RustyButTrusty Goes on the Road – Motherlode 400 Sunday

In the recently all too rare occurrence of taking one of the fleet on a road trip, the RustyButTrusty BMW 2002tii went out on a weekend excursion. The occasion this time was the Motherlode 400 Rally. This rally has been running for several years now over Father’s Day weekend, so if your father is a car guy, or a beautiful-scenery-flying-by-the-window kinda guy, this is the perfect way to spend it with him. Unfortunately we were only able to go for Sunday due to prior commitments, but Sunday is the preferred day if you want to test your car’s abilities at high altitude. And it is truly amazing how much a lack of oxygen will suck the power away from a naturally aspirated, 4-cylinder car. My (totally objective, seat-of-the-pants) impression was it affected the BMW even worse than the Alfa Spider a couple of years ago.

After an already beautiful day of driving through scenic backroads, you follow Highway 89 out to the 395 south, and drive down to the Sonora Pass road. Bring a full tank of gas, because there’s none until you get back over the hills, and even then it’s quite a distance. After climbing up miles and miles of tight, twisty road, hopefully not behind a Suburban, you get to this:

1972 BMW 2002tii at Sonora Pass 2

It’s such hard work getting up there, it was worthy of two pictures. So here’s another:

1972 BMW 2002tii at Sonora Pass 1

One last thought – if you feel your car is lacking in power, take it up to nearly 10,000 feet. Once you get back down, the improved breathing from having a normal level of oxygen will make it seem infinitely powerful, and your satisfaction with your car will be restored. It’s far cheaper than engine modifications, and possibly more fun too!

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2 Responses to “RustyButTrusty Goes on the Road – Motherlode 400 Sunday”

  1. Nicholas Byrne Says:

    Hey! I didn’t know you would be there–would have loved to meet you. Big fan of the site. I did both days in a Fiat 850 Spider, so I did Ebbetts Pass instead of Sonora (and, as a father, I was duty bound to get home to the East Bay Sunday night). The Motherlode was by far my favorite rally/event drive so far.

    Agree wholeheartedly on the altitude thing, though–my 903 ccs never felt so powerful on the long drive home!

    Any chance you are doing the Faultline in a couple of weeks?

    • Chris Keen Says:

      Oh cool – yeah, I remember your Fiat, nice car! Unfortunately I won’t be doing the Faultline – I’m feeling lucky I got two rallies in this season.

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