Photography by Mark Scire II
The M Coupe was a late night project of a few rogue M division engineers. This is a car that was never meant to be built. Yet 2,858 graced the roads here in North America spanning 1998 through 2002. With such a strange physical appearance, it has naturally attracted somewhat of a cult following. The Coupe Cartel is a small group within the BMW world, but it’s a very close knit group of friends. That being said, it’s a very rare occasion when more than 1 or 2 of these cars and their owners meet in person.
Enter Schuh Syndikat, an event centered around both M Coupes and Z3 Coupes organized by Eric Peck and the East Coast counterpart to Dorkfest. This year was the 4th year for the event with attendance once again higher than the previous year. This year in total there were 24 Coupes present with the addition of a couple Roadsters and a 318ti Clubsport. On Thursday, I led a small caravan of 4 M Coupes, including my own, down to Schuh. After the 6 hour drive, there is nothing like that last turn into the hotel parking lot and seeing almost nothing but clown shoes. After parking and a quick stretch of the legs, we’re all shaking hands and catching up with guys we haven't seen since the past year’s event. Talking about the mods done in the last year and seeing some long term projects in person for the first time. This is all the evening before the first official day of Schuh Syndikat.
After a night of staying up way too late and have a few too many brews, the familiar sound of my alarm wakes me up around 6:30am on Friday. Plan for today is to have wheels rolling by 7:30. We have an entire day of mountain driving planned all along and around the Blue Ridge Parkway in both North Carolina and Tennessee. The roads in the morning were damp from the bit of rain we had overnight and there was some low hanging fog on the mountains as we made our way to them. Now, just imagine being in a group and all you see both ahead and behind you is a seemingly endless line of Coupes as they wind their way up and down some of the best mountain roads I've ever driven on. If there is a heaven, I sure hope its something similar to that. Nothing but the sound of S52’s and S54’s screaming their way through the mountains. At one point climbing up Roan Mountain we get into some thick fog which slows us down a bit. As we continue on through the fog, it’s almost like we ended up on another planet at Carvers Gap. There was a bit of snow and all the trees and plants were completely covered in ice.
We all pulled over there for one of many quick photo opps on the planned route and continued on our way. Not more than a half mile or so down the road, it was like it never happened. After another hour or 2 of winding our way through the mountains, we take a break for lunch at the Switzerland Inn which offers us a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains just about as far as you can see. Following lunch, we have a little more driving to do before we blast down the highway heading to the hotel in Charlotte.
Once we arrive at the hotel in the afternoon, out comes the hose, buckets, soap, and wash mitts. Everyone is in full blown detail mode as we made sure to get the cars plenty dirty driving them like they were meant to be in the mountains. We are all discussing the day’s drive and more Coupes are also showing up that did not participate in the drive. While all this is happening a rather large order of pizza shows up for us all and quickly disappears and as night creeps in more parking lot discussions are had with a few drinks.
Saturday morning comes just as quickly as the previous day as we are all up early again to attend Charlottes Cars and Coffee in downtown Charlotte. It’s always a wild feeling to pull up to a C&C event the size of Charlotte’s and to have 24 Coupes in tow makes it even better. We wind our way through the parking lot to find the spot set aside for our group. Quite a few heads were turned on the way in to say the least. After parking, I go off to check out the variety of cars present. There was no shortage of automotive porn present, everything from classic Chevy pickups to the latest and greatest from Ferrari and everything in between. A couple hours of making my way through row after row of cars passed and then we’re off to the location for our group photo. This was a quick trip across downtown to the top of a parking deck that gave us a solid view of Charlotte’s skyline. Tony and I spent the next hour or so organizing and placing cars for the photo we wanted to get of the group.
After snapping a few frames we were on our way to CES Motorsport. The trip over was a quick 30 minute blast down the highway. I rode along with Tony and had Collin drive my Coupe so on the way over I could hang out of Tony’s car and get some rollers of the Coupes. We arrive at CES and as you would imagine were greeted with a shop full of nothing but turbo goodness. While we were there, a few of the Coupes are strapped down on the dyno, including a 3.5l stroker S54 putting down 325whp and 266wtq. Once we wrap things up at CES, we all head back to the hotel for a short little break to get cleaned up and head out to dinner and awards.
Once we all get back to the hotel from dinner, a few of us linger outside and chat and wish each other a safe drive home before turning in for the night and packing up the following morning for the long drive back home. The drive back home is pretty uneventful with Collin and I just talking about all the wild stuff that happened during the weekend and not being able to wait until next year’s event when we all get to meet up again for a couple days and share our love for a car that was never supposed to be built in the first place.