the car in Comfort Mode and maybe put it in Sport Mode for a little but didn’t get to Sport + (as advised by BMW) and was kind of “saving” the fun for later.
After a couple hours I returned to my hotel, exhausted and ready for bed. My friend arrived the next morning so I headed to the airport and scooped him up. After a short little drive we dropped the car off back at the BMW Welt (as previously arranged) so that we could stay in the city of Munich for the weekend without worrying about the car.
We spent the weekend in Munich hanging out, eating, drinking and visiting friends. My sister lived in Munich for 7 years so I know the place quite well (and have a bunch of friends there) so it was a delight to spend a few days just hanging around. Rented bikes and explored the city…ah, I love Munich…
My friend and I visited the BMW Museum over the weekend which was quite fun! I’d never been before despite being in Munich several times and it was great to see all of the old gems in there. We also did a factory tour which was even more incredible. I’d never seen a production facility before and it was very cool to see. It felt super futuristic, as if robots had taken over the world…I won’t bore you with too many photos, just a few of my favourites (wish you could take photos in the factory but you’re not allowed):
After a nice little weekend we decided to hit the road and crush out a bunch of miles so that I could get my break-in service done before we really got started. We decided to do a little bit of a loop, from Munich to Prague to Vienna to Salzburg (and then back to Munich for service). Here are a few random shots from this leg of the trip.
On the way to Vienna (someone actually used one of these as their YouTube thumbnail and it made the front-page of Bimmerpost back then hah):
There’s a pretty good pizza place call “Pizzerie Panský šenk” in the middle of nowhere you’re ever around there!
By the time we got to Vienna it was pretty late and not much was open so we went to a big hotel for a drink with a view:
Next it was off to Salzburg. We were counting down the miles until we could actually open the car up, but the drive was still enjoyable and neither of us had been to either of these 3 places before. The drive from Vienna to Salzburg was quite beautiful.
When we got to Salzburg we decided to check out the big castle that overlooks the city, so we just kind of roamed around until we got to the top. We had made a bit of an unofficial pact not to really get hung up on doing anything you’re “supposed to do” tourist-wise anywhere we went, and instead primarily focus on driving, cars and good food. Salzburg is quite beautiful, and the restaurant at the top of the castle actually serves quite good food and ice cold beer. I swear the salad was one of the best I’ve ever had..and plus you get to enjoy it with an incredible view of the city. I’d recommend going and catching the sunset.
Got back to Munich and dropped the car off for its break-in service…couldn’t wait to get it back! Saw a camouflaged 8 in the parking lot, as well as another M2C.
When we got back to pickup my car it was raining, but it kinda made for a cool shot.
We didn’t drive much after we picked it up as it was raining/traffic everywhere (sadly, even though I was super pumped to drive it now that it’d been broken in), so we parked the car, got some rest and woke up for the next day where we were headed south towards Italy.
The next day we set off with our sights set on Schenna, Italy. The drive takes you through Austria and some beautiful landscapes.
We arrived in Schenna and found a nice little hotel with an incredible view.
Unfortunately almost every restaurant in town was closed but we managed to find one place (super friendly!) that made us a charcuterie spread.
The next day we got up and hiked a nearby mountain. You can take a gondola partway up which we did, and then continued on up.
Because it’s Europe there was a sweet little cabin at the top serving ice cold beer and delicious food.
After the hike we head down and for the infamous Stelvio Pass, but not before stopping by the Dolomite mountains for a few quick photos (definitely need to spend more time here next time). My friend drove for a bit so I could get some work done and snap a few blurry photos from the passenger seat.
Quick stop for gas and an unexpected break at a speck (ham) shop to get a snack for the car.
And now onwards towards the Passo dello Stelvio.
Last time I was here (2 years prior, in a rental Audi S5) my friend and I stayed at the hotel Alpengasthof Tibet Hütte which rests on the edge of the mountain:
Unfortunately they were all booked up but we had dinner there nonetheless.
After we finished eating we noticed some other enthusiasts in the parking lot. Was cool seeing a few Japanese cars as I used to be pretty into that scene (had a right-hand drive S13 and an S14 when I was younger). My dad owns a Dodge Stealth TT so it was cool seeing that Mitsubishi 3000GT.
From there it was off to our hotel around the corner for bed.
The next day we woke up, planning to head down on the other side, but unbeknownst to us there was a bicycle event of some sorts and the entire road was closed for many more hours. Trapped on the mountain we were forced to eat pizza and hang out and fly my drone. Could have been worse!
Finally we were able to head down, and damn was the road packed (as everyone had been held up by the bike event). Last time I had been here there was almost nobody on the road – this time it was crazy. We stopped a few times to take pics/fly the drone and wait out some of the traffic.
The rest of the drive was okay once we waited for most of the major traffic to pass. Went through a neat looking town called Aprica that I’d love to check out next time I’m there.
Edolo looked pretty cool too.
Our next stop was one of my favourite places in Italy, Verona. Along the way the driving was quite beautiful too.
