Home » Meet The Amazing Lady Who Built Up The Ultimate BMW Clownshoe Collection

Meet The Amazing Lady Who Built Up The Ultimate BMW Clownshoe Collection

Insane Clownshoe Posse
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As car enthusiasts, we tend to have a lot of love for a lot of cars. And yet, at the same time, we’re often drawn to a single manufacturer, or even a single model, above all others. This might inspire us to buy a nice example of our chosen idol, and maybe a parts car or two if we’re so lucky. Valeria Giordano is no average car enthusiast, though.

The apple of Valeria’s eye is the BMW Z3 Coupe. You might know it better as the Clownshoe, as it’s known to its small but diehard fanbase. She didn’t just buy one, or two, though. She’s amassed a collection of eight examples in all the colors of the Clownshoe rainbow. Speaking to The Autopian, it’s obvious Valeria has a deep and abiding love for the model. Beyond that, though, she makes it her business to share her cars with the community, going above and beyond to let others experience these grand vehicles.

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Valeria’s love of cars started at a young age, and she dived head-first into the auto world. “Auto shop in high school had only one girl, me.” she says. “It was the ’70s, so it was very unusual. I had to be twice as good as the guys to measure up.” Citing her love of tinkering and taking things apart, she pursued a career as an Electrical and Mechanical Field Service Technician prior to having children.

Her career saw her working with the Navy and Coast Guard as a civilian contractor, as well as working in Boston’s commercial fishing industry. Once she started a family of her own, she quickly passed the enthusiast bug on to her kids. Regular trips to local weekend car shows quickly had them identifying all the cars present. ” Twice a year we went to the Exotics Show or the International Auto Show,” says Valeria. “When they started school I would have them excused for the day for a ‘family crisis’ and we would go to the show.”

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It’s a rad T-shirt, no?

It was 1999 when Valeria first came across the Clownshoe, and it was love at first sight. “Oh my word! I became obsessed,” she explains. ” I had never seen a more beautiful car in my life, it reminded me of the Jaguar in the movie Harold and Maude, which is still my favorite movie.” It’s an easy resemblance to see, given the long-hood shooting brake design shared between the two.

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After a move to New Hampshire and just under a decade later, a chance occurrence would see Valeria get her shot at buying her dream car. A police car ran a stop sign, totaling her Subaru. “He wasn’t on an emergency, just negligent. The chief of police was right behind him and saw the whole thing!” she says. With a settlement check in hand, she was in the market for a new car. It was time to hunt down a Z3 Coupe after all this time.

Retelling the story, Valeria’s enthusiasm is infectious. She explains how in 2008, she came to buy her first example at age 52. “I looked on Craigslist and I found two for sale in New England! One was in Boston and the other was in Holderness, NH. The town I live in!!! What are the chances of that??? It was meant to be!!” says Valeria, using the right amount of punctuation to explain her joy. In the process, she struck up a friendship with Pat, a service manager at a local indy shop. “He was very helpful guiding me at the start, I learned so much,” says Valeria.

Driving her first Clownshoe around, she began to realize she actually owned something special. “When I started getting notes left on my windshield and people asking to take pictures or coming to my door to ask about it, I did some research and saw that I really had a rare gem on my hands,” she says. Within a year, she’d bought herself two more.

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Valeria pictured with one of her flock.

Having come into some money via a home sale, Valeria would regularly spend time on M Coupe Buyers Guide and Z3 Coupe Buyers Guide to see what was on the market. She bought a few more, and her collection swelled. Sadly, a few years ago, her husband passed away, and she would later end up selling some of the cars. “I wasn’t thinking straight, and regretted it immediately,” she laments.

Wanting to build her collection back up, she set out to buy more Clownshoes whenever she had the cash available. Today, her collection stands at eight. “They are all different colors, no point in having two the same,” she says. In turn, she developed a logo for her collection. She refers to it as the “Insane Clownshoe Posse” because Valeria is really cool.

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You gotta dig it.

