Most BMW enthusiasts know a lot about their BMW. They know its value, of course, as well as the vehicle’s own personal history, and their history of owning their beloved BMW. However, how many BMW owners may not know the history behind the BMW brand and tradition, and what makes BMW’s slogan about their place as a truly ultimate driving machine absolutely true.
The 1910s to 1950s
In 1913, Karl Friedrich Rapp decided to start manufacturing aircraft engines in an old factory that used to make bicycles. This shop is located close to Munich, and nearby there is a small business that focuses on building aircrafts which pops up, created by Gustav Otto. In 1916, Franz-Josef Popp was in charge of directing the business of Rapp, and Popp changes the company into “Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH,” hence the acronym BMW. Because of this transformation, BMW states that their birthday is March 7, 1916. In 1920, the BMW logo most akin to its current iteration was created. 1921 brought about BMW’s creation of their very first motorcycle. Just a year later, BMW builds its first factory, and in just three more years the R37 motorcycle is twice as powerful as the previous motorcycle. In 1928, BMW’s first car was created, the Dixi 3/15. This was obviously a great milestone for BMW. The 1930s mark several great advancements for BMW. From a motorcycle with a telescoped wheel fork, to a 328 roadster, legendary for racing, BMW makes many advances in the 1930s. The 1940s brings many more advancements, with a BMW motorcycle with an aluminum frame, as well as the BMW 328 Mille Miglia coupe, and a jet engine that was one of the first of its kind to be mass-produced. Stylish BMWs are the norm in the 1950s, with such BMWs as Albrecht Goertz’s BMW 507. Additionally, many people love the 1955 BMW Isetta, which is one of the fastest selling BMWs.
In the 1960s, many BMW motorcycles gain popularity for their exceptionality when it comes to racing. More high performance models continue to be produced in the 1960s, such as the BMW 1600, which used the engine that the 1500 used. In 1967, BMW creates a 1600 model which is convertible, and, because only 1682 were ever produced, this is one of the rarer of BMWs from this era. BMW also launches a sedan that is advertised as being sporty, the 1500 in the 1960s. 1977 brings a luxury sedan, with the BMW 7 Series. The 70s were also when BMW began to compete in the Procar Series, and begins to offer professional driving training. In 1979 BMW becomes a pinoeer by utilizing microcomputers in some of its BMW models. In 1980, BMW begins developing the Formula 1 engine, and the 80s also bring the M3 to the BMW arena, a car known for its ubiquitousness as a sportscar. In the 1990s the Z series is introduced, as well as many variations of the E34 and other types of BMWs. The BMW 5 Series E39 becomes the standard for sportscars when it comes to handling and ride.