Wheels & Weisswürscht: A Very Bavarian Take On The Cars & Coffee Format
Photography by Alex Sobran
The concept of an early morning meet with an informal atmosphere befitting the weekend on which it’s held is nothing new, but we can also say that all cars are just a means of transportation if we’re talking bare fundamentals—some are used for supermarkets and soccer practice, some have 1,000 horsepower and one seat.
I’ve been enjoying the perks of my job in Munich lately, and I was happy to hear that my hosts at BMW Classic had recently begun their own version of the popular Cars & Coffee event format. Held every first and third Saturday of the month, they’ve kept the alliteration in the title while adding a local touch. It’s called Wheels & Weisswürscht, and if you show up with a classic car or bike (from any marque) you’ll get a few sausage links and a hearty pretzel to start your morning of mingling with the cars and their caretakers.
Everything is very orderly as you might expect—attendees arrive without fuss, park in neat rows, many roll up the windows and lock the doors—but it would be wrong to expect a dirge of monochrome Mercs and varying shades of Delphin Grey resprays in keeping with the stereotypes of staid German sensibilities. This is Bavaria after all, the fun-loving southern scoop of the country where someone like me who can only communicate in English is warmly welcomed by friendly people and purple cars (I believe the E31 and E34 pictured above are both factory jobs, the rare individual-order Lila, or Lilac Metallic).
Sure, as you can see there were a few of the more austere automobiles that showed up to the third edition of the show, but while silver sedans and crossovers of the modern variety tend to look like dowdy blobs of rounded-off nothingness, I’ve always appreciated the way a super-clean silver complements the sharper lines of the cars we prefer at Petrolicious.
In terms of the variety, the roundel was the most represented badge last Saturday, but this was no exclusive show. I’ve been to a bunch of Cars & Coffees across America like our local favorite and now-no-more Trancas-hosted event, so it was pretty funny to see a C3 Corvette getting more attention than a bright orange 8er. That would surely not be the case back home. Also amusing was the fact that in a row of cars with their hoods shut, another C3, the red one pictured at the end of this article, was the first and only one in its line to pop its hood to reveal the big ol’ shiny air filter on top of its small-block V8—insert joke about taking the car out of America, but not the… you get it.
The venue itself is by no means massive, but there was a steady rotation of cars throughout the morning and well into the afternoon, and pinballing my way around from one end to another often meant seeing a different spread of vehicles than had been there 20 minutes earlier. Just the right amount of shuffling. The continuous refresh of the parking area saw Porsches trading places with Triumphs, Volvos keeping the pavement warm for big Benzes, but the most refreshing aspect of it all was the lack of noise.
The pleasant background chatter of people sharing their builds with each other was always there to remind you that the point of these events is to enjoy cars rather than compete with them, but conspicuously absent was the sound of the look-at-me’s redlines. On exiting the venue, a handful of cars let first gear sit a bit longer before finding second, but I can’t tell you how nice it was to not hear an obnoxiously loud supercar being revved up in the parking lot by its obnoxious owner. Nothing wrong with the cars themselves, but the only people who care to hear them get the event canceled are the ones that don’t really care about cars that much to begin with.
It wasn’t all relegated to the parking pads outside of the Classic compound though, as guests were given a little peek into the vault of BMWs held in the building adjacent to the glass and steel workshop pictured above. Below is just one of my favorites from the collection of cars housed in the space that was once part of the company’s original factory network in operation since the earliest days of the BMW brand. Again, nothing wrong with silver when it’s coating something like a Batmobile.
I mentioned my English-only communication limitations earlier, but as we all know Americans are pretty spoiled in Europe in the sense that nearly everybody seems to speak the language quite well here. Even before I ask the rote “Sprechen Sie Englisch?” there are some snippets of conversation that don’t require much translation in the dialect of sports cars: BBS, turbo, and “zix-zylinder” are easily understood regardless of nationality. And speaking of, this wasn’t just a handful of Munich locals showing up, and one group of about five cars and ten people had made the drive all the way from Italy, complete with a rather official-looking schedule and road book on hand.
I’m not sure how alone or not I am in this, but I love looking at the stickers of regional clubs, and there were plenty to see here.
If you know me even a smidge, my interest in older BMWs is no big secret, so it’s fair and mildly-put to say that I enjoyed attending this event. But under blue skies and between widebody E31s and dozens of headlight wipers, there’s more than just an opportunity here to indulge in an array of Bimmers—for a visitor who happened to be around on the right weekend, it offered a chance to see a different scene, and to rediscover the universal attraction inherent in sharing our interests with others. It’s never just about the cars.