The History and Owners of the Hyde Park BMW 2002 #34

The History and Owners of the Hyde Park BMW 2002 #34

The saga begins with Jack Fredricks who owned a Toyota dealership in Los Angeles in the mid 1960’s. One day he was approached by a representative from BMW who asked if he would consider opening a BMW dealership on the property that he owned across the street. With the purchase of $5,000 worth of miscellaneous BMW car parts and a BMW for the showroom, Jack was now an official BMW dealership. The dealership was named Hyde Park Motors in 1966, after the neighborhood near Inglewood and Crenshaw where it was located. The dealership also became an Alpina distributor for the West Coast. Jack’s son, Carl Fredricks, started the Hyde Park racing team by campaigning a BMW 1600 in 1968. It grew to a 2-car team with Nels Miller piloting the #34 race car (1969 BMW 2002 VIN 1668269) and Carl racing the #33/#35 BMW 2002 in Trans-Am and SCCA amateur events through 1972.

(Hyde Park Motors advertisement with list of available performance parts)

(Jack Fredricks leaning on the rear of Carl’s race car #35)

(The orange/blue #34 in P5 at the Laguna Seca Trans-Am race in 1971)

(Nels Miller in the Hyde Park #34 in 4th place at RIR for the Trans-Am race in 1971)

From then on, Jeff Kline would drive the #34 car and Carl would campaign the #35 car. Jeff would race the #34 car in IMSA, and SCCA amateur events until 1976. By then Carl had retired from racing so Jeff drove the #35 car until end of the 1978 racing season. The livery would change over the years, but my favorite livery was the orange/blue Macmillan Oil livery with pig cheek Alpina flares and large chin spoiler. The livery would later change to white, red, and blue when the representative who sponsored the race team moved from Macmillan Oil left to join the Kendall Motor Oil Company.

(Hyde Park BMW race team’s hauler at Riverside International Raceway in 1974)

(Must have been another #34 so they changed to #84)

(Jeff Kline in 2nd place at Willow Springs in January 1975 in #34)

In 1975 Rug Cunningham had just opened the doors to his BMW dealership in San Diego. After opening the dealership, Rug wanted to start racing in a BMW 2002, so he paid a visit to Hyde Park Motors and bought the #34 race car from Carl. Rug raced it competitively in SCCA regional events and IMSA races until the later 1970’s when he sold the car to Mickey Pleasant of Oceanside Motors.

(Photographer Jay J. Hector: IMSA Camel GT/GTU, Ontario Motor Speedway, May 1976 with Rug Cunningham at the wheel)

After purchasing the car, Mickey entered 8 races from February 1978 – January of 1979 until he acquired the #35 car from Hyde Park Motors along with the two-car transporter for $9,500. Mickey told me Carl wanted $10,000 for the race car and transporter but accepted Mickey's counteroffer of $9,500 in cash. Mickey was a little nervous driving to the Hyde Park dealership with that much cash in his briefcase. He immediately sold the transporter to a scrap yard and began prepping the #35 car for the upcoming race season.

(Mickey Pleasant at Riverside International Raceway in 1978)

Not needing two BMW race cars (I should take note), Mickey sold the ex-Hyde Park #34 race car to Fred Clad of Bakersfield. Fred owned a BMW dealership in Bakersfield and wanted a race car that would represent the brand. Fred, like Mickey, changed the livery and number and raced it in 17 races from May of 1979 through May of 1982.

(Fred Clad changed the livery and car number to #42)

(If you were at Riverside International Raceway on October 26th, 1980, you would have seen both the ex-#34 and #35 being raced by Mickey and Fred. Fred finished 4th just one car ahead of Mickey)

Fred parked the race car at his dealership after an electrical fire in the engine bay sidelined his racing. By then, Rug was getting back into racing but this time for fun in various vintage organizations. In an interview by Yale Rachlin of Roundel Magazine on Nov 1990, Rug recants how “he couldn’t race his Lotus 23B anymore because it had become too valuable, so he decided to track down his old Hyde Park #34 car.” The first person Rug called was Mickey Pleasant. Mickey was more than happy to refer Rug to Fred Clad and was pleasantly (no pun intended) surprised that Rug would offer him $500 as a finder’s fee. Mickey told me he will never forget receiving a business check in the mail from Cunningham BMW in the amount of $500. It was so official. With the assistance of Jeff Gerken who was now working at Cunningham BMW, #34 was back in Rug’s hands and about to go through an extensive restoration. Coincidentally, Carl Fredricks would later join Cunningham BMW as President and helped with the maintenance of his old race car.

Rug would campaign the #34 alongside the tribute #35 car that he built so that Jeff Gerken could join the fun. According to Jeff Kline, Rug arranged for he and Carl to race the #34 and tribute #35 at more than 15 vintage racing events. That must have been fun for the two former Hyde Park drivers and all the lucky spectators.

When Rug passed away in 2007, Jeff Gerken inherited the two racecars and would race them until trading both BMW 2002’s to Steve Walker in 2014. Steve sold the tribute #35 to Boris Said who has it parked on the show room floor of his incredible BMW dealership in Murrietta CA. Back to Steve and his collection of BWM racecars - He raced the Hyde Park BMW 2002 at the Rolex Historic Races when BMW was the marque and kept the #34 until 2021. #34 was recently featured in the book written by Jackie Jouret, The ICON: 50 years of the BMW 2002. The #34 car was also on display at the BMW museum in South Carolina alongside other famous BMW 2002 race cars.

The Hyde Park #34 is now owned by Rial & Maureen Barnett. It will go through an extensive restoration and be finished in the original orange and blue livery that it famously wore during its time as a Trans Am race car.

I would be remiss if I did not give a special thanks to all the gentlemen who helped fill in the gaps. Without them, this historical summary would not have been possible. They freely gave of their time, shared photographs, and personal stories of their moments with the car. I always knew #34 was a special car, but it takes a back seat to all the incredible people who were its caretaker before me. Below are the individuals who I interviewed with or fielded questions to as I documented the history of the Hyde Park BMW #34.

  • Jeff Kline - Race Driver for Hyde Park Racing 1972-1978 (in-person, telephone, and email interviews)
  • Joel Martin - Crew Chief for Hyde Park Racing (telephone/email interview)
  • Bill Holmes - Rug Cunningham’s race mechanic 1977 & 1978 (telephone interview)
  • Carl Fredricks - Owner 1970-1975 (multiple telephone conversations)
  • Rug Cunningham - Owner 1975 – 1978 and again from 1984-2007
    (Although Rug passed in 2007, I felt his spirit assisted me during the process)
  • Mickey Pleasant - Owner 1978-1979 (telephone/email and in-person interviews)
  • Fred Clad - Owner 1979-1983 (telephone/email interview)
  • Jeff Gerken - Owner 2007-2014 (telephone/email and in-person interviews)
  • Steve Walker - Owner 2014 – 2021 (telephone/email and in-person interviews)