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German automobile giant BMW is known worldwide for its luxury sports cars, SUVs and motorcycles, but it could earn a reputation in another vehicle category: boats. BMW has partnered with several boat designers and manufacturers to create new toys for the water, but it’s still too early to estimate their success. Does BMW have a legitimate future in boating? Let’s find out.

The Sundancer 370 Outboard

Designworks – a BMW Group company – is the organization leading the charge into boating. It partnered with American boat manufacturer Sea Ray in early 2021 to create a new boat called the Sundancer 370 Outboard. This boat is BMW’s biggest water-based project to date and could preview what the car company has in store for the future. These are the 2022 model’s main specifications:

  • Class: Cruiser
  • Hull Material: Fiberglass
  • Length: 39 feet and 9 inches
  • Weight: 21,008 pounds dry, 22,947 pounds total
  • Bridge Clearance: 12 feet
  • Fuel Tank: 250 gallons
  • Capacity: three people
  • Top Speed: 50.8 mph
  • Longest Range: 201 miles

Designers said they wanted the boat to have four characteristics: sleek, confident, athletic and distinctive. At first glance, it contains hints of previous Sundancer models but has sharper lines and a more aggressive look overall. It looks more like a vessel built for high speeds than a luxury cruiser. 

The four qualities the builders were looking for certainly come to mind when you approach the boat. The hull has innovative design features with their own new names, such as the S-sheer line, jawline and center crease.

These lines make the boat look more muscular and rugged, while the glass windshield goes all the way up to the hardtop canopy, allowing for better climate control and more comfortable driving. In fact, drivers describe the experience as yacht-like, as the boat delivered a smooth ride with few bumps and splashes.

Things get more luxurious once you step onboard – as expected for a BMW-influenced boat. The bow space is more open than usual for Sea Ray vessels, with plenty of seating and storage space. The stern also has comfortable, roomy seating, complemented by hardwood tables and surrounded by a powerful Fusion stereo system.

You enter the cabin from the port walkaround, where you’ll find a complete kitchen, bathroom and lodging for three. The stained hardwood and white fiberglass pair together remarkably well. A custom diamond pattern makes subtle appearances here and there, making it feel like a proper luxury vessel.

Boat Engines

BMW has also established itself in the production of boat engines, most notably with Swedish diesel outboard company Oxe Marine. BMW agreed to provide engine blocks for the company’s 200-horsepower (hp) engines and collaborate on a new 300-hp engine that will be released in the near future.

The BMW logo and caption “In Cooperation With BMW” will appear on every device as a sign of the partnership’s long-term intentions. BMW officials said the partnership “offers the BMW Group a chance to re-enter the marine business after several years of absence.” 

These partnerships with Sea Ray and Oxe Marine show that BMW is serious about increasing its influence in the boating industry. But what kind of success can a car company expect to have on the water? 

Looking Ahead

Although BMW has the brand awareness and technological capabilities to make a splash in the boating industry, the industry itself might not have room for another power player. Like many other lines of business, boating is facing supply shortages that could inhibit the production of the Sundancer and Oxe engines.

As a result of the supply shortages, options are limited, prices are high and buyers often have less time to consider purchasing a boat before someone else snatches it up. This rush leads to risky agreements, incomplete documentation and an overall lack of trust between sellers and buyers. These factors might stifle the growth of BMW-related boating products that many buyers aren’t familiar with.

But we’re being pessimistic and premature. The Sundancer was only released in early 2021, and the new Oxe Marine engine isn’t even finished yet. It’s far too early to determine the success/failure of these products. 

The most likely scenario is that BMW’s boating products will gain a niche following from wealthy buyers and luxury car enthusiasts looking to add to their collections. This group will be large and stable enough for BMW to dodge economic pitfalls and remain profitable, though further expansion will be difficult.

The Future Looks Bright… Enough

The Sundancer 370 Outboard has all the makings of a successful luxury cruiser and the partnership with Oxe Marine looks promising as well. The only thing stopping BMW from gaining influence in the boating industry is the industry itself. However, BMW has the reputation and resources to overcome subpar market conditions and attract a sustainable group of buyers.