Our first day in Verona was a little rainy but it was kind of nice to be sedentary for a couple days. I think we spent most of the time in Verona eating pasta and gelato, some of the best (if not the best) I’ve ever had. The sun came out later in the afternoon and we spent most of the day walking around and eating/drinking.
We spent the first half of the next day doing the same thing, except more excessively.
We then set off for Lago di Garda (Lake Garda). We stayed in an area called Torri del Benaco. What a nice place, wow. Should have stayed longer.
Classic Aperol Spritz by the water at sunset:
Had the best pasta carbonara I’ve ever had at a place called Trattoria Pizzeria Bell’arrivo:
Lago di Garda isn’t a bad place to work from either!
From here we were headed to the home of Ferrari, Maranello. Of course we spotted a red Ferrari in Modena en route.
First up was a tour of the Ferrari museum. I took quite a lot of photos but here are a few highlights:
I then decided to cross an item off my bucket list: drive a Lamborghini (kinda odd being in Ferrari’s hometown, but last time I was here I drove a 458 Italia and 430 Scuderia, about 10 years prior).
I took out a Lamborghini Huracan Performanté out into the Italian countryside and rolling hills (with a co-pilot of course) but definitely got to enjoy it, if ya catch my drift.
It’s hard to say whether it’s “worth it” or not, but if it’s a bucket list item it’s surely something you’ll remember for a long time. I have to say though, while the car was very fun, I honestly can say I think I would have preferred driving my Cayman GT4 along the same route, partially just because it’s manual. I must say though, it WAS pretty fun hearing that V10 with the top down!
As the sun began to set we decided to head out and head back to our hotel before dinner.
We stopped by a neighbourhood family restaurant in Campogalliano called Pizzeria La Prateria Ristorante. The food and service was incredible. Once again, we ate a TON.
The next day we got up and headed towards another place of Italian legend: Lamborghini. I had been to Ferrari before, but that was the only automotive destination I had visited previously in Europe (besides the Welt in Munich).
Along the way we saw some incredible sights:
This sculpture in the middle of a roundabout is also very striking:
We arrived at Lamborghini and toured both the museum and the factory. Unfortunately photos weren’t allowed during the factory tour but it was really cool to see. Quite the contrast with BMW’s (which was mostly robots and machinery doing all of the heavy lifting). We saw cars being assembled by hand, embroidery being hand-stitched, etc. It was really cool to see and our tour guide was lovely.
Here are a few photos from the museum. I’m not a fan of the Centenario myself but figured someone here may want to see it. The Diablo GTR was my favourite car there, hands down.
Of course we couldn’t leave the area without stopping by one of the most coveted brands in the automotive world, Pagani.
Outside the factory there was a beautiful red Miura I had to snap a shot of.
As far as brand visits go, this was truly special. We toured the museum (which is very small, given that they haven’t produced that many cars, nor been around as long as some of the other major manufacturers), but it was still an incredibly cool experience. Besides a Zonda R I’d never seen a Zonda in person before, so my jaw was on the floor.
I purchased a mug to remind me of this special day. But then, something even more special happened. My friend and I had gone outside to get some fresh air and head out soon after, but we heard something. We heard a rumbling unlike anything I could recognize. We looked around and there it was – a Pagani prototype out on the road! I’m pretty sure this was a Huayra BC Roadster (before it’d made its debut) and from the looks of it journalists were taking it out for brief 10-15 minute drives. We hung out for probably an hour, me frantically running up and down the street taking photos and video.
It’s funny how run-of-the-mill an M2 looks beside a Pagani.
But wait, there’s more! Something even more special!! We were sitting on a curb just enjoying the sunshine and talking about the experience we just had, when suddenly Horacio Pagani himself came out of the factory (I presume finishing work for the day) and head out into a van before driving off. It felt like a really special moment, like seeing Enzo Ferrari in the flesh back in the day kinda thing. Was a really cool moment, and something I’ll never forget.
I didn’t want to be a paparazzi creep but I managed to snap a quick pic once he had walked off a bit:
After all this excitement we’d worked up an appetite and head to Bologna to grab some dinner. Bologna is known for being a mega epicentre for Italian cuisine, but unfortunately we ended up eating at a bit of a tourist trap place with lame service and mediocre food. Oh well, one more place I’ll need to go back to!
Managed to get some decent gelato though.
From here we drove at night until we reached Florence, our destination for the weekend, and one of the places we stayed the longest in Italy (and what a good decision that turned out to be).
I woke up and went to grab some food alone, and ended up finding this place (in the train station I think it was?). They make a very photogenic pizza, which I have to say, is backed up by its taste
If you’ve never been to Florence it’s a definitely a must-stop destination in Italy.
For our first night we did a pasta making class with a man named Michele Gualtieri. I believe his place is called “Pasta Class Florence” – look him up! It was a fun time and the food we made was incredible. We made a rabbit ragu, a lemon ricotta tortelli and a truffle linguini. It was all mind-blowing, and this class (the third one I’ve taken over the years) was the one that pushed me over the edge to finally try it at home (I guess the lockdown helped with that). It’s SO worth it, and it’s honestly pretty easy to get started.
