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Automotive Enthusiasts Save Classic Collection of BMW Models from Northern California Fires

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Members of the BMW Car Club of America moved 18 vintage BMW vehicles to a safe location while the destructive fires were spreading nearby

BMW 328

A classic 328 model similar to the one Smith owns

For the past few weeks, a series of destructive fires have been sweeping across Northern California, leaving destruction in their wake. As efforts to combat the spread of these fires has finally found some success in the past few days, many California residents are beginning to examine the damage left behind.

More than 6,000 homes are estimated to have been destroyed, demonstrating the destructive force of the flames. Yet in these times of disaster, displays of unity and generosity often arise.

This is just as true among automotive enthusiasts. In fact, a dedicated group of BMW fans helped save a collection of 18 vintage BMWs.

Looking Back on BMW: A brief history of BMW

The collection belongs to Jim Smith, an 84-year-old resident of Sonoma, California. In addition to running a seven-acre vineyard, Smith is also a proud owner of 18 vintage BMW models, many of which were built before World War II.

When reports of the fires began, Smith and his family planned to move the cars out onto the vineyard. However, as the blaze approached, it grew in strength, and Smith determined that such a move might be too much of a gamble.

Part of the danger of these fires is how unpredictable they are

Fortunately, it was the BMW Car Club of America to the rescue. Members Satch Carlson and Kelly Kirkland caught wind of Smith’s situation and reached out to other members of the club to help move the cars to a remote location.

Smith needed all the help he could get, as only three or four of the models could move on their own. The rest had to be hauled away.

One of the cars that could move was a 1939 BMW 328. Former Road and Track editor Jason Cammisa drove the legendary BMW racer to safety.

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With help from all of the volunteers, the collection of BMWs was safely transported in a single afternoon. Miraculously, the Smith family’s home is reportedly undamaged by the fires.

Still, the situation could have been a lot worse, and an important display of BMW’s history could have been lost if not for the dedication of a devoted group of gearheads.

News Source: Road and Track