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Plenty of people maintain single-make or single-car collections, and keep them highly polished behind locked garage doors. Valeria is altogether a more social sort, though, and she loves to share her cars with the people. “People stop by my house almost daily because I have the whole spectrum of cars, plus my house is purple,” she says. Many people ask to buy the cars despite the “Not For Sale” signs she has posted up. She doesn’t mind the attention one bit though. “I let them take selfies sitting in them, sometimes even take them for a ride or let them drive one. What kind of jerk would have this type of roadside attraction then scare off gawkers?” It’s a beautiful ethos from a generous soul.

Valeria’s collection is very much a living thing. “They are far from museum quality vehicles,” she explains. ” I have a couple of pristine low mileage ones, but they are meant to be driven, so I don’t pamper them.” The cars are regularly out and about serving the community, too. With the Stick Shift Driving Academy, she actually uses them to teach people how to drive manuals, too. “Call me crazy, but I think I know how to teach so they don’t burn out my clutch. It’s fun, and I meet cool people,” she says.

Given her technical background, Valeria does plenty of wrenching on her cars herself. She’s tackled everything from failing seat bushings to electrical issues and sagging headliners. Her husband was on board, too, helping kit her out for the job. “For a wedding anniversary one year my husband had surprised me with a full set of mechanics’ tools, so romantic,” she explains. It’s a story that would warm the heart of any car enthusiast. She’s no stranger to getting her hands dirty, nor sussing out a problem via some laptop diagnostics.

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The worst job she had to tackle involved a burnt-out window regulator, something many of us can relate to, including yours truly. “I had to make tools, and stick my arms through access holes that were not big enough for my arms.” She wound up bruised and bloody, but came out on top. “I boned up on my swearing skills too. It took 6 hours of creative tinkering, but I did it!” she says, triumphantly.

Future plans for her collection involve an epic roadtrip. The 2024 Schuh Syndikat will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Z3 and Z3 M Coupe in North Carolina in May. The aim for the meetup is to create a new record for the largest gathering of Z3 Coupe models in one place. The record currently stands at 64, held by a UK owner’s group. “The ZSCCA has arranged for drivers to come to New Hampshire to convoy all my cars to the event trying to break the record,” she says. “My 8 will contribute significantly.”

Beyond that, she’s been using the cars to help out at a high school auto shop, too, after a local auto tech teacher dropped by her collection. “They have done minor things on my cars and expect they will be seeing more of me soon,” she says.

Oh, and just in case you weren’t impressed enough already? Valeria is not just a responsible custodian for rare BMWs. She’s also a talented painter who turns her brush to her cars, among other subjects. Imagine hanging one of these on your wall!

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It’s not the first time we’ve seen a single-model collection run by a dedicated individual; indeed, we often find great tales whenever we come across one. It’s easy to see why the Clownshoe inspires such passion. It’s a highly capable vehicle with excellent handling and some of the better modern engines to come out of Germany. Add on the fact that it looks like nothing else on the road, and you’ve got something magic right there.

Valeria is a special kind of enthusiast. She dedicates herself to the support and betterment of both her favorite car and her community. She’s not only raised the profile of the Clownshoe, but she’s out there showing others how to love and enjoy cars. That’s a beautiful thing, and we could all learn from her wonderful example.

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Image credits: Valeria Giordano

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Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
2 months ago

I literally could not love this woman more. Her house is purple!! And the Z3 is the most fun car I’ve ever driven, and one of the more beautiful too. Great taste!

Strangek
Strangek
2 months ago

That’s an awesome story and an awesome collection!

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
2 months ago

This is the type of content that really makes this site special. Valeria is a gem.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
2 months ago

Very much

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
2 months ago

I had no idea the clown shoe came in orange (Colorado?) Reminds me of Lorrie Stern and her pink Lamborghini Espada that you would see driving all over Long Island.

What a great story and what a great lady!

Ham On Five
Ham On Five
2 months ago

I am in love

Theresatimetocomment
Theresatimetocomment
2 months ago

Valeria is my hero.

