BMW Second Generation: Pelops the Charioteer


As legend has it, the founder of the ancient Olympic Games was Pelops, a mythological figure whose feats of athletic prowess inspired the original contest in honor of Zeus and the other gods of Mount Olympus.

The story goes that Hippodameia, the daughter of King Oinomaos, fell in love with Pelops—apparently the feeling was mutual—but in order to win her hand in marriage, he had to endure a grueling chariot race on the plains of Olympia.

Pelops was victorious, winning the love of the princess and the kingdom. It was said that in thanksgiving, he founded the Olympic Games, highlighted by the chariot races that were a ritual reenactment of his own triumph.

Checkmate-v2_Pelly-1PELLY THE ENTHUSIAST
Many centuries later, Pelops (Pelly) Damianos, the youngest in the Smithtown-based Damianos real estate empire, learned that he is more like his namesake from Greek mythology than he may have first thought—only his chariot of choice is not a horse with wings, but a BMW.

Damianos Realty was founded in 1968 by Pelly’s father, the late Dr. Xenophon Damianos, a pioneer in the niche market of medical office space and the development of innovative medical complexes, nursing facilities and adult homes. Today, the Damianos Realty Group is one of the largest developers and owners of commercial real estate on Long Island.

As a young visionary, Dr. Damianos became friends with another Smithtown futurist, Joseph Buzzetta, the founder of the Competition Auto Group. That friendship still exists 45 years later through their children.

As Pelly recounted how he became a life-long BMW enthusiast, Greek numerology came into play.

When Pelly turned 16, he received his first BMW, a 1972 BMW 2002 Tii. With 150,000 miles on the odometer, the car was a two-time “hand-me-down” from his older brothers, but Pelly didn’t mind; it had a stick shift and it was his car.

After waiting for what seemed an eternity to take his driver’s test, Pelly passed and immediately took his first solo drive.

“I went to McDonald’s and I remember I was light-headed and didn’t feel well,” he recalls. “I looked at myself in the rearview mirror and saw all of these welts coming out.”

Pelly was coming down with chicken pox, which sidelined him from driving his “chariot” for the next three weeks.

As a college student, Pelly took his second BMW, a 1980 320i with 75,000 miles on the odometer, to commute from Long Island to Boston University.

“I was racing the hell out of it,” he says. “I got the pipes so hot I melted the flares I kept in the trunk.”

No doubt the gods would have smiled at that.

“It was a great time in my life with that car,” Pelly says.

A brand new jet-black 325i was a college graduation gift from Pelly’s father, and to this day it holds a special significance.

“They say that the third time is the charm, and it’s true,” he says.

But there’s more to it than that.

“I still value the teachings that my father instilled in me to warrant a new car,” Pelly says. “The life lessons he taught me have carried forward to this day through hard work, accomplishments and rewards.”

As a tribute to his business success, Pelly had his next BMW, a 2000 540i, custom-built in Bavaria. It came in Aspen Silver with a purple and anthracite interior.

“I loved that car,” exclaims Pelly. “It was beautiful, and fast.”

When it comes to going the distance, numbers matter to Pelly. Once his car has about 50,000 miles on the odometer, he gets the urge to drive something new.

His next purchase, a 2001 BMW 545i, turned out to be a life-changing opportunity for the Smithtown enthusiast. Opting into the BMW Performance Center Delivery Program, he discovered the traits he shared with his namesake, the legendary King Pelops of Olympia.

“Take my word for it,” Pelly says. “The experience at the Performance Center is one for the record books.”

The BMW Performance Center features a private tour of the BMW Zentrum and Manufacturing facility in Spartanburg, South Carolina, including VIP treatment and world-class driving instructions on its special track with a professional driver.

In fact, Pelly loved the experience so much he’s returned to the Performance Center at least eight times.

Not long after their first child was born, Pelly and his wife Marilyn learned they were expecting twins. Pelly decided he needed a family car.

“Gone were the days of a stick shift and sporty sizing due to the necessity of car seats,” he says. “BMW didn’t make a minivan so I stepped it up in size and bought the biggest car BMW makes, a 750i.”

Pelly soon discovered that he was really a sports car aficionado at heart. The traditional, family-type vehicle was just not his style.

“I know people would give their right arm for that car,” Pelly explains, “and that I would appreciate this car more later on in life, but not quite at that moment. I wanted to drive something more commensurate with the attributes of my personality.”

Pelly’s GT550

Pelly’s GT550

When Pelly and Marilyn purchased a ski condo in Vermont, they decided that an all-wheel drive BMW was a necessity. Pelly, of course, wanted something sporty, and as luck would have it, BMW was introducing a new model, the X Platform.

