Above: Official Payson Enterprises Poster circa 1988; Original Display Placard; Art Car and #28 at VIR
July 2-4, 2010
Virginia International Raceway
Participants in the Tarheel Chapter BMW CCA's annual track event at VIR were treated to something other than just a break in the heat. It was reunion time for some special M3's. Or perhaps more accurately, some special E30's.
When Korman Autoworks was campaigning the E30 M3's in IMSA GS, Payson Enterprises commissioned Gary Buch to create an M3 art car as a promotion for his firm and the art galleries he worked with (see placard above). The original race car was damaged in testing at Savannah after only one successful season on the track, and when it was repaired it was returned to the standard livery colors (white with Motorsport stripes, like the sister car). Race cars frequently need paint and body work, and it would be too cumbersome to recreate the artwork after every race. The twist in the story? The car shown above was also painted in 1988, the paint is original, and this was likely the car's first time on the track.
Even an M3 can't be in two places at the same time, so Payson had Korman prepare a replica to display at the galleries. To keep costs down, a suitable E30 chassis was located, but it wasn't an M3, it was a 325e. The chassis was completely transformed to look exactly like an M3 from the outside, right down to the b-piller/roof extension and deck lid. Running gear, suspension and brakes all stayed stock. As seen above, the car shows less than 8000 miles, and still has an original set of Firestone Firehawk radials from when it was constructed.
Fast forward 20+ years, and the car needs a new home where it can be enjoyed by everyone. Fortunately a place for wayward BMW's now exists, the BMW CCA Foundation. Started in 2002, part of the Foundation's job is to preserve such cars for future generations. Mr. Payson generously donated this unique work of art to the Foundation this year.
Scott Hughes recently picked up the Art Car, and since he was running a BMW CCA Club Race School at VIR he brought the car as well as the original Firehawk #28 with him. With Ray Korman in attendance, it was a unique opportunity to get some shots of both cars with one of the original drivers behind the wheel.
September 1991 Sports Car Illustrated Article (Art Car/Street Car comparison at Watkins Glen)
© Korman Autoworks, Inc. 2629 Randleman Rd. Greensboro, NC USA 27406