Proper storage is one of the most important responsibilities of owning a luxury vehicle. You need to protect your classic BMW from the elements and unwanted attention by housing it in a secure facility. You also need to address several mechanical factors before putting a vehicle away for an extended period.

Here are five tips to consider for your classic BMW’s long-term storage.

1.     Detail the Car First

You want to send your car into storage in the best shape possible, so you need to give it a thorough detailing inside and out. Make sure you remove all food and garbage from the inside to avoid attracting pests, and remember these essential tasks:

  • Add a protective wax finish.
  • Inflate the tires.
  • Clean and dress the wheels.
  • Lubricate the door and hood hinges to keep them from sticking.

Your car’s exterior needs sufficient protection to remain in pristine condition during storage. These measures ensure the paint will remain undamaged, and the tires, wheels and doors will be ready for action when you get the BMW back on the road.

2.     Refill the Fluids

You also need to refill or change your classic vehicle’s fluids before shutting it down. This critical step prevents moisture from rusting the tanks and keeps the seals from drying up. All of these fluids should be full and fresh:

  • Gasoline
  • Oil
  • Antifreeze
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid

When you park the car, remove the spark plugs and give the cylinders one last lubrication to ensure their long-term health. If you want to be extra careful, hold on to the spark plugs to prevent anyone from jumpstarting your vehicle and stealing it. Reinstall them when you return and drive off in a full, healthy BMW!

3.     Find a Trustworthy Storage Location

Location is the most important part of storage. While outdoors is manageable, it has many challenges and is more likely to damage your classic car. You want to find an indoor storage facility with the following features:

  • Paved floors
  • A clean, dark and dry environment
  • Secluded parking spaces or storage units
  • Security devices (cameras, motion sensors, alarms, etc.) around the property

A paved surface is better than grass or gravel because it prevents tire wear. The other traits ensure that your BMW stays out of the elements and doesn’t attract attention. Ideally, no one but you and the property owner should know your car’s location. This secrecy will help you sleep easier.

4.     Include Extra Protective Measures

A closed-off storage space will do most of the work, but you can add numerous other finishing touches to make your BMW even more secure. Consider including these protective measures:

  • Hide the vehicle with a cloth car cover (not plastic, as plastic traps condensation which leads to rust).
  • Close all internal vents.
  • Block off the exhaust with steel wool or aluminum foil to deter pests.
  • Place a box of baking soda inside to absorb odors. Other air fresheners won’t be powerful enough to keep your car smelling fresh for a long timeframe.
  • Elevate the car on jack stands to take the pressure off the tires and suspension.

You can’t be too careful with a classic BMW. They’re expensive enough to maintain without major mechanical issues, so why leave anything to chance? Go the extra mile to give your car the protection it deserves.

5.     Check Up on Your Vehicle

You don’t want to put your car away and forget about it for several months. Check up on your BMW every few weeks and see if you can spot any changes. Look for these signs of activity in particular:

  • Fluid leaks
  • Foul odors
  • Dents, scratches and other markings
  • Animal nests, droppings, etc.

Car enthusiasts are divided about starting the engine while in storage. Some argue that periodic oil and gas circulation prevents corrosion in the fuel tanks, while others believe starting a cold vehicle after a long time can expose the engine to moisture and contaminants. You know your BMW better than anyone, so do what you think is best.

When the time finally comes for you to take your car out of hibernation, check the fuel levels, tire pressure and other vital signs before driving. All the prep work you did several months earlier will pay off and you can drive off the lot in confidence.

Do Your Classic BMW a Favor

Storing luxury vehicles for long periods is a tough pill to swallow. On one hand, you understand that they aren’t built for rough weather and need protection from the elements. On the other hand, sending a beautiful car into hiding always hurts.

Do your classic BMW a favor and lean on the side of caution. Detail it, store it in a secure location and do everything in your power to keep it safe until you can drive it again.

