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Bavarian Autosport, Auto Parts & SuppliesNew, Portsmouth, NH Click to review.

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Dear Diary: Show & Shine 2007 was the "best one yet!"

Show & Shine 2007

October 7, 6:00 am: It's still dark out. A chilly drizzle is falling on the seacoast of NH. The forecasters all say it will clear soon. I hope they're right. I am among the first group of groggy, Bavarian Autosport employees arriving at 275 Constitution Ave. to start preparing for a day of BMW fun with two thousand of our closest friends. As we approach the entrance to the grounds, we can barely discern through the mist several telltale "angel eyes" glowing in the distance. As we get closer, we see the outlines of several BMWs already lined up by the side of the road, waiting for the parking lot to open. Something tells me we're in for a record-setting day.

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7:00 am: The light rain that was falling has turned to a fine mist. The line of BMWs in the road is now about a half-mile long -- in both directions. The parking isn't scheduled to open until 8:00 am, but we're worried that if we wait until then, there will be a massive BMW traffic jam up and down U.S. Route 1… and that probably wouldn't sit too well with the local constabulary. The decision is made to open the lot early. At 7:15 the cones and caution tape are moved aside, the sound of dozens of BMW engines roaring to life fills the air and the first Bimmer eases gently (yeah, right) onto the property.

8:00 am: A seemingly endless line of BMWs snakes around the building and out into the street. We're parking cars as quickly as we can while keeping a close eye on safety. Those drivers whose Bimmers are already parked are either filling out forms, putting the finishing touches on their cars or enjoying the free coffee and donuts under the tent.

9:05 am: Even though we don't officially start the event until 10:00 am, everything is in full swing. There's a line at the registration table. The showroom is full of people browsing, asking questions and buying products for some last-minute detailing. We're still setting up the "You Can Do It!" demo, the detailing demo, the raffles tables and the sound system.

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10:10 am: The rain ended about 30 minutes ago, the clouds are starting to thin and the show has officially opened. The parking lot is already completely full -- more than 300 BMWs and a couple of MINIs. This blows away our old record of filling the lot by 11:15 am. Out in the street and in neighboring lots, there are another 100-150 BMWs we just don't have room for. This is the biggest turnout we've ever had… and they're still arriving! There are dozens of people in the vendor tent, asking questions of the representatives for Bilstein, Sachs, Yokohama, Kumho, Billy Boat Performance Exhaust, aFe, PIAA, Cool Carbon, Mann, Bosch, P21S, Pagid, EIS/Plain Talk, Covercraft, Hella, Lexol, MacNeil and others. A small crowd is gathered around the "You Can Do It" demo to watch how easy it is to install a variety of replacement parts and upgrades on Ashley's 2001 330i. Across the parking lot, Bruce Maus of P21S is demonstrating detailing products on Pete's 2001 330ci. People are filling out entry forms for the free raffle, taking hats and product samples off the "Free Stuff!" table, buying tickets for our Komen for the Cure charity raffle... but mostly, people are walking around looking at all the stunning BMWs. What a feast for the eyes! The model years represented span more than four decades, from the mid-1960s up through 2008. Some of the cars are factory-original garage queens, some are well-maintained daily drivers, and some are super-modified show cars that cost more to build than my first house. My walkie-talkie is ringing. Gotta run...

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4:10 pm: This is the first chance I've had to add an entry to this diary in six hours. The sun is out, and has been for a couple of hours. The vendor tent is empty. The banners have been taken down a put away for another year. Most of the cars are gone, (except a couple of employee rides and a 530i belonging to that poor woman who lost her key. Talk about a bummer of a way to end the day. It's okay, though -- the owners loaned her a vehicle to drive home to Rhode Island to pick up another key. She'll be back tonight.)
         With hundreds of spectators arriving and leaving throughout the day, there's no way to know for sure how many people were here for this event, but it had to be close to two thousand. We do know that we served 800 hamburgers, 300 knockwurst and 500 hot dogs in 68 minutes (another new record) and provided a variety of frosty beverages -- all for free.
         We also gave away several thousand dollars in free merchandise that was donated by our generous vendor-partners, including such items as adjustable camber kits, floor mat sets, Lubro Moly engine oil, wheel locks, Harman Kardon Drive+Play iPod system, PIAA XtremeWhite bulbs and more. And through the charity raffle we raised more than $3,300 for Komen for the Cure, giving away 13 prizes ranging in value from $100 to more than $1500.
         As for the "People's Choice" competition, each of the three winning cars came from a different "genre", if you will. The Best Exterior award went to George Douvelis of New York and his daily-driver, a 1998 M3. The Best Interior prize went to Johnny DaSilva of Connecticut and his super-modified 2003 M3 that featured multiple audio and video installations. And the Best in Show went to Bill Williams and his rare, fully-restored 1972 2002tii Touring that he and his wife trailered up here from Maryland.
         Everyone I spoke with today, from attendees, to vendors, to employees, said that, in spite of the initial drizzle, this year's Show & Shine was the "best one yet!" Two of the vendors commented that this was the best BMW enthusiasts' show they've ever attended, and they've been to all the big ones. Guess that raises the bar for 2008. Don't know how we'll top it, but we have 365 days to work on it.

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Check out this year's Show & Shine 2007 Photo Gallery

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Bavarian Autosport's Show & Shine Archives:

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2005   |   2004   |   2003   |   2002   |   2001   |   2000   |   1999   |   1998

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