One of the best parts of doing a pasta class is you get to spend time with a local and ask for great recommendations. We were told about a few bars and a restaurants we needed to check out. He was 3/3 with all of the places we checked out that he’d recommended.
The next night we checked out a really cool fancy cocktail bar called Locale. Amazing drinks and great staff.
After the bar we met a couple Italian girls in one of the piazzas and ended up hanging out with them for a bit and chatting.
We also ended up hanging out with them the next night which was fun! They even drove us around in their little Nissan Micra which was a blast.
The next morning we woke up and had pizza at L’antica pizzeria da Michele Firenze which was great. Really simple pizzas and we were introduced to this amazing spicy chili oil which I ended up buying several of.
Sadly it was time to depart from Florence, and now we were heading to Montecatini Terme to spend a night before making our way to Monaco.
Before we arrived at our hotel we noticed a used car dealer we had to stop and take a look at. It was closed, but we managed to peer in through the windows. And that’s when the owner came and unlocked the door and let us in. We ended up chatting for almost an hour. The man was super friendly and had owned a Ferrari F40 since new! He talked about having owned and driven many, many supercars but how nothing compares to the F40. He said that he sadly only drives it about once a year now as it’s just too valuable now, and drivers in the area are too reckless. Overall, a very nice chat with a local enthusiast.
We stayed in a nice hotel with a rooftop pool which was very refreshing. This was the review from the pool:
For dinner we checked out a nearby restaurant, which again, was outstanding, as you can see from our near-white post-dinner plates.
The next morning I did a bit of work in the hotel lobby before we head out for Portofino where we stopped for lunch. What a beautiful spot. It was a little tight and tricky to find parking but we managed to get in (and spotted another M2C!). Restaurants were a little busy and seemed a tad on the pricey/touristy side, but it was a great place to spend a few hours (I had a 2 hour call after lunch so it was a nice place to pace back and forth).
From here we left for Monaco, on what would be one of the most memorable drives I’ve ever been on. It was a combination of the lighting (approaching and during sunset), the roads, the traffic, the music and the flow of everything. What an amazing couple hours.
We arrived in Monaco and checked into our hotel and then wandered around. We decided to stay for two nights so we could finally get some swimming in. A few misc. car photos from Monaco. Was really wild seeing plates from places like Russia and Kuwait. Money money money.
The next day I worked for a bit and then we went swimming, walked around and ate.
The next day we checked out a Salvador Dali exhibit which was awesome. Not quite as crazy as his museum in Spain outside of Barcelona, but still really cool!
After the exhibit we head out for Milan just for dinner and to sleep. We actually visited a restaurant I’d been to with a different friend the year before, however they didn’t have the same risotto on the menu anymore. But food was still good! Funnily enough we sat at the exact same table my friend and I had (by complete chance). After dinner we wandered around a bit and got a couple drinks.
The next day we were headed to Switzerland towards the Furka Pass, following along in an amazing book my sister put together for me a few years ago as a birthday gift.
We got stuck in some kind of crazy stopped traffic jam for 30 minutes (not moving at all) so naturally we decided to watch some Ali G on my iPad.
Once we broke free we were headed to driver’s paradise. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves:
After the sun went down we filled our bellies with cheese fondue in Andermatt, Switzerland.
With a full stomach we drove into the night heading for Zurich.
We spent only one night Zurich, and I have to say driving around Switzerland, while extremely beautiful, is a little frustrating with their super strict speed limits. We went to the Jules Verne Panorama bar and had a couple great cocktails with a really nice view. From there we walked around and did a little barhopping. I wouldn’t really say we got to “see” Zurich.
We woke up the next day and set out for one of the most anticipated stops of the trip: the Porsche Museum in Stuttgart. I’ve always been a massive Porsche fan since my earliest memories of loving cars, and owning a 911 was always a dream for me. I think the first car that really stole my heart was the 996 Turbo. I remember seeing this ad when I was a kid (
) and being totally enamoured by it. It still gives me Goosebumps. It’s always been on my bucket list to drive around Europe in a Porsche. I haven’t yet crossed that off my list, but I am lucky enough to own a Cayman GT4. Not a 911 funnily enough, but an incredible driver’s car.
Anyways, on to some photos from inside the museum! I took over a hundred, but here are some of my faves (warning, quite a lot):
We then stopped in Mannheim and had Persian food for dinner en route to our next destination.
It was now time to head straight into the late evening to driving Mecca. To The Green Hell.
Saw a cool glowing Cayman on the side of the road. Was really cool driving up to this, had no idea what it was at first from far away.
We stayed at a hotel that overlooks the track which was honestly one of the coolest things ever.
We woke up to the sound of cars ripping by. What a lovely sound to wake up to in the morning. Nothing like having your morning coffee and catching up on a few emails overlooking the Nurburgring.
Went for a quick workout in the hotel gym. As I’ve been writing up this entire trip recap it’s made me quite sad about the pandemic, but also optimistic for when things return to normal. It’s amazing how much I took for granted before, even something as simple as being able to workout in a gym.
Next up was a quick lunch for both ourselves and the car. I couldn’t help but feel a little jealous of the GT4 right in front of me. I didn’t have the opportunity to Euro-deliver mine, and I couldn’t help but daydream what it’d be like to be here with her instead.
