In 1767, a couple of chaps named Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon drew a line in the sand, or whatever they were standing on at the time and that line has apparently defined whatever is considered the "South" of America till this day. You will hear people refer to the Mason Dixon line. Now, now, I am not that smart or so incredibly well versed on U.S. history that this just fell off my tongue or out of my head. I did what any self respecting millennial or 21st century person would do - I search the good ole interweb.
Now, why is this line important to a car guy who is driving across country in a blazing Red car you might wonder. Well, that question will now bring us to the topic of Southern Hospitality. That term is often used to describe people in the South, how they are warm and welcoming as a people. Now, let's be honest here enough to acknowledge that the South has had it's fair share of dark history, particularly to people of African origins. After all, American history teaches us that the U.S Civil War was fought between the North and the South and various versions of that history tell us that one of the main reasons was that the Southern states that formed the Confederacy did not want to give up slavery. So.... that is brief history, you can read up on the rest yourself.
All history aside, I am here to tell you that the South DOES INDEED live up to it's reputation of hospitality towards everyone. Now... does the South start in Washington D.C ? Or does it start in Virginia? I don't know for sure, all I know is that it started the moment I made my first stop in Richmond, VA to meet fellow gear head and car guy - Brandon. Brandon and I have been members or a BMW Board / Club for years and had interacted various times. To see us meet for the first time, you would swear to yourself that we must have meet quite a few times on a regular basis. We met with what felt like a familiar handshake of buddies who might have gone to school together. Maybe it's because we share the same madness.... opps.... I mean passion together? We went to have refreshments close by and between Brandon and our hostess, the Southern Hospitality was oozing and I was made to feel at home almost immediately. After refreshments, we went to a place that all car guys feel comfortable and welcome at - a garage of course. And not just any ole garage - this was Brandon's Dad's garage and it was a special place due to the absolutely stunning collections of Datsun Z Cars. Yeah, that's right.... I said Datsun. These are from the days before Nissan. If you know what a Datsun is, chances are like me you, you also know what an 8 track player is and.... yep! You are getting up there in age! LOL!
Here again, the Southern Hospitality was evident as Brandon's Dad gave me a tour and of the cars and his garage. And what an admirable collection it is too. While I was there, he and I talked like old friends as he gave me the run down of each car in the collection. I felt very welcome and comfortable .... it was like he was expecting a guest, even though I literally gate crashed his afternoon. I can tell you how amazing these cars are, but I am afraid that there is nothing that compares to seeing them in person and in that regard, I have the advantage. Hopefully, the pictures will at least give you an indication of how great these cars are and the condition they are in. There was also a pristine condition NSX among this treasure trove of classics. To say that time was TOO short with this visit is an understatement, I could have spent a whole week just admiring these cars.
After spending time with the Z collection, we then headed over to Brandon's garage. They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and that is the case here. Brandon inherited not only the Southern Hospitality genes from his Dad, he also inherited the Car Guy genes too. He has a very unique car that I had always wanted to check out. It was a 1999 BMW Wagon... with a pure American heart. At Brandon's garage, I finally got a chance to check out what we like to fondly refer to as the GMW. The car started life as a 1999 BMW 528i Wagon. It ended up as a 1999 GMW Road Eating, heart pounding, wild roaring, head spinning LSX powered Wagon. I may be wrong here, but I believe it is putting out power in the 400 - 500 BHP range and similar numbers in Torque. I will be corrected if this is wrong. Again, this is one of those cars that you have to see in person to appreciate the work that went into it. Everything on it looks factory installed.... from the LSX heart to the updated interior.
The fun part of getting to see the car in person is getting to hear it start in person. Is it loud? Oh Yeah, Oh Lord Yes! It is like arriving at a Classical Music concert early, early enough to hear the musicians rehearsing and tuning their instruments. Noise, clanking, clanging and what not. Then.... they morph all that into a perfectly harmonized musical set, but one with multiple loud thundering crescendos! The sound of the LSX is intoxicating. While it is not for everyone, any car loving person will enthralled by the sound. Someone should remake that movie, "Sound of Music", but call it "Sound of Cars" this time and have this engine's noise as the sound track.
The Southern Hospitality theme continued. After Brandon and I went for heart pounding ride in the GMW, he immediately helped me roll my rear fenders to fix a rubbing issue. This was because on bumps, the slightly taller tires I was using would rub the inner fenders. As soon as we first met and he heard the rub, he immediately said we must make it home in time to get the fenders fixed. I mean... I just met the guy and he was already concerned about my safety and offering to help me fix the problem. Southern Hospitality rules! Once I figure out the weather and the whole heat thing, I may just head south! LOL!
I had a most wonderful afternoon in Richmond, VA. Next time I do this kind of trip across the U.S, you can bet that I will visit the South again and will spend more time there. By the way, did I mention how great the Southern Hospitality is ???? :)