Baja by Way of Bavaria

All German Motorsports’ M5-Powered Jimco

While the Hatfeilds and McCoys feud over their Fords and Chevys, All German Motorsports pledge allegiance to an engine that’s more Hapsburg than Hatfield. The team runs a BMW V8 in a Class 1 Unlimited Jimco buggy, and anyone who’s heard it in action can attest that it makes the AGM car of the few Class 1 cars that sound like a true racecar. The same free thought that prompted BMW power also led to some of the more innovative features in the class to date.

Martin Christensen studied BMW at the factory and wrenched on Bayern’s finest in his native Denmark before founding Escondido’s All German Auto, a sales/service/tuning shop, in 1991. By 1998 AGM (All German Auto’s motorsports division) built a Jimco around a de-stroked BMW 318 and the combination-netted Christensen and AGM the 2002 and 2003 class championships.

Even though the following year looked promising (AGM won the 1000 and Primm), “I felt like we’d been there and done that,” Christensen said. To relieve his boredom, he built a Class 1 Unlimited Jimco around an M5 engine. The engine’s 5-liter displacement gives its 7-plus-liter competition a size advantage, but the Bimmer has a secret weapon; four variable-timing overhead camshafts. With the engine’s controller, “we can vary the (cams’) lobe separation and advance so the engine makes the most power in each range,” Christensen noted. “We don’t make the brute power of, say, a 7.4-liter, but we get good fuel economy and good transaxle and drivetrain life.” As a bonus, the all-alloy mill lopped substantial weight from the car.

The Jimco’s mid-engine configuration reduces the car’s polar inertia and lets AGM mount spares low, which in turn lowers the car’s center of gravity. The spare location also improves its access which, when combined with the on-board hydraulic jacking system Meziere Enterprises developed for the car, reduces on-course tire changes from five minutes to about a minute. Furthermore, the AGM car is one of the first to run Bilstein’s Blackhawk dampers, and Soltek used it to develop its cockpit-adjustable overhead light bar.

Right out of the gate, AGM’s ideas bore fruit; the buggy placed consistently well at every venue except at last year’s mil. Not even a mid-course clutch replacement eliminated Christensen at this year’s Tecate SCORE Baja 500.

All German Motorsport’s low-weight and nimble-handling philosophy has merit and winning potential. Should courses grow more technical over time, and by all accounts they will, its distinguishing characteristics could make it one of the turning points in the desert racing timeline. For the time being, however, we’re just content to hear it wail that magical note.


Meziere Enterprises developed a hydraulic jacking system to lift the car at each corner for tire changes. The low-mounted spares and the Snap-On electric impact wrench transformed a two-person, five-minute job to a one-person, one-minute job. Since the controls mount between the seats, the driver never needs to unbuckle.


Baja Designs/Soltek designed on the AGM buggy the adjustable lighting system it currently offers. Two electric linear actuators erect or retract the light bank via a cockpit-mounted switch. The driver or navigator can also aim the lights to match course conditions or to prevent blinding other drivers while passing.


According to Christensen, the AGM buggy was the first Class 1 Unlimited car to run Bilstein’s Blackhawk dampers. He said that during side-by-side comparisons, the alloy-bodied dampers remained 70 degrees cooler than their steel-bodied counterparts. Between the control arms is a Fortin five-speed transaxle; flanking the arms are Fortin’s hubs.


All German Motorsports uses the BMW M5 engine in its stock form, right down to cam profiles and compression ratio. In true race fashion, the factory induction system is a network of eight tuned runners, each with its own butterfly. Aside from fuel and ignition mapping, the MoTec ECU controls the fly-by-wire throttle and all four camshafts’position.


Dave Mason started racing with AGM at the 2002 Baja 1000 and has since run every race. For the 2005 Baja 1000, though, road-racing/NASCAR pilot Boris Said shared the cockpit. While a broken axle sidelined the car, Said committed to AGM to run this year’s 1000.


Bob Butler designed what’s commonly known as tri-Y headers. The system is neither common nor officially tri-Y, however, since the header tubes from each engine bank’s third collector merge in a fourth collector to form on common tube which feeds the muffler. If the idea’s tough to grasp, imagine trying to build it!


The panel just above the Burns Stainless muffler hinges down to reveal the tool box Christensen designed specifically for the application. Larry Storch built Christensen’s design in aluminum and it houses a specific group of Snap-On tools, each with its own boss or bracket to prevent losses.


Prowire’s Joey Davitian wired the car, but Palomar Communications designed the communications system- a Kenwood UHF/VHF and Racer X intercom- from microphone to antenna. The PRP Seats feature storage pockets and drinking water bags. An LED numeric display left of the tachometer expresses the position of the Fortin transaxle’s sequential shifter just below it.


A MoTeC Mini Dash adjacent to the Lowrance GlobalMap 7000 displays the same real-time ECU functions as the tuning laptop. It expresses those figures in 40 selectable menus for diagnostic purposes, and if a problem arises, it serves as a means to toggle the ECU to a default mode.
Engine: BMW M5 V8
Builder: All German Auto
Horsepower: 482
Torque: 413 lb/ft
Induction: MoTeC M800 ECU with injection, cam timing and drive-by-wire control
Transmission: Fortin sequential-shift five speed
Axles: 35-spine, 300M steel Kartek
Front: Tubular unequal-length control arms, Jimco billet aluminum spindles, Fortin power rack-and-pinion steering, CNC hubs, 23.5 inches travel
Rear: Jimco boxed-plate trailing arms, Fortin mid-board hubs 934 constant-velocity joints, 23 inches travel
Shocks: Bilstein Blackhawk aluminum-body bypass, steel coil carriers, Eibach springs
Wheels: BTR Racing Wheels, 15x6 cast aluminum
Tires: 35x12.5R-15 BF Goodrich Baja Project T/A
Brakes: CNC (front) and Fortin (rear) 12-inch .810 vented rotors, CNC four-piston calipers, rear Fortin hubs
Steering: Fortin rack-and-pinion steering with ram assist
Chassis: Jimco Race Cars
Interior: Lowrance GlobalMap 7000, custom PRP suspension seats with integral storage and water bags, split fuel cells behind and below occupants, on-board jacking system by All German Motorsports and Meziere Enterprises, tool box by Larry Storch, Soltek in-cabin adjustable light bar
Dimensions: Wheelbase: 123 inches
        Overall length: 174 inches
        Track Width: 93 inches
        Overall Height: 64 inches
        Weight: 3,280 lbs