SALEM-Surveying the scene at the annual Steel Valley Super Nationals, one could plainly see that the majority of the cars entered were American-made.
But Ben Weaver of Minerva ensured that the event contained at least a dash of European flavor.
Weaver showed up at Quaker City Motorsports Park on Saturday with his 1987 BMW 325-IS, eager to race at the Super Nationals for the very first time.
"The first time I ran this morning my hands were shaking the whole time," said Weaver as he awaited his third trip down the drag strip. "My first two runs were above 14 seconds, hopefully on my last one I can get it down under 13 which is where I thought I would be."
Weaver bought the car-without an engine-from a front yard in Sharon, Pa., after seeing an ad on the internet. After the purchase he bought an engine that belonged to a '95 model of the same car, requiring him to also do some rewiring work. After a year of tinkering, the car was ready to go.
"I like the boost that the '95 engine provides," Weaver said. "That's one of the main reasons I went with it."
Due to the high volume of entries, Weaver's car had plenty of time to sit in the starting area between runs. Throughout the afternoon, several people passed by and admired how unusual the car looked compared to the others. "I'd love to meet who owns this," remarked one passer-by. "It's awesome to see this type of car here."
"It's just different from what a lot of other people bring here that's for sure," Weaver said. "You don't always see this style of car. That's probably why some people like it."
Weaver has had a long attachment to European cars. He's owned three previous BMWs and also a few Volkswagen.
"I definitely like the Euro stuff a lot," Weaver said. "I like the smaller build and I also like the rear-wheel drive that my BMW has."
As Weaver was waiting for his final run of the day, he said that he enjoyed the experience enough to keep racing. He expressed interest in participating in Street Night Thursdays, a new event that will debut this week at Quaker City and run through the end of August.
"It was a great experience out there today for the first time, I'll definitely be back this summer," Weaver said. "Hopefully I can have fun with it and keep improving my times."