Here we go again. I am about to drive back to my hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee for a meet I look forward to every spring: Riverside. I have a love/hate relationship with the show, but I still consider it my favorite. That relationship, though, has nothing to do with the meet itself. It’s with my rush to be there and oversights when I pull my E30 from storage and drive it for the 9-hour trip before it’s ready. This year, I refuse to let that happen. Thanks to some help from Julian Burkett, one of the German Auto Pros technicians, we should be in the clear. Should be.

Riverside’s motto is ‘come for the cars, stay for the people.’ Being a Chattanooga native myself, I can attest that fact. However, it’s almost just as fun with your friends at home before the show, especially when it’s a group effort to ensure a particular car will be at the show. That car, in this case, is my E30, which I have written about extensively.

Over the last few weeks, I have been knee-deep in some fairly involved maintenance and prep work to ensure my vintage BMW makes the 18-hour round trip without any issues. Why am I so invested? Well, I have this pattern of rushing things. This year, I want to break that pattern. I plan on having a reliable, fun, and trouble-free summer with my E30. So I planned to do all this work before the show season, rather than wait for something to break while I’m enjoying it.

This most recent round of work has been quite exhaustive. I needed to replace my oil pan gasket, do a cooling system refresh, oil service, and wanted to change a few things up like shifter bushings and a full power steering delete. So, that’s what I did. A few weeks ago, I tore my engine, transmission, and front subframe out of my car to make all the repairs easier. While that certainly was the case when it came to replacing the pan gasket, shifter bushings, fluids, and more, putting everything back together was a much more difficult task. It took some help.

Thankfully, I have good people around me, too. Julian Burkett, Parker Spencer, and Dave Siebert all came through and helped me get everything back together, which was no small feat. In one day, we were able to mate the engine and transmission, mount the engine on the subframe, and reinstall everything in the car. It was an absolute chore and one that I’m glad I did. Now, we should be able to drive this car down to Tennessee on Thursday and not deal with leaks, overheating, or anything else… provided I did everything correctly.

Yes, the show is full of good people. I can’t wait to see my friends who I only see a few times a year now, rather than a few times a week. I’m looking forward to my favorite restaurants, roads, and car show. But I wouldn’t be able to enjoy them this year without the help from my friends. Honestly, it has put everything into perspective for me. Without them, I wouldn’t be going. Even if I didn’t go after all this work, I’d still feel satisfied because we had fun together, struggling and fighting my BMW.

Regardless of whether or not my car makes it, I’ve had fun. I thoroughly enjoy spending days in my garage with my friends, as you can tell by our happy, if not exhausted, faces. Hopefully, though, my E30 makes the journey without issue. If so, then you can expect to see more Riverside coverage and content for this third year in a row at ECS and my fourth trip back to my hometown for my favorite hometown show. I’ll see you all there! Thanks to Julian Burkett for the photography with his fancy pantsy new camera!!