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Anticipation Builds for Grid Icons: NA Heroes After Packed GarageWelt Studio Gathering
BY Mike Maravilla //
March 22, 2024
Photography: Mike Maravilla
Videography: Mike Maravilla
  • “NA Heroes” is the theme of Grid Icons chapter three and highlights the beloved era of naturally aspirated BMW M machinery.
  • Pit+Paddock and GarageWelt hosted a meet and pre-sale of its limited edition capsule at the GW Studio in Mission Hills, CA.
  • The Pit+Paddock x Bilstein E91 GTS Tribute Built by PSI was front and center for the event and allowed enthusiasts to get a closer look ahead of Saturday’s event.
  • Industry partnerships from Akrapovič, AST/MOTON, H&R, and ST Suspensions, along with several exhibiting vendors, add to the Grid Icons effort and will help elevate the experience for BMW enthusiast attendees.

As an agency, we’re often confronted with one pivotal question: does what we do speak, directly, and honestly to our audience? The accountability to answer that query with confidence has helped us create impactful experiences, stories, and builds that have resonated loudly within our industry. Creating our third Grid Icons chapter, NA Heroes, was no exception. This event, in many ways, felt like a natural extension of the Pit+Paddock x Bilstein E91 GTS Tribute Built by PSI project. Six months ago, we finished this ambitious wagon with a mission to fill a void that BMW left—an M3 wagon—while paying homage to one of the great factory specials. Thanks to official industry partners—Akrapovič, AST/MOTON, H&R, and ST Suspensions—we were able to widen that appreciation to the naturally aspirated M cars that brought so many of us into the industry in the first place.

Because of the effects these machines had on our own career paths, being earnest in our efforts was the easy part. It was finding all of the accompanying pieces that would allow us to communicate BMW M’s lasting impact that would challenge us. Our alignment with BMW CCA, fruitful relationship with BMW Motorsport, and securing an iconic Long Beach location were pivotal to that pursuit. But truly, the cherry on top of all this was the collaboration between us and GarageWelt.


That aforementioned accountability led us to pursue this collaboration—it’s almost impossible to talk about BMW’s glory years without thinking about GarageWelt—and Narek and Eric’s hospitality to host a pre-meet at its Mission Hills studio was the perfect way to kick the weekend off early.

It was my first time in the space and it was as carefully curated as you’d imagine. Somehow, an amassment of memorabilia doesn’t describe the effort accurately. Narek and Eric have seamlessly blended important historical context with their own aesthetic. There’s a beautiful harmony between collected goods and creative expression here that, right when you walk in, summons a nod that says: “yes, everything here is perfect.” GarageWelt’s adeptness was so good that our limited edition capsule collection felt like an organic part of the space. To me, that was a positive sign that we were speaking directly to this BMW niche.

The response confirmed those thoughts; GarageWelt’s parking lot was overrun with BMW enthusiasts—from the E36 M3 crowd to brand new F9X M8s—who were eager to grab the gear. That was also an important indicator. The cars we aim to celebrate—the NA Heroes—will likely never come back as we remember them. Our event is just as much about bridging the gap between old and new BMW fans as it is about highlighting a bygone era. If we don’t, we run the risk of losing appreciation for where we came from.


That sounds like a lofty weight to carry for a single event, but it’s important. So much of today’s automotive culture is about “what’s next”. That question is more triggering to me than hearing a clapped-out G35 revving at you at a light or Instagram handle stickers. Refreshingly, almost every conversation I had at the GW studio was that you have to like what you like without apology. Frankly, not every road needs to lead to a new Porsche GT car. This collection and this event is for the BMW heads.

The Pit+Paddock E91 GTS Tribute Built by PSI was a project predicated on that honesty, too. In equal measure to our capsule collection preview, the car was fawned over throughout the pre-meet. In contrast to most SEMA cars, the result wasn’t outlandishly loud, wide, or designed to “break the internet”. And I think that’s why it’s received such high praise. It’s a car that you want to drive or put in your garage as a rightfully useable and enjoyable tool.


The synchronous energy in the GarageWelt studio ultimately fed a desire to be a closer participant in Grid Icons: NA Heroes. The limited edition skate decks—the E92 GT LM and the NA Heroes special—and the t-shirt were all immensely well-received. Like the shirt alludes to, this event will be a lot like nothing else. As a budding agency with lofty ambitions, it was great to see so many people recognize that.


The stage is set and the official countdown begins. For spectators, our Eventbrite page has everything you need to know. For anyone interested in displaying their cars, please email to secure a last-minute spot. The juice is worth the squeeze; there are special one-of-one Pit+Paddock x GarageWelt trophy decks for the best of the best. Thank you to our official industry partners—Akrapovič, AST/MOTON, H&R, and ST Suspensions—for supporting this effort and we’ll see you in Long Beach rain or shine.


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