Quick pop-by of the BMW Testcenter.
Some parking lot attractions. Love the green calipers on the RS and the pink E36. Oh and the red E30 of course.
Green Hell Card acquired!
And now it was off to the races. This was my second time at the Nurburgring (first time was in 2015). The first time I was there I rented a Toyota GT86 that was stock with the exception of pads, a cage and tires. I would say for a driver like me (probably about ~25 track days worth of experience) I had more fun in the GT86. It’s a lot lighter and more confidence inspiring, and without a ton of power it feels a lot more manageable. Couple quick pics from 2015:
And on to 2019. Wish I had been able to rent a helmet but I didn’t have any luck finding one at the track, and hadn’t packed mine from home for the entire Euro trip.
Ran into a squad of M2s on my second lap which was kinda fun. Apologies for the shitty photos, they were taken through the windshield by my passenger as he was trying to hold on! Unfortunately the angle I had setup on my Go Pro wasn’t great either.
Some much better shots taken by some of the Ring photographers:
No better way to end a great day then to kick back, smoke a cigar and look out on the Nurburgring while watching the famous Yellowbird video as the sun sets.
I guess the cherry on top would be dinner at a local legend with a rock steak.
We had a whole other day planned for the Ring, so we got up early again, had some food and head over to the track. The weather looked a little shifty and we were worried it was going to rain, so I only bought 2 laps to start.
A few parking lot gems. As an E36 owner myself (mine’s basically stock and in terrible condition, but has huge sentimental value) I was drooling.
The second day out was fun but it started to drizzle so I figured why not head out while we’re in one piece. Had to drive around the corner to recreate a photo I took back in 2015 with a rental M4.
One last daytime shot by the sign:
Had a great drive into the evening towards just outside of Munich, where we spent the night before heading BACK to Verona, Italy for another round of lasagna at our favourite restaurant from the trip. Speedo shots taken by my passenger.
The next day I saw probably the coolest thing I’ve ever seen on the highway. Only in Germany.
The drive to Verona was great, beautiful weather, beautiful scenery.
Success!! I kid you not this lasagna is worth a 12 hour drive.
We literally drove straight from Verona to Modena to eat again at another trip favourite.
For our final day of driving we left Italy and drove through the countryside and up through Austria before returning to Munich.
Got caught in a momentary downpour which was kinda cool.
It was my friend’s birthday and we decided to have a little campfire cookout to celebrate. Was a great way to close out all of the miles we had enjoyed together. We actually had a little leftover pizza from Modena we heated up on the fire.
We got to Munich pretty late and crashed. The next day we went out and had lunch, ripped around on some scooters and then met some friends for drinks at night.
The next day it was time to drop the car off, and when all was said and done we had put just under 7,500km on the car. Not bad! I was hoping to crack 10,000km, and said to myself “next time”, not knowing BMW would tragically end this beloved program. I’m just glad I got to experience it while it was still a thing.
After the drop-off my friend who lives outside Munich picked us up to stay at her place for the night before dropping us off at the airport. Farewell for now Bavaria!
PART II: WELCOME HOME
I got back to Toronto around 3pm and went for a stroll just to stretch my legs. Funnily enough I saw two M2’s in the span of about 10 minutes…it was as if the car gods were trying to tell me something…
Shortly after I hopped in the GT4 to take it for a drive, to try to get as close to a back-to-back comparison as possible while the M2C was still fresh in my mind (and body).
The first thing I noticed was just how much thinner the steering wheel was (and small diameter). It instantly felt more race-y. As I pulled out of my parking garage I was instantly reminded how different these two cars are, despite both being “2-door sports car coupes”. The biggest recurring theme in my mind was just how sad it is to own this car here in Ontario. It truly feels like having a killer whale in a cage. Yes we have places like Mosport here, but it really doesn’t compare to driving around in Europe. I’m going to have to move someday…
In any case, I had about 8 weeks to kill driving either the GT4 or my old E36 328i. The truth is I don’t drive very much when I’m at home, and I was swamped with work, so the time went by fairly quickly.
I managed to squeeze in a track day at Shannonville in the GT4 which was fun. I’m slowly getting more confident driving with the traction control completely switched off and trying to get a little sideways here and there.
I tried to get in a few more drives in the GT4 before I’d inevitably need to spend time with my European love whom I’d been separated with. I went for a nice little cruise with my friend and his Z4M. I also picked up the iPhone 11 Pro around this time, so the quality of casual shots are a little improved, and there was now an ultra wide angle lens to play with.
It was now time to take the E36 up to my parents house and hitch a ride to the BMW dealership for re-delivery day!
The first (in Canada) glimpse:
I was SO happy they got my note and kept the Euro plates in the trunk. I was told to leave a note but that they couldn’t guarantee anything. I have one in my home office and another on a bookshelf and I’m pretty sure I look at them every day with bittersweet eyes, especially now that European Delivery has been shut down
Went for a little drive and snapped a few photos with my SLR while the car still remained front plate-less. Took my dad out for a spin as well and I think he enjoyed driving it! Somehow this shoot wasn’t all that dissimilar in scenery from my shoot right after picking up the car at the Welt…
Funnily enough I was headed back to Germany about a month later for my sister’s wedding (she married a guy from Bremen), but unfortunately there was no driving of my own on this trip. It was weird being back again so recently and passing through the Munich airport. Part of me wanted to run away and do it all over again.
