For five years now, a tradition has continued: a post that looks back on the year that has passed, highlighting the best imagery captured over the last twelve months. It’s an opportunity for Andrew and I to share our highlights, talents, and memories too… and this year is no exception. This time, however, I’ve decided on a different approach. 2016 will be, for years to come, the butt of jokes and jabs; the year that went on far too long, and was ushered off with haste never before seen. For me, though, 2016 brought about some incredible memories, milestones, and moments. My year in photos for 2016 will represent not the captures, the images, and the colors within them, but instead, the highlighted moments that can only come from yet another year here at StanceWorks. So here’s to 2016: My Year in Photos.
2016 began with the fulfillment of a dream. A year ago today, I brought home an E28 M5 that had been sitting beneath a tree for more than 20 years. After arriving in California and receiving a bit of a cleanup, it sits perched on jack stands waiting for its turn under the knife. Owning one of these incredibly rare cars has been a dream of mine since I first encountered this very car, more than a decade ago. I’ve yet to decide exactly how to approach the build; initially, I was hellbent on a perfect restoration, but today, I lean more towards a driver’s example… something to enjoy. A restoration can happen any time, and I’m eager to drive it.
For years now, Andrew and I have worked with BMW and the RLL race team, and 2016 brought about some major changes for them too. The M6 GTLM was introduced: an all-new chassis for IMSA racing, and as one of 2016’s highlights, I was brought in to photograph the new race cars for their official press release. I retuned to Hilliard, OH, where RLL is headquartered. I shot the cars amongst their predecessors and fellow legends, and the results made for one of my favorite photoshoots of 2016.
2016 brought about a lot of off roading, and one of the year’s highlights for fun in the sun came in the Pinto Mountains. My girlfriend and our dog loaded up our Land Cruiser and set out for the hills for a weekend of camping along with Josh Dahlstrom and Cory Hutchison. We explored the depths of the Brooklyn Mine, overlooked Joshua Tree National Park, and enjoyed the serene beauty that the Southern Californian desert is best known for. Needless to say, returning is a top priority for 2017.
Our trip to Amelia Island came not long after, and in celebration of BMW’s 100th Birthday, BMW invited the best of the best. Andrew and I took the opportunity to photograph a number of examples that piqued our interest, and for me, the star of the show was likely this Group A E24 635CSi, adorned in blazing Jagermeister colors. Each year, along with our trip to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is easily one of the best weekends of the year as an enthusiast of classic racers.
Emily, Chloe (our dog) and I loaded up the Land Cruiser yet again in mid-April for a trip to Yosemite National Park. It was our first trip, and our time spent there as well as in the Nelder Sequoia Grove, were simply breathtaking. Our trips spent in the outdoors highlight not only the beauty of nature, but the joy that can be had with a vehicular sidekick just about anywhere in the world. From the garage to the racetrack, and from the highway to the national park, there’s always a path or a road to enjoy, and Yosemite provided a truly incredible destination.
Unfortunately, 2016 also brought about loss and gain. Shortly following our trip to Yosemite, the FJ62 was stolen, and presumed gone for good. In need of a quick replacement, I found myself behind the wheel of a 1965 FJ40 – a truly incredible truck, although “tractor” might be a more fair noun. Although a few months later the FJ62 was recovered, I’ve yet to let go of the classic 4×4. As many will agree I’m sure, two trucks have to be better than one.
2016 also brought about a number of accomplishments, one of the biggest being the first drive of Rusty, and some time in the spotlight on primetime television. Jay Leno invited the StanceWorks gang out for a day of cars and shop talk, and more importantly, included Rusty in a segment on his CNBC show, Jay Leno’s Garage. It was both humbling and a huge honor to be included; receiving such recognition for the car certainly makes the hard work worthwhile.
Mid-summer, Emily and I travelled to Seattle to spend some time with Nic and Stephanie Foster. After realizing it had been more than four years since I last photographed their car, known as “Mr. Belvedere,” we found a location and got to work re-featuring a StanceWorks icon. Although the changes since 2012 are subtle, they all come together to create what many consider to be the best E21 out there, bar none. Paired with a background that matched the car’s colors to an almost eerie degree, it made for a photoshoot that stands out amongst the rest of 2016, and the subject matter doesn’t hurt either.
2016 forged new friendships as well; some expected, and others not. During my trip to Seattle, I was introduced to Daniel Ressa and his gorgeous Nissan S14. My admitted biases have me fawning over European steel far more often than Japanese, but form time to time, a car from the land of the rising sun manages to catch my attention and leave me wholly impressed. Even more rare is that the man behind the car leaves an even greater impression, and I’m looking forward to seeing Daniel on my next visit north. Here in SoCal, I was introduced to Jeff Tighe – a famed BMW restorer – who happens to be located just around the corner from the StanceWorks HQ. After a couple of photo shoots of his beautiful creations, we’ve forged a friendship that I’m glad carries forward into 2017.
2016 seemed to be a year of new projects for Andrew and I, and the biggest one for me was the acquisition of this 1984 533i, immediately named the “SW Parts Car” for the upcoming build. I partnered with H&R to tackle a project I had dreamed of for quite some time, and after purchasing the car in July, the pressure was on for a SEMA completion.
While 2016 took me to many places, it also brought a number of people to me. Riley Stair made a number of visits down south, and the most notable was his trip down for our first-ever StanceWorks Open House. He brought along his E28 – perhaps the E28 of E28s when it comes to cars like his – and I couldn’t help but set aside time for a photoshoot, despite the fact that we had featured his car before. Both his cars and Riley himself alway serve as an inspiration, and seeing his E28 “in the flesh” solidified that fact even further.
Our annual trip to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion was as good as ever, with one special highlight: Andrew and I unveiled the all-new BMW 2002 Turbo “Turbomeister” concept on the StanceWorks homepage. In the early dense fog, we brought he car out onto the track at Laguna Seca and worked quickly to do what we do best, and the results were stellar. As a car that has thoroughly grown on me, I’m eager to see this design language brought to the market.
Our trip to Monterey also introduced me to the sole “Unofficial” Frank Stella Art Car, and after photographing it, I dove in to learn more of its story. It stands as one of my all-time favorite StanceWorks pieces. Although heartbreaking, the M1 tells a story richer than imaginable, and Peter Gleeson ensures its legacy will live on for decades to come.
As the end of the year approached, so did SEMA, and with it came the completion of a project car I’ve been waiting for for quite some time. Our friend Roland Graef at H&R unveiled his perfectly-restored E30 318iS, clad in the same orange sported by the Lime Rock edition E92 M3s. Undoubtedly the cleanest BMW build of the year, we were honored to unveil it on the StanceWorks homepage.
And finally, to close the year of 2016 is the completion of my latest build, the “SW Parts Car” and an homage to the Group A E28s and E24s that have helped to shape my love for the BMW marque. It’s a build for “me,” through and through, and now that it’s 2017, it’s time to drive it. Here’s to yet another great year of StanceWorks memories to come.