came to a close following an unrelated brain
injury – “I had to learn how to drive again, and
how to cook,” she notes – and soon thereafter
they hung up their road racing gloves.
I’ve undoubtedly missed many details of
their SCCA careers, but it hardly matters. You
see, this isn’t a story about their motorsport
accomplishments. Instead, I want to tell you
something very special about the Tunnells.
“My life started when I met Patty,” Bob
says as the couple chats with me from their
Bimmer Haus shop, located just outside
of Denver, Colo. “I was 16-years old – I’ve
been with her 51 years now. I barely
remember life before we met. That’s kind
of the starting point for me. That was
back in the day after Christmas 1968. We
ended up riding the bus together with our
high school group from our church from
Portland to Santa Barbara, Calif., to attend
a convention, a Grace Gospel Fellowship
Convention associated with our church.”
“There’s the beginning of the
love story,” Patty laughs.
“Yeah, that’s the beginning of the fairytale,”
Bob agrees, adding, “but when we’re talking
to other people and being really honest about
things, it hasn’t actually been a fairytale.
I just want people to know that when you’re
together 51 years, when you start out when
you’re 15 and 16 and you make it into
your 50s, a lot of changes take place.”
It was at this point in the conversation
that I knew this was not a story about
their autocrossing accomplishments.
And their story kept getting better.
“We worked together,” Bob continues.
“I was at Warren Miller Films – we were
both at Warren Miller Films for a number
of years. I think we viewed it as the job
of a lifetime when it was going on. I got
hired by Warren Miller’s son, Kurt, and his
business partner. They were looking to
buy the company from Warren himself.
They were both outstanding sales and
marketing guys, and they needed a good
administrator to help run the company so
they could be out selling everything.”
FOR THE RECORD
(TOP TO BOTTOM) The Tunnell’s have
won multiple Solo Nationals titles in
their 1995 BMW M3, most recently
claiming championships in XP and EML
in their now LS-powered BMW. That
BMW started its Solo championship
journey in A Stock in 1996. Patty’s first
Solo Nats title came in 1990. In 1992,
Bob collected his fist Solo championship.
“ We were both at
Warren Miller Films for
a number of years.
I think we viewed it as
the job of a lifetime”