I won’t get into the story of the wedding since this is a car post (is it even anymore?!) but here’s a nice shot of the little town I stayed in during the wedding week:
From Munich I went to Rome to meet two friends/co-workers for a work celebration for a week which was great! No driving but another dose of amazing Italian food (and some warm sunshine compared to Toronto in late October). Had some fun using Night mode on the new (at the time) iPhone 11 Pro.
Back home in Toronto fall was in full effect with winter just around the corner. Time to get snow tires (mounted on the 788M wheels my car came with) and sadly drill the front bumper to attach a license plate. Went for another drive up north to go exploring as it was one of the last I’d have time for before it snowed.
I now had to get in as much driving as I could before December 13th, 2019, as I was scheduled for shoulder surgery and knew I wouldn’t be driving for at least a couple months. I was glad to experience at least one heavy snowfall before I went under the knife, and so naturally I had to go out for a drive.
I went out for another one the night before my surgery. The perfect way to calm my nerves.
After this I really didn’t drive much in early 2020 between my shoulder surgery and the pandemic. I did manage to squeeze in a trip to the Canadian International Auto Show a few weeks before we locked down and had a chance to see the M2CS in person. I love the package (especially the carbon hood), but I’m happy with my M2C. I like my sunroof, split rear-folding seats, heated steering wheel and blacked out badges. Might have to find a way to get that hood some day though…
Since this thread is already far too long, why not throw in another Pagani?
As spring began to roll around it was time to take the GT4 out of storage. “Why is he talking about the GT4” you might ask? I have no idea. At this point I’m off the rails and so deep in this writeup it’s almost turned into just a journal of all-things cars in my life.
Managed a track day at Cayuga (my least-favourite Ontario track) just to get my blood flowing.
PART III: LET THE MODS BEGIN
Okay, back to the M2.
I had always told myself I’d leave the car stock. It was, after all, just a lease. I’d originally planned to keep the car for only a couple years, at which point I’d swap it for a G80 M3 and do European Delivery again. After my incredible experience I was almost sure of it. And then BMW cancelled European Delivery and made the G80 look the way it does, and all of the sudden I fell deeper in love with the M2C.
I had planned to get some 763M wheels (to put on summer tires, keeping the 788’s on snows), but that was it. I even remember posting on Bimmerpost not understanding why people would spend so much money modding these cars when “they could just buy a P-car” etc. After realizing the wheels were going to cost quite a bit, what’s another few thousand for a carbon front and rear lip? This was all I was going to do, at least for now I told myself.
Quick shot with her older brother. I still need to try and get out and do a proper shoot with both cars…maybe some time this year.
A few weeks later, and just after washing my car, I went out for a shoot with my D750 + tripod. It literally rained JUST as I arrived at my location, but in the end the rain kinda made some of the shots interesting.
*I interrupt this message with a brief track day at Mosport DDT*
That was my last track day in the GT4 for the year, as I did the next one in the M2C and the rest is history. The GT4 is definitely more fun on full “circuits”, like Mosport and Watkins Glen, etc., and man do I wish I was driving that instead at the Nordschleife, but on a fun and tight track like Shannonville the M2C is a real blast. I quickly shredded through my tires as I could not help myself from getting sideways every opportunity I got.
These are some shots from a few different track days. I think I did 3 or 4 days at Shannonville with the M2C in 2020.
PART IV: CANADIAN ROAD TRIPS
And now it was time for the M’s next adventure! I was heading out East for an extended weekend with two good friends. Initially we were hoping to make it to PEI or to Newfoundland, but covid wouldn’t allow us to go past Quebec.
First stop was Montreal. It’s an incredibly boring straight line all the way there, but we pit stopped near this bridge to the US to take a work call, and the view ain’t half bad.
Obligatory shot of downtown Montreal.
The city was very quiet and bars were closing early due to the pandemic so we decided the best thing to do would be to find a cool driving destination, as far out as possible. And so we found Percé Rock, and set our sights on that.
The drive doesn’t compare to Europe, but I was a little pleasantly surprised in some places. I’d definitely recommend this trip for anyone living in Ontario or Quebec, especially with there not being much else to do these days.
This is said rock (Percé Rock) from a distance. We arrived in sight of it JUST as the sun was setting.
The scenery is quite beautiful and the roads aren’t that bad either.
Here’s the rock up close (not a great shot):
That rock again…
We didn’t book any accommodation in Percé so we had a very gruelling drive back. We drove almost 2,000km (~1,200 miles) in one day. We had left where we were staying in the country in Quebec at 10am and got back the next morning at about 6:30am, just shy of a 24 hour trip. We were probably only out of the car for a total of 2 hours tops.
