Peter Gleeson BMW Collection Tour

August 17, 2022/Jonathan Rundle/0 Comments

Somewhere hidden away in a nondescript warehouse in Western Washington lies the Peter Gleeson BMW Collection. Today, thanks to membership in the local BMW Car Club of America chapter, me and a few other BMW fans are getting a guided tour by the collector himself.

Peter Gleeson is recognized as one of the top BMW collectors in the country and he’s taking the time to show off his collection to our small group. This is Peter, and here he is welcoming us to his collection.

Peter Gleeson

In a place you’d never guess lies an amazing collection of cars, memorabilia, toys, and even a dang boat. Let’s start there.

BMW 507 Wooden Speedboat

The BMW Abbate V8 runabout was a collaboration between BMW and the Italian speedboat champion and boat builder Giulio Abbate.

BMW Boat

Built by Abbate of Lake Como, Italy, the craft is constructed of mahogany. The BMW 507-series engine produces 150hp. Instrumentation is housed in two large BMW 507-style roundels.

BMW BoatBMW Boat

Art Cars

Mr. Gleeson is an art lover as well as a car lover. Quite a few cars in the collection combine those interests.

Lee Quiñones Art Car

The oddest car in the collection, in my humble opinion, is this Art Car by Lee Quiñones. It’s a Ford Flex, which is a totally unremarkable vehicle to begin with. The graffiti style of Quiñones was hot in the 80’s on subway cars but smacks of corporate sell-out status when on a 2010’s Ford.

Ford Edge art car by Lee Quinones

Dexter Brown Art Car

This 1975 BMW 3.3Li was painted by Dexter Brown, widely regarded as the leading automobile artist working today.

Dexter Brown BMW Art Car

The original owner was also responsible for the 1993 Autostory Motoring Art Salon in Genoa, Italy and it was here that Dexter Brown was commissioned by him to paint this car as part of the exhibition over the duration of the Salon.

Dexter Brown BMW Art Car

During the show, Dexter flattened the original Polaris silver coachwork down to provide a key, and then applied numerous treatments of acrylic paint and sealer over several days to gain the desired effect. The creation of this unique work of art attracted a huge amount of attention.

Frank Stella M1 Art Car

The pièce de résistance of the Gleeson Collection is this Frank Stella M1 art car. Commissioned in 1979, the Frank Stella BMW M1 Procar was painted to Stella’s “Polar Coordinates” design for close friend, racecar driver and champion, Peter Gregg. This was the only time a BMW-commissioned artist created a car for anyone other than the manufacturer itself.

Frank Stella BMW M1 Art CarFrank Stella BMW M1 Art CarFrank Stella BMW M1 Art CarFrank Stella BMW M1 Art Car

The Frank Stella Art Car sits side by side with a stock M1 (rare enough on its own).

Frank Stella BMW M1 Art Car and Standard M1

Mr. Gleeson holds court in front of his M1s.

Peter Gleeson chatBMW M1 Peter Gleeson

BMW E9 3.0 CSLs

Even if the Frank Stella M1 is the rarest car in the collection, there are still amazing automobiles yet to discover. These three BMW E9s are also super rare.

Three BMW 3.0 CSLs

These are three of the 1,265 homologation specials built between 1971 and 1975. A homologation special means it was built to make the car eligible for racing – in this case for the European Touring Car Championship.


The “L” in CSL meant leicht (light), unlike in other BMW designations, where it meant lang (long). The lightness was achieved by using thinner steel to build the unit body, deleting the trim and soundproofing, using aluminum alloy doors, hood, and trunk, and using Perspex side windows.


Due to the weight savings, these cars became the darlings of race teams. However, many were destroyed while racing which makes these cars even rarer than their production numbers.

1972 BMW E9 3.0 CSL Rally

This is BMW Motorsport’s only CSL rally car. This car was forgotten about in a garage for 20 years until Mr. Gleeson bought it, and shipped it back to England for a full restoration.

1972 BMW E9 3.0 CSL Rally1972 BMW E9 3.0 CSL Rally

1971 BMW 3.0 CSL

One of the first 169 Carb CSLs, which were the lightest CSLs ever made. This car has raced in many liveries, the one it wears today is known as the “cow car.” 1975 was its best racing season which is why it was restored to that year’s livery.

Gleeson CollectionPeter Gleeson BMWsBMW Rally Alpina

BMW 3.0 CSL “Batmobile”

What’s this car next door? Clearly Mr. Gleeson loves his CSLs.

Peter Gleeson BMWs

This CSL earns the “Batmobile” moniker because of the full aero package (front spolier, rear wing). This car is 1 of 57 produced.

BMW BatmobileBMW Batmobile Wing

BMW Team Petronas Z4M Racer

Another impressive racing car with a history, this one is the winningest Z4M coupe ever. This car ran in Japan’s Super Taikyu Endurance Series.

BMW Z4M Petronas race carPetronas Race Car Interior

Even the matching Puma racing shoes are on display.

BMW Z4M Petronas race car with custom Puma shoe

The Rest of the Collection

There is so much cool stuff, and this blog post is already too long. Here are a final few scenes from the rest of the collection.

Peter Gleeson Mach 1Plymouth SuperbirdAston Martin DB7

What car collector doesn’t also have die cast versions of all of their favorite cars?

BMW toysBMW Toys

How to Tour the Peter Gleeson BMW Collection

Peter Gleeson Collection

Mr. Gleeson’s cars are often loaned to different museums and events, you might see his cars at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma, WA or at Amelia Island Concours. If you want to tour this collection, consider joining the BMW Car Club of America or Avants, both clubs have been invited to tour the collection.

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