American truck stops are more than just resting places for truck drivers. Many of them have tourist attractions and amenities for everyone on the road, including luxury car owners. 

With several unique spots in every state, you might recognize some of the names on this list. Here are five interesting truck stops to visit on your next BMW road trip.

1. Florida 595 Truck Stop, Davie, FL

Our first stop is the largest overnight destination for travelers in the Sunshine State, Florida 595 Truck Stop. This stop has over 450 parking spots and 12 fueling stations, giving your BMW plenty of space to maneuver around. But that’s not the 595’s only calling card. In true Florida fashion, this stop has every store you could need on your road trip, plus a little extra:

  • A massive convenience store
  • Travel/service center
  • Sports bar
  • Diner
  • Chrome shop
  • Radio repair shop

This stop has a perfect location for travelers. It sits next to the busy 595 freeway, just a short distance from Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton. Stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!

2. South of the Border, Hamer, SC

If you’ve driven on Interstate 95 through the southeast United States, you’ve probably seen South of the Border Motor Inn. It sits right on the North/South Carolina border and catches every driver’s attention with huge billboards, old-school building designs and a clear Mexican-American theme.

Aside from the eye-catching design, this stop brings all kinds of businesses to the table. It covers the basics with a grocery store, gas station, housing and bathrooms for travelers. You can also find several restaurants, including the famed Sombrero Room, a steakhouse and other fast food options. 

The odd tourist attractions set this truck stop apart from the other places on this list. South of the Border has a small carnival, beach shop, reptile lagoon and a 200-foot observation tower with a giant sombrero at the top. It’s a strange place and a worthwhile checkpoint on your next road trip along the east coast.

3. Mach 1 Store #12, West Frankfort, IL

The Mach 1 line of truck stops is a popular brand among truck drivers, and Store #12 in Frankfort is one of the crown jewels. This family-owned and operated location in Southeast Illinois is one of the cleanest stops you will ever see and gets frequent updates. The owners are active on social media and let customer feedback influence their business decisions more than most companies.

Thanks to these social media efforts, the convenience store always has a new product or promotion, and the housing area updates its amenities often. Store #12 sits right off of Interstate 57, with parks, restaurants and a public golf course nearby. Your BMW will be right at home at this clean and comfortable establishment.

4. Iowa 80 Truckstop, Walcott, IA

Iowa 80 holds the title of the World’s Largest Truckstop, which is reason enough to stop there on a road trip. It more than doubles Florida 595’s parking total with over 900 parking spots and enough buildings to qualify as a small town. Here’s the condensed version of all the attractions Iowa 80 provides:

  • Mega convenience store
  • Gym
  • Laundry facility
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • Library
  • Barbershop
  • Movie theater
  • Pet grooming salon

No matter your interest, we can safely say that Iowa 80 has an open parking spot for your BMW. It sits almost exactly halfway between Chicago and Des Moines on Interstate 80. If you happen to drive by, you need to stop and see what the hype is about.

5. Russell’s Travel Center, Glenrio, NM

Russell’s Travel Center is a car enthusiast’s dream stop. Located off Interstate 40 and Route 66 near the Texas/New Mexico border, this attraction is a truck stop and free vintage car museum rolled into one. That’s right – you can take a break from the road AND see beautiful classic vehicles at no extra cost. You can also stop for a bite to eat at Russell’s diner, featuring Mexican, American and Cajun cuisine.

I40 and Route 66 themselves are influential attractions for Russell’s as well. You and your BMW will have a great time traversing the beautiful southwestern scenery and flying across the long flat highway stretches. When you get tired, stop at Russell’s for dinner and a tour of America’s finest vintage vehicles.

Explore With Your BMW

Your BMW is built to push the boundaries. Take that mentality to heart and explore one of these unique truck stops on your next road trip. You might find something strange and unexpected, but that’s what road trips are all about. Take your luxury vehicle on a long journey and start making lasting memories!

The Ultimate BMW Forum

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