That lighthouse was pretty cool at night. Was surprised at how well the iPhone (11 Pro) captured it. Would be interesting to drive back and compare the 12 Pro. Maybe this summer…
Next stop was a quiet cottage near a lake for a couple nights before returning to Toronto. Definitely a nice little break.
…but not before a quick stop back in Montreal for a poutine and corned beef sandwich.
BRIEF GT4 INTERRUPTION
Again, not BMW content, but I met a guy with a red Cayman GT4 at one of the track events (you can see me following him in one of the Go Pro shots above) so we setup for a little GT4 photoshoot in Toronto.
OKAY, BACK TO THE ROAD TRIPS
And now it was time for a much bigger adventure…one that would end up racking up more miles than the Euro Delivery trip (although admittedly the fun factor pales in comparison). It was time to head across the country in the other direction. Final destination? Victoria, British Columbia.
My friend drove over to my place in his Z4M and hopped in my car, to keep my M parking spot warm. There were 3 of us (adult males) doing the trip and while I was a tiny bit worried it’d be tight/uncomfortable (at least for one person) but we made it across the country without too many complaints.
Quick pit stop in Oakville, Ontario at a place called Maro’s which I HIGHLY recommend for any fellow Ontarians.
We then went right in the opposite direction to Markham for some amazing Gelato.
Okay, onwards! Our first leg of the trip was a boring drive (mostly at night) to Sudbury. We encountered a lot of construction/a few road closures so it was a pretty dull start to the trip. Woke up the next day headed for Sault Ste. Marie. It was amazing how many abandoned motels and hotels there are along the highway.
Last time I did this drive across Canada (in 2012 sitting in the back of my friend’s Sentra) we drove straight to Thunder Bay in one shot (through the night) so I hadn’t seen any of the scenery. It was actually quite nice and we stopped a few times to snap some pics. This place is called Batchawana Bay Provincial Park.
At one point my friend noticed a bunch of people pulling in somewhere so we decided to check it out. It turns out it was Old Woman Bay (which I’d never heard of) which was absolutely beautiful. It’s a long sandy beach on Lake Superior and is definitely worth the stop. It was actually quite cold out (and SUPER windy) but we decided to jump in the water. Everyone looked at us like we were nuts (they were all wearing jackets) but it was refreshing.
Some more of the scenery:
Next stop was Thunder Bay for the night. We had dinner at The Keg and passed out.
Our next destination was Winnipeg, Manitoba (finally outside of our province) where we were hoping to visit a friend from Toronto who had moved out there. Sadly he happened to be in Toronto RIGHT when we were getting there. Went for a run and then had some really good Persian and Korean food courtesy of Uber Eats (with Covid we weren’t allowed to go anywhere).
As soon as we woke up we head out for Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. There isn’t much to see on the drive, and most people will tell you it’s really boring, and while they’re not wrong, it IS also kind of neat how flat and open it is.
We parked the car at our Airbnb and went across the street to get a little workout in at the playground (covid!). We then went on a little crawl to a bar, a Korean restaurant and then for pizza. I have a friend who lives there who sent us on these recommendations and I have the say the pizza was unbelievable.
The next day we got up and we were off. Most of Saskatchewan looks like this:
Once you break into Alberta it starts to get a little more interesting…
First glimpse of the mountains (just outside of Calgary)!
We arrived at our first real “fun” destination of the trip, Banff, Alberta. Our good friend from back home came and met us for dinner at the infamous Grizzly House, a place where you cook your own meat on hot stones.
After that we walked around a little and went to bed. The next day we got up and head out for our first hike of the trip, a ~12km trip up the C-Level Cirque hiking trail.
The next day we made the obligatory stop offs at Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. I’ve seen both before but they’re always cool to see. Louise is always JAMMED with tourists, Moraine feels a little more secluded. Couple nice cars in the parking lot at Louise though.
My friend and I went for a quick dip in the water at Moraine (my other buddy skipped it but he’s done it before). Holy FUCK is it freezing. Coldest water I’ve ever experienced hands down, and I’ve done a polar dip on New Year’s Day in Ontario (and it somehow didn’t feel as cold).
The next day we were off, headed towards BC. A few misc. photos from the drive. I had definitely missed those European-style mountain tunnels!
Couple shots messing around with Spectre for iOS (highly recommend checking this out!!). Really fun to play around with long exposures.
We spent the night in Chilliwack, BC which felt like a nice place I wish we could have spent more time in. The next day we went for a hike at Chilliwack Provincial Park which was beautiful. Went swimming in the lake at the top (also cold as shit but not as bad as Moraine)!
Fraser Valley (on the drive out).
Now we were on the way to catch the Ferry to Vancouver Island, and as we approached Abbotsford the sky suddenly became smokey. The smoke from the California wildfires had reached British Columbia!
First time she was on a boat!
When we looked at the weather app it showed Smoke. Never seen that before!
This is what the sky looked like the next morning. That’s the sun (photo isn’t edited).
We were visiting some friends on the island, so we spent the first day just kinda hanging out in Victoria.
The next day we went to check out the Sooke Potholes which were pretty cool.
