Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Ultimate Ride Part I

Entrance to Zentrum, BMW's Museum and factory tour
You'd get a different answer from every person you asked, if you asked,"What is the ultimate car ride?" Sparky doesn't really have an answer for that one....and Eldo doesn't either, but after touring the BMW factory today in Spartanburg SC, we'd be tempted to say, "A BMW!" And if they didn't cost so much, we'd wanna buy one!

For 7.00 a person, you get to start out at the Zentrum BMW Museum which could be for free if you decided not to do the factory tour, but you should! The museum is WAY cool! Go see a history of the company,
Isetta-popular in Europe in the 1950's and used in the movie "Funny Face" with Audrey Heburn
cool vehicles,

learn interesting facts,

see art cars, like the Esther Maulangu car, one of 17 that have been commissioned by BMW using famous artists to make a statement in the art world and the motoring world. The actual car wasn't there at the moment, but it has been in the past.

Esther's car--COOL!

read a great story about a motorcycle that could have changed the whole future of motorcycle history...
Or take a driving school course....five different courses offered to help you become a better driver or learn how to push your performance model M car to the limits!

And we haven't even started the factory tour yet. Because we were not allowed to take photos, there are no factory pictures. But we will tell you that the BMW factory tour blew the Corvette tour (Bowling Green, KY) out of the water. It was AMAZING to see over 400 hundred robots used in the body shop section of the factory alone. Picture robots twisting and turning, hefting 400 pound pieces of car sections around, working within inches of each other spinning like finely tuned tops with sparks shooting EVERYWHERE as the parts were welded, melded, and assembled. Don't wear your good clothes or wear hair gel on this tour, you might get a little burnt spot or set your hair aflame!

But it was an impressive sight. There are some great videos on youtube of the BMW factory at Spartanburg if you are interested. So many interesting facts! Like "Just in time.." supplying....Parts arrive at the Spartansburg factory within a couple of hours of when they will be used. If a supplier is late, they are fined $2,000.00 a MINUTE for tardiness. The exact science of how they sequence their parts for each car that is being made, is incredible and an amazing story.  If you buy a BMW, and choose to pick it up at the Spartansburg factory, they pay for your hotel, wine and dine you, then take you to pick up your car, give you a 2.5 orientation of the car MANUAL, then you go out on their performance track, and drive a car similar to yours and learn how to handle it in skids, braking, and lots of other stuff for another couple of hours. What a company! What a car! The ultimate ride, they say....Sparky is gonna have to go test drive one one of these days....(Nope, no way, no chance, no how!.....says E. We can't afford one!) Just kiddin', honey! Later........


  1. We have driven past this museum several times and never stopped. We are both glad someone did a review. Now we know what we will be in store for. Thanks for the review.

  2. Very interesting. Impressive environmental facts. And I love the $2K a minute fine if you are late. I'd really have liked to do that to some folks a time or two. With the wining and dining of the owners, No wonder they cost so much! Not how I'd spend that much money even if I had it but I suppose for the folks who buy them it's just one of their toys. Are these guys those 1%? They sure aren't the folks who have been hurt by the continuing recession. Wonder if BMW even noticed there was a recession. :-))

  3. Sounds like a great tour and we enjoyed the one at the Corvette factory, so this one will be on tap the next time we are in that area.

    We bought a 1992 BMW 325I and paid $24K for the car. I figure we have put another $6K in tires, batteries, repairs, etc in the car. That figures out to around $1.5K a year for the car. It has 170K miles on it and still runs great, getting around 32mpg on the highway.

    We also have an 2006 Saturn as a tow car with 110K miles on it and an initial cost of $23K. We have put another $4K into the car in repairs, tires, batteries, etc and love the car. I would buy another one if they were still being produced. That averages out to around $4.5K a year for the Saturn.

    When you look at the cost of both cars, the BMW is actually the better bargain. You can't even begin to compare the ride and handling of the two cars and if we could tow it behind the motorhome, we would only have one car.

    Just my personal experience with a BMW. Love it!

    Of course, if we bought one now the initial cost would be greater.