Valeria Giordano
Valeria Giordano
2 months ago

You guys were wondering about my License Plate. It is Z-COUPE, and I Have one MMMUMMM

Turbotictac
Turbotictac
2 months ago

Custom plates really are the cherry on top of a fun or unique car. I have two Miatas and mine are “TIC-TAC” and “TIC-TAC2” and people love that detail when they notice it.

Functionoverfashion
Functionoverfashion
2 months ago

This is my neighbor! Almost. We live in the same town anyway, and I am one of the random people who stopped by one day to say hello. She’s every bit as friendly and fantastic as the article says. I have yet to take her up on the offer to drive one, but I will. I have to drive several, actually. You know, for science.

Cheers, Valeria, this is awesome.

Daniel MacDonald
Daniel MacDonald
2 months ago

So jealous I’ve always wanted an M coupe but only got my millenial financial shit together just after prices skyrocketed 🙁

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

A great example for us. I say it looks like a 4 seater E-Type Jaguar.

DysLexus
DysLexus
2 months ago

Nice work!!!
In these dark days of a frigid winter mixed with persistent bombardment of bleak news of war and intractable political division…
we Autotopians needed a refreshing story about pure and simple automotive joy.

Makes me believe there’s still hope for humanity.

Scotticus
Scotticus
2 months ago

That orange one is legit hot

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Scotticus

It didn’t look clown shoe to me but I am no expert.

Scotticus
Scotticus
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

I hadn’t even noticed that. I think you’re right

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago
Reply to  Scotticus

Rechecked I am still not sure but te tint maybe throwing the look off because it is hiding the C pillar.

Valeria Giordano
Valeria Giordano
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

It is is 2002 with an S54 engine

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

Huh? A 2002 what? I was unable to tell if it was a clown shoe. But thank you for the year information.

Valeria Giordano
Valeria Giordano
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

It is a clownshoe, M Coupe, it has a slick top, sunroof delete, taht is why it looks different than the others.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
2 months ago

Thanks that is what threw me off. Those are indeed a great collection.

Last edited 2 months ago by Mr Sarcastic
Scotticus
Scotticus
2 months ago

It’s a beaut, Valeria!

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
2 months ago

I usually hate when people hoard desirable things. And by hoarding, I mean buying more copies of individual things than one can reasonably use. Certain cars, motorcycles and guitars are the typical things that get locked away in storage in large numbers by the wealthy, and kept from ordinary buyers who would enjoy them daily.

I thought this might be another hoarding story, but after reading how they all get used regularly, not just by her, but by others in her community, I’m quite pleased to have read this.

We need more people like Valeria in the world, who understand that the value of a tool is not in the having of it, but in the using of it, and to fully enjoy something often includes sharing it with others who have a similar passion.

Seaway
Seaway
2 months ago

Loved this article! The writing is terrific, the subject is terrific and I am happy I got to read it. Thanks.

Swasscaddy
Swasscaddy
2 months ago

I wonder if that bevie holder is held on by magnets?

D-dub
D-dub
2 months ago

There was an old woman who lived with clown shoes.
She had so many, she didn’t know what to do.
She gave them some yardspace without any shed;
And whipped them all soundly teaching stick shifts to kids.

Rusty S Trusty
Rusty S Trusty
2 months ago

What a great article. What an awesome lady. This might be my favorite article on Autopian so far. This is a good site too, so the bar is pretty high.

121gwats
121gwats
2 months ago

I love the homemade tin-can beer holder thing hooked over the front of the radiator bracket with a Sierra Nevada resting inside, impeccable taste all around – I wish we were neighbors.

DialMforMiata
DialMforMiata
2 months ago
Reply to  121gwats

Your ability to identify the beer from the top half inch of the can is impressive, my friend.

121gwats
121gwats
2 months ago
Reply to  DialMforMiata

I’ve seen that can once or twice 😉

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
2 months ago

Holy shit. This is amazing. I wonder if Valeria would be interested in adopting a 45 year old kid?

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
2 months ago

This is awesome!

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