We mostly hung around Victoria for the next couple days and then head out for Tofino. Had a quick lunch in Nanaimo and then met up with our other friend who lives further north on the island so we could convoy to Tofino together. At least half of our drive was in the dark so I didn’t get a great look at the windy beautiful roads (or any photos from the drive).
We had a pretty sweet pad for the next few days in Tofino, and while the weather wasn’t amazing the rain held off for the most part.
Some miscellaneous photos from Tofino:
Snapped a pic of my car as far away from home as she’s ever been, right along the Pacific Ocean.
If you’re ever in Tofino be sure to check out Tacofino for incredible tacos. We went a couple times and had to swing by on our way out of town.
Made it back to Victoria to spend the night. My one friend was flying home, and then my other friend and I would start the journey back to Toronto, but not before making a few pitstops along the way! We stayed at a really cool old mansion converted into various apartments/Airbnbs. We only had a section of it and I could only imagine how huge the whole thing was.
It was time for us to leave the magical island but we had one last stop to make before heading out…Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit!
We arrived to a wet and rainy track, which I was actually a little happy about.
My friend snapped some photos with my iPhone:
But there was also a track photographer there which was great!
After lunch the rain stopped and the track was dry. It was fun, but I think it was a little more exciting in the wet, especially in the M2C getting sideways around corners. ��
One last stop to see our friend in Victoria and have some Thai Food and then it was time to head to the mainland. We took the Ferry to Vancouver and then drove to Burnaby where we were staying for a couple nights.
My friend’s cousin owns a cafe in Vancouver so we went for brunch. WOW, utterly insane food. If you’re ever in town I highly recommend it, it’s called Palate Kitchen.
Walked around for the afternoon then met up with a friend for drinks on the beach at Kitsilano Beach.
Woke up the next day and were headed back for the mountains! My friend had recommended we stop at Fergie’s Cafe in Squamish and she could not have been more right. Another killer meal with some great scenery.
We got to Whistler late afternoon and headed to the village to watch UFC.
Woke up the next day and walked around a bit.
Then head out for a hike in Pemberton. Unfortunately the road was a no-go, so we had to hike a few km in where most others could drive (especially with a 4×4).
On the way back down at one point we started hearing a bit of faint music, and saw a little glowing light…I assumed it was some people hiking with a light-up bluetooth speaker, but it turned out to be something a lot more interesting…
Got a pretty cool shot of the car under some lights before heading out.
From here we were heading to Jasper, Alberta. The drive from Whistler to Jasper is incredible. Here are some shots from along the way.
We got to Jasper when it was already dark, but the next day we set out for a hike.
After the hike we drove out to Maligne Lake.
Saw a couple moose!
The rest of the drive back to Jasper was really cool. Nobody on the roads, a multicoloured landscape and plenty of wildlife.
We finished the night with a fuck-ton of pizza.
We woke up and head out for Calgary. The drive from Jasper to Calgary was also insanely beautiful.
After one of the most beautiful stretches of the trip we arrived in Downtown Calgary to meet a good friend for dinner. We went to a place called Lulu bar which was quite good, then head back to our Airbnb which had a hot tub which was pretty sweet given fall was in full effect.
The next morning we got up and went for breakfast at Diner Deluxe, a place I always used to go to with friends when we were on snowboarding trips out west. It was just as good as I remembered. Saw a nice S-chassis on the way as well.
After brunch we head to a nearby playground for a little workout and for me to take a work call. These things are amazing for doing pull-ups lol.
After the park we made a quick pitstop for shawarma before leaving the city. My friend drove for the next while so I could get some work done, and I have to say, the passenger seat of the M2 makes for quite the decent portable office!
Saw a wild sunset. Never seen the sun so big (not captured). Did snap a shot of some wildlife (I think a deer?) attempting to cross the road.
We got to Regina around midnight and just went to bed. Got up the next morning and head straight for Winnipeg where we’d be meeting up with another friend. Stopped at a great cafe called The CrateHouse in a town called Moosomin, Saskatchewan. They were really nice and brought out some samples of some food they were cooking.
Picked up our friend around 6pm and went back to our Airbnb, which just so happened to be the same one we stayed at on the way out west. Was a pretty cool feeling coming back to where the trip had just begun. Had a few drinks and went to a nearby bar.
Packed up the next morning and head out. Saw a pretty nice new Vette outside the place we went to for brunch. Sounded amazing, but sadly, automatic (as they all are). Doesn’t do it for me but it sure sounded good (and looks pretty good as well).
After brunch we set sail yet again, this time headed for our home province of Ontario. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the last meal I’d have until I got home. My friend and I decided to fast for the rest of the trip. He’d done a very long fast before, but I’d never gone more than about 24-30 hours. Figured it’d be a nice way to wash off some of the bad habits from the trip, and besides, there’s not much to eat on the Trans Canada Highway besides junky fast food.
The drive from Winnipeg to Thunder Bay is actually quite pretty this time of year. We stopped at one point on the side of the road and went for a little hike out onto the bordering cliffs.
When it got dark my friend took over at the wheel and I spent some more time messing around with Spectre (a long-exposure app for iPhone).
The next morning we got up and left for Saul Ste. Marie. Along the way we stopped off at Ouimet Canyon Provincial Park for a couple hours.
