This is a great story and it shows how close can BMW work with customers in making their dreams come true. Mark Carson over at M5board shares with us the story behind one of the most customized BMW M6 ever produced. Take the time to read it, we promise you’ll enjoy it and might even find it inspiring.
“Finally, the wait is just about over – the production code is now 155 – Production Complete. After being a member of the M5/M6Board for almost 5 years, my M6 is becoming a reality.
2010 BMW M6 Coupe (U.S. Spec)
European Delivery (at the BMW Welt on 13 October, 2009)
Normal U.S. Options:
Comfort Access keyless entry
Soft-close automatic doors
Automatic high beams
iPod and USB adapter
Enhanced Premium Sound
(no satellite radio or heated steering wheel as I live in Hawaii where it’s warm and there is no satellite radio coverage)
Ontario Gold exterior (a special request paint)
Full Merino Leather with contrasting stitching (dash, seats, etc.)
Bi-Color leather interior (Champagne and Gold Brown)
Champagne alcantara headliner
Champagne velour floor mats (leather trimmed)
Hawaiian Koa wood interior trim (I supplied the veneers to BMW)
This “project” started in July 2005 when I visited BMW M / Individual at Garching unannounced during the European Delivery trip of my 2005 645Ci. At that time there was no Individual program in the U.S. (which they politely explained – and I already knew). I did leave a small sample of Hawaiian Koa wood veneer with them (with my name laser engraved on the back of the wood). I expected the wood to find its way to the trash can in short order.
The next year, on 27 July 2006, I posted mock-ups of a bi-color leather interior (and koa wood trim) on the M6Board. The mock-up picture was made by compositing 2 images from the BMW Individual visualizer (champagne and oxide brown leathers) plus a few other changes.
During a business trip to Berlin in September 2008, I decided to take an extra day and drive to Munich where I had made a prior appointment with the regional manager of BMW M / Individual for North and South America. He and three others were very gracious hosts and showed me paint and leather samples at the M Studio in Garching. I had already emailed my mock-ups to them so they knew what I had in mind before I showed up.
Some of the things I “photoshopped” into my mock-ups were not feasible (or should I say cost effective – most anything can be done for a price). I left with a clear idea of the leather colors to be used but I was completely undecided on the exterior paint. I had too many favorites (Moonstone, Azurite Black, Brilliant White, Diopside Black, etc.) and the dilemma was what would go well with the interior leather. At that time I was exploring a Gold Brown leather dash (which proved to be too expensive as it would have required R&D of a new dash material/color) so the interior/exterior match was a concern at that time.
I was totally surprised during my meeting with BMW when they pulled out the piece of unfinished koa veneer I had left 3 years before. The found it interesting and kept it. After I phoned and emailed them to arrange an appointment, they put 2 and 2 together and pulled the wood out and had it ready to show me with their other materials when I arrived.
After I left, they went to work on the feasibility of what I was looking for. I purchased some raw koa wood veneer when I got back home to Hawaii which I sent to them in October for testing. Just before Christmas 2008, they sent 3 samples of my koa wood back to me to review. Two pieces were flat samples about a half a square foot each mounted on aluminum boards. The third sample was a fully formed trim piece mounted on its aluminum backing (the trim piece that goes below the driver’s arm rest).
Meanwhile they suggested “Ontario Gold Metallic” paint to me. I had not seen that color when I was at Garching, but they sent me a couple of photos of a customer’s Individual 650 that was being produced. I knew I had found the color for my M6. BTW – this color is now more generally available (according to the BMW.com worldwide website) on 6 and 7 series Individuals cars. And no, it does not look like the color shown in the visualizer on bmw.com.
By January 2009 the PowerPoint proposals started to arrive. After a few refinements and revisions, the bad news came in April 2009. I got the price for everything, including the proposed Gold Brown leather dash. It was way over what a working stiff like me can afford, so I considered forgetting the whole thing. After a couple of days, I started working on “Plan B” which was a scaled back set of Individual options that made more sense for me. Once again, my primary contact at BMW M / Individual, who I had been working with these many months, was completely supportive and worked with me to price a more reasonable (for me anyway) set of options which is what I’ve ordered (and is listed above).
In May, I sent more Hawaiian Koa wood veneer to them to be used for the actual production. In July, I pre-qualified for financing and put down a modest (but non-refundable) deposit with BMW of Honolulu. I had been working closely with BMW in Garching but I had kept my local dealership informed as things progressed. They got more involved around April when the retail pricing had made its way through BMW NA and the BMW regional sales office and down to them.
Normally, you would just work with your dealership in the U.S. who will work with their regional sales manager who then works with BMW NA who then works with BMW M / Individual. Since this is the first Individual for my dealership and because it’s more extreme that the standard “Composition” packages offered by the Individual program, the only way to make it happen was for me to get involved as I did. While I’ve enjoyed working with the folks at BMW Individual, I recommend the “normal” procedures for U.S. customers now that the Individual program is gaining traction in America.
I will only have a week for this European Delivery in October (my third ED) as I’m working around my daughter’s school schedule so she can accompany me.
“The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long” — said to Roy the Nexus 6 android in Blade Runner. (Meaning this will be a quick but fun trip.)
Then I have to wait for 9 to 10 weeks for the M6 to arrive in Hawaii. If I’m lucky, I will get it in time to be a Christmas present to myself. And no, it won’t even be broken in by then as I’m only able to put about 600 miles on the car in Germany and France.
I forgot to mention. BMW told me that they decided that Ontario Gold was just too hard/tricky (whatever) to produce. So they canceled the color. You can’t get it anymore.
They made only four 7 series cars with it (I assume new F-01/F-02 cars). I had assumed that the 650 in the photo they sent to me for color approval in Dec 2008 was a customer car. It was not. It was the test car. They have to paint the color on a real care before they can sell the color in series production. I don’t know what happened to that car. Maybe it has been repainted, your guess is as good as mine. But from what BMW told me, it is not on the streets. It was not sold, etc.
Now here is the funny (almost tragic) part. BMW canceled the color before my car went to production (but after my BMW contact had “sold” the color to me). So she had to cry foul and make sure they did my M6 on Ontario Gold.
So, I have only 1 of 5 Ontario Gold production BMWs that will ever be sold. And the only 6 series (so of course the only M6). I had not expected that the exterior would be as one of a kind as the interior. Bonus!
BMW TV filmed the delivery and interviewed me. They shot film the day before the delivery at the M Studio as a back story (which was meant to recreate my meeting 13 months ago). I had the foresight to wear the same shirt from last year just in case they did this – and they did (ha ha ha).
Since they want to film the redelivery, they won’t be done with the video until at least sometime in Jan 2010. Just ignore me and appreciate the car when it comes out.
BMW handed me a never before made piano black box (with carbon fiber on the top with a silver M logo) which had the 2 sets of keys in it. The box has has my name engraved in it. The key fobs have carbon fiber insets with the M logo on the front and “BMW Individual M6″ and my name engraved on the backs. They have really taken care of me!”
Thanks for the amazing photos Mark!