A Walk in the Park with my Gal: Mike Burroughs’s 1971 BMW E9

There’s something special about classic cars. Their defined lines and established curves, strangely inviting, even to those who don’t know the difference between wheel and tire. Yet somehow, there’s a bond seemingly everyone shares over these few remaining pieces of history. It’s as though the presence of a classic car is enough for even the busiest of people to pause for a moment, if only to look and smile. But if they look twice, it’s only a matter of time before they ask.

“What year is that?” It’s always the first question.

It’s rare that answering “1971” means much to anyone. After all, it’s just a number, and unless you’re a diehard enthusiast, it means nothing more than “1970”. But nonetheless, their enthusiasm is piqued. It’s as though the answer is acknowledgement that we’re no longer strangers, and that we’re about to discuss something much deeper than just an automobile.

For some, the trigger may be an old BMW, while for others it may be a Beetle, a Plymouth, or perhaps a Corvair. A fin-tailed Cadillac, a Bel-Air, or maybe an old Corolla. There’s something most of us remember from our childhood. Maybe an Aunt picked you up from your mother’s house in her ’60s Benz, or maybe Grandpa had a ’53 Chevy truck on his farm. We all have fond memories involving the cars that inspire the enthusiasm we have for cars today.

I drove my E9 into the beachfront neighborhood to snap some photos. Between the constant shoots we’ve been putting together and the effort it has taken to get the car back on the road since moving west, it was finally a chance to escape and spend some one-on-one time with her. While most of the changes have been minor, the HRE vintage series wheels were built for the car, intended to embody the soul of vintage motoring. I hadn’t taken the time to do so since my first photo shoot back in July of last year. The quiet neighborhood overflowed with the remnants of sunlight, and it only seemed fitting, a perfect place to share a simple and understated car.

I hadn’t been shooting for more than a minute when it happened. An older gentleman walking by asked the question. It wasn’t long before we found ourselves discussing his 1978 BMW 733i. He tells me it’s in perfect condition. He keeps it tucked away in the garage, just as he has every day since he purchased it new 34 years ago. The E9 brought him back through the decades, a special moment where paused to enjoy what the car, and his own, meant to him.

I kept snapping away, catching bits of sunlight as the sun passed through the leaves of the trees in the distance as the shadows grew longer and longer.  A couple of men across the street stood on their front porch discussing what the car must be. “I think it’s a 1976” one said. A young woman stopped to admire the car and share the story of her father’s car growing up.

It’s something cars built within recent years just don’t inspire. Driving the E9 feels almost like an opportunity; a privilege. The chance to preserve a bit of automotive history as well as inspire those who find themselves looking at it. Even those without a love for cars find some inherent value in the car we’ve put together, and in turn, everything we do. Here at STANCE|WORKS, we take this sense of instilled inspiration to heart. It’s precisely what we’re here to do.


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