After this we decided we should return to Old Woman Bay and catch the sunset, just to revisit where the trip kinda kicked off. The drive there was pretty nice too.
It was a lot colder this time around. We had planned to swim but both decided not to. We’d definitely had our fill of cold water. It was a pretty memorable sunset, on both the day and the trip.
Of all places to break our fast (which ended up being just over 50 hours) we ended up at 5 Guys in Newmarket, Ontario, where one of our good friends met us for burgers.
And that was that! After about a month on the road, I was back at home.
PART V: BACK IN TORONTO, WINTER & MORE MODS
By the time I had gotten back, the Covid-19 situation was worsening in Ontario, as was the weather. I had another shoulder surgery booked for December 3rd, so I tried to spend the next bit of time working as much as I could and getting things in order before I’d be out of commission again.
There wasn’t much automotive excitement during this time, aside from a nice trip up to a cabin with some close friends. I took the GT4 this time, since it’d been a while (and I knew I’d be storing her for winter just after this weekend).
Sure enough after that weekend I went to store my car, and while I was doing so I saw this beautiful Speedster for sale. Just a little rich for me, and I don’t really think Canada is the right home for this kinda car…
As fall pressed on I was wondering if I’d manage to sneak in a snowy drive before my surgery. I lucked out. Went for a cruise with my friend and his Z4M Coupe.
It was nice that I got that last drive squeezed in before my surgery, as I’d be without driving for the next 2 months or so. I’d have to get by with YouTube, forums and 992 GT3 previews to fulfil my automotive desires. I actually remember reading this Bimmerpost road trip story by snowbimmer on my iPad and figured I’d be able to handle some of my writeup during my recovery (great writeup btw!). Was a great little escape while I was stuck in bed.
Come mid February I was able to get out for my first drive, which felt pretty good. Was nice to be able to get out of the city and go for a drive.
I forgot to mention, but I had ordered a Dinan exhaust for the M2 Competition back in August, but was STILL waiting for it to arrive. Some time around mid-February (with nothing else to do but think about mods) I decided to cancel my order and instead get an Akrapovic slip-on system. Once that was ordered there was still a bit of a wait, so I was counting down the days until it arrived.
Unrelated awesome old Beetle. Looked great half-buried in the snow.
I had also been on the fence about what I should do with my E36 (which had been sleeping at my friend’s garage). Sadly I made the bittersweet decision to get rid of it. Still in the process of doing so, and it still hurts. I really wanted to restore it and keep it my entire life, but it would have cost $10k just to clean it up, and another $10k to make it somewhat enjoyable to drive (new tires, wheels, suspension, exhaust, etc.).
I finally got the call that my exhaust was ready for pickup (along with the Dinan Carbon Fibre mirror caps I had ordered when I originally ordered the exhaust). I dropped my car off at Pfaff Tuning and eagerly awaited picking it up. Couldn’t resist checking out their Reserve showroom while I was there.
I’m not really a McLaren guy but I have to say the Senna is pretty cool. Certainly has a lot of presence. Between the two I’d take the black one. Was the first time I saw a 935 in person. What insanity. Photos don’t do it justice…the amount of carbon was mind blowing. Out of all the cars in the showroom the 997 GT3 RS 4.0 (or the 997.2 RS) were the ones that really made me smile. There was a black Aston Martin Vanquish in the parking lot which was always a favourite of mine (thanks James Bond!). Aston Martin Vanquish 25 by CALLUM would be more my speed (with a manual), but a little pricey!
When I returned the next day to pickup my car, I could not believe my eyes. In under 24 hours two of my absolute dream cars seemed to have appeared like magic. The Ferrari F40 and Porsche Carrera GT. I was almost more excited to see those than to pick up my car.
Unfortunately the fitment on the Dinan Mirror caps isn’t 100% (next time I’d probably go M Performance, although these were about half the price). They look great though, an I’m happy with the decision (have always been debating CF parts on a black car, as they’re much harder to see). Really happy with the exhaust too – it’s loud, but not obnoxious. Truly feels like an OEM+ mod, and I’m much happier with the way the rear end looks. I think once my warranty expires I’ll pick up the Evolution pipe and get a tune (says the guy who said he’d never mod the car).
A few days later I popped out for a quick photoshoot in a parking garage, while the car was clean and with the new mods. Still waiting to put my summer tires on but I’m actually kinda digging the contrast with the silver 788M’s.
And that brings us to April 2021, just under 2 years after first picking her up at the Welt in Munich, Germany in July 2019.
Hopefully I’ll be updating this post in a few weeks when I can find time to get my summer wheels/tires back on and IND x Acexxon F87 M2 Reflector Cosmetic Package installed (along with some other goodies .
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
In the meantime, thanks for reading this wildly long and overindulgent delivery story/personal diary entry/build-ish thread.
I’ll be updating this thread as I continue modding and adventuring!
I’m not sure exactly what’s in store (due to Covid-19), but I had initially planned to drive to LA in 2020, so hopefully that’s on the table in the not-too-distant-future!
If anyone has any questions or comments I’m all ears!