The technicians at BMW would appreciate John Drake's garage. With its clinical white walls and designer spotlighting, this shrine to Munich is fastidiously organised and immaculately presented. Elegant posters featuring BMW's stylish graphics and favourite images from the company's spectacular calendars fill the spaces between shelves packed with boxes and ring binders full of memorabilia, from Alpina wine lists to rare Frazer Nash BMW sales brochures. Even the stereo plays classic BMW engine sounds. "It's a l989 tape produced by the museum and features all types from Dixi to racing M3. "The Brabham BT50 sounds fantastic," says Drake.
"I wanted a BMW since I was a boy. The first time I saw a 2002 in Lymington High Street it was love at first sight " he adds. "Previously I'd been into Minis [he has owned seven] which was useful as I worked at a British Leyland garage. Then a friend bought a Ti and that did it. My first was a 2002 Lux in 1979 and it's still the best car I've ever owned."
Since then John has been very involved with the BMW Car Club: "The European rallies were the best part of the club and we've been on some fantastic trips to Alpina, Schnitzer and the factory museum. The most memorable was to the Netherlands in 1991 where we were escorted by police motorcyclists throughout the event - on BMW's of course."
Various trophies indicate John's concours success with a mint 316. From the day he bought his first BMW, his collecting hobby focused on anything related to the Bayerische Motoren Werke. Among his impressive book collection are the latest publications from BMW Mobile Tradition. "The factory has produced some fantastic books. Rainer Simon's work on the 328 is very special and I've just acquired a magnificent two-volume edition on BMW engines by DR Karl-heinz Lange. Thankfully BMW always produces English editions."
Treasured miniatures in his extensive collection are pre-war Dinkys and a prized pair of limited edition anniversary 328s produced by the factory. "The streamlined 328 Mille Miglia is particularly rare; I found mine through a German dealer. They now fetch up to £400. With such a wealth of exacting Chinese-made BMW releases from Minichamps, Schuco, and BMW Mobile Tradition, my tastes have turned to older models which have more character. Marklins lack interior detail but the '5Os toy 501 'Baroque Angel' and 507 coupe have great charm. Another favourite is the 'Glas 1600GT'.
John found his model collection was soon getting out of control, despite restricting it only to BMWs, and he has recently trimmed it to just 1:43 and I:87 scales: "I'm trying to get the full set of Minichamps M3 race cars. So far I've got 35 of the 52-model collection and my set of McLaren Fls (total 30) is now complete.
Three years ago John decided to start trading in BMW models and launched this website featuring his stock: "It was the natural direction to go from collecting. I love tracking down rare models for other collectors. We get calls from all over the world and many have become good friends. That's the best part of this hobby."