“I got into an X6M, 550-horsepower AWD,” he says. “It had a different body shape, and I always liked being the first kid on the block with something new and different. With this BMW, people would stop me and ask what kind of car it was.”

This brand-new BMW sport activity vehicle (SAV) really hit the mark for Pelly.

“This particular car has a sweet spot in my heart as my first ‘M!’ Mmmmmm!” he exclaims. “How I loved that SAV! It could blast through several feet of snow and top out at 155 mph, all with the cool edgy look I loved.”

To show off his affection, he made it personal.

“I got my first vanity license plate, ‘SNOBRDER,’” Pelly says. “That’s Snowboarder, not Snob Rider. I always got teased for that.”

When the sleek GT-550 debuted in 2012, Pelly knew it was time that Marilyn got her own BMW, so they ordered the 550 in Dark Graphite Metallic with an Ivory White interior.

“I don’t have to tell you what a mistake it was to have a soccer mom with three small boys and a car with a white interior,” Pelly laughs.

As Pelly’s career advanced and his family grew, he wanted the best of both worlds: two BMW’s.

And so he chose his first convertible, a 2014 M6 in Ruby Black Metallic with a Platinum interior.

“This car is pure raw awesome and beastly,” he says. “It’s got great looks and is real fast–like 200 mph fast—rippin’ in 7th gear.”

Watching a commercial during the BMW Professional Golf Championship inspired his next vanity license plate: 6APEAL.

“When I’m stopped at a traffic light,” Pelly says with a grin, “I look in my rearview mirror and see people mouthing the words, ‘sex appeal,’ and they point and smile.”

While he truly loves his M6 with its 615 HP, Pelly readily admits that a convertible may not be the best choice for navigating New England’s daunting winters.

Pelly earned the distinction of being one of Competition BMW’s first clients to purchase a vehicle from its newly remodeled dealership. He bought a 2015 X4 in Carbon Black with black interior.

“I can tow the kids’ dirt bikes and quads back and forth to our snowy retreat in Vermont effortlessly,” he says.

Just a few weeks after he’d bought the X4, he returned to Competition BMW, this time to buy Marilyn’s second BMW, a 2015 X5 in silver with black interior.

“I think silver shows the lines of the car best, and that’s why it’s been such a staple color of mine for more than three decades,” Pelly explains.

Next, Pelly would like to visit the BMW plant in Welt, Germany to see the entire operation first-hand. He plans to purchase the 2016 X7 “full size” SAV for Marilyn, and “the cool and wickedly different” i8 for himself.

And soon the torch is about to be passed to a new generation.

Pelly and Marilyn’s oldest son, Jason, turns 16 in 2016 and will become a third-generation BMW owner.

“I’ll buy him a CPO that’s got low mileage and send him to the Performance School so he can light it on fire,” Pelly says.

With a fleet of vehicles purchased from Competition BMW for his personal use and another dozen BMW’s for his executive team at Damianos Realty, Pelly is in a class by himself.

“The amount of cars I’ve purchased from the Buzzettas speaks volumes,” he says.

Pelly and his family also work closely with the Competition Auto Group’s Mercedes and Infinity dealerships, but Pelly says he is truly partial to Competition BMW.

“Simply put, I will never waver from having a BMW in my garage, ever,” Pelly says. “I own other cars; but I prefer the grumble of my M as my ‘daily driver.’”

“I’ve been very loyal to Competition BMW. I guess that’s why they love me,” says Pelly. “They truly are good people.

“I am always greeted with a smile from the moment I enter the showroom or service department,” he says. “They go above and beyond in customer service. If my car needs service, they provide loaner cars or drive me to my office and pick me up at the end of the day.”

He says he’s “super pleased” with their service and sales departments.

“They don’t make problems,” he says. “If something is broken, they fix it. They do it timelessly and are responsible and respectable.”
He especially loves Competition BMW’s executive test-drive benefit.

“If I want to test-drive a car, I don’t want to drive it around the block,” Pelly says. “I want it for the weekend. Competition BMW hands me the keys so I can take the car for a few days to see if I like it or not.”

Pelly commends the entire Buzzetta family for their commitment to excellence and professionalism.

“That’s why I keep going back there,” he says.

What Pelly’s next “chariot” will be only the gods of Mount Olympus know for sure.


About Author

Competition BMW of Smithtown

Checkmate Magazine appeals to the competitive side of the BMW driver who views life as a journey, not a destination. Someone who defines success not by winning or losing, but by how one responds to both. Checkmate is the first of its kind, a publication written exclusively for consumers by an automotive dealership.

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