What is in the water in Scandinavia?
I don’t know what it is about the otherwise peaceful, calm and placid folk who reside there that turns them into utter lunatics when presented with an open racetrack. I have no idea what possesses them to build the fantastically absurd cars they do either. The Scandinavian modified car community really does embody the phrase ‘speak quietly, but carry a big stick’.
I will confess that I enjoy hearing people speak about Norway’s progression towards electric cars and their consideration for the environment, knowing full well that at a racetrack somewhere in the forests, there’s an old BMW with a big single turbo having the absolute life beat out of it.
Maybe this is the secret for the world achieving its climate goals? It would almost certainly be easier to get people onboard with electric vehicles if easily accessible outlets were provided for like-minded individuals to let loose. Although, I think most of us would still struggle to keep up with the Scandinavian interpretation of that phrase…
Welcome to Motorcenter Norway, a new race circuit (which is still under construction) based in the middle of absolutely nowhere near the country’s most southerly point.
A six-hour drive from Oslo, Motorcenter Norway is probably just far enough away from the capital that the local Green Party can’t hear the sound of rev limiter bashing and tyre squeal.
They might be able to see or at least smell the tyre smoke, however.
This is E30Meet, which took place earlier this year during marginally warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere. As you have probably already guessed, it does now feature more than just E30 BMWs.
It was just for the E30 when the first event was hosted in 2010, but it was subsequently opened up after a couple of years to all BMW owners. Today, the weekend event is hosted annually and features a static exhibition area, track driving, cruising and other social events.
As you’d expect of a Scandinavian event, the standard of cars present is pretty damn high, both on and off the track.
As you would also expect, full track drifting is not only permitted but actively encouraged.
This is the (Nor)way.
Despite numbers being limited in 2021 due to Covid restrictions, the 800 attendees still managed to bring along 300 BMWs for the occasion.
I’m not sure about you, but I would consider 300 BMWs to be a pretty significant amount of cars to have gathered in the midst of a global pandemic.
For those familiar with these sort of events from this part of the world, you will know that almost every superlative has already been used to describe them. They’re undoubtedly awesome, but to truly experience them you really need to be there in person. It’s just the way it is.
Despite the wonderful imagery presented, it’s the smells and sounds that make these events. Even in the static area, you’re going to be able to hear the track action with the feint smell of tyre smoke and race fuel wafting across the paddock.
I really can’t wait to make it back to Norway someday soon. Anyway, let’s get into at least some substance…
When he wasn’t curating the madness around him, event founder Trond Hylle took to the track in his ‘Polizei’-liveried E30.
Mailin Wiig‘s Ferrari Grigio Scuro-painted Pandem E46 with three-piece BBS RS2s was a contender for Car of the Show.
The actual honour, however, went to Daniel Valleraune‘s S54-powered E30 M3.
If you’re wondering why there’s damage to the front of the car, Daniel hit a moose on his way to the event. He still made it, but talk about Scandinavian problems.
A car you can expect to see more of in the New Year is Halfdan Vatn’s N54-swapped BMW E36 Compact. I’m not ordinarily a Compact fan, but I can’t wait to get into the details of this particular car.
A car which will almost certainly haunt my thoughts over the Christmas break is Pawel Bilas‘ BBS aero-kitted E30 on E50 wheels. The striping was custom-designed by Pawel, which is unsurprising considering his background in graphic design and visual art.
On track, Trygve Hyattum’s BMW 2002 appeared to be developing a serious smoking problem. Although, we probably should leave out the not-very-BMW powerplant. (It’s a 2JZ, because of course it is.)
Ludvik Helseth took top honours in the drift competition with his LQ4-powered E92 BMW.
Another car which has piqued our interest is Jarle Trømborg‘s S54-swapped and KW-equipped BMW Z3 Coupe.
I can’t be the only one with a fondness for BMW’s clown shoe, can I?
It’s at this point that I’m going to choose to bail out, but not before preparing a comprehensive gallery from the event courtesy of Norwegian photographer, John Magnus Hammervoll.
We’re truly grateful to John for helping us to shine a light on this awesome part of the car culture world, which we haven’t been able to get to in recent times. But don’t worry, we aim to put that right at the earliest possible opportunity.
In the interests of not giving you a repetitive strain injury, we do recommend viewing the rest of this gallery on a desktop computer, where it has been formatted to be a little bit more compact.
Which reminds me, I need to get started on another Compact right away…
Photos by John Magnus Hammervoll
(I wasn’t lying about the potential for an RSI, was I?)