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- Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2013 10:51
- Written by Ben David T Quirk
Bayersiche Motoren Werke
BMW the German car company starts over a hundred years ago, making the label a household name in luxury and perfect engineering.
Karl Friedrich Rapp in 1913 a well-known Bavarian working for a German Aircrafts manufacturer, left his job and formed Rapp Motoren Werke in Munich, he specialised in engineering and developing aircraft engines. Rapp soon became aware that the path he had chosen was very problematic, it seemed the majority of his creations suffered from excessive vibration. At around the same time another Bavarian Aircraft specialist, Gustav Otto set up set up his light aircraft builders Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik.
Rapp Motoren Werke grew tired of the problems and started to work with Austro-Daimlers engines, they were unable to meet demands to existing suppliers. The new contract for Rapp involved developing V12 Aeroplane engines, however things went too fast and and Rapp resigned due to financial troubles in 1916. Two Austrians Max Friz and Franz Josef Popp were appointed to run the company. Then in March 1916 Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik merged with March Rapp Motoren Werketo and formed Bayersiche Flugzeungwerke. The birth of Bayersiche Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works), or better known as BMW had taken place.
The first car to be developed at newly formed BMW was the Dixi 3/15 PS in 1928 at the Eisenbach factory, it was an open top with 15BHP and 743cc and was produced under an Austin license, basically it was a US Bantam / Japanese Datsun. The 1st Dixi was an open topped model, running a 743cc 4 cylinder engine producing 15 bhp. In 1930, the Dixi won its first motor race. A total of 18,976 units were sold.
The first real car made its appearance in 1932, the AM 4 (Munich Version 4 Speeds - Ausfuhrung Munchen 4 Gange) its also known as the 3/20 PS, and built entirely by BMW. It came with a 4 cylinder 782cc engine suspended valves, double chain camshafts, 20 bhp at 3500 rpm and a top speed of 50 mph.
The 303 saloon was introduced in 1933 and was the first inline-6 cylinder car and the first to demonstrate the twin kidney shaped grilles, recognised more today than ever. It was constructed with a welded tubular steel frame and came with rack and pinion steering & independent front suspension. It came with a 1173cc - 30 bhp & Top Speed of 56mph.
1936 saw the release of the BMW 328. No doubt' a famous pre-war sports car, this was succeeded by the 315. A model more for motor sport. It was victorious at the 1938 Mille Miglia in Italy, this made it an icon to. The 328 weighed 1830 lb constructed from an extra-light tubular spaceframe and alloy parts for the bonnet, doors and boot. It came witha gutsy 1971cc inline-6 cylinder three carbs and could produce 80 bhp at 5000 rpm, and go onto reach 93 mph top speed. 462 units were manufactured in total.
After World War II, BMW lay in ruins.A 3 year ban put an end to any motor car productions this also ceased manufacture of rockets & plane engines.
1951 saw a 501 emerge, a luxury model production nightmare, due to demand being low, the BMW 501 never had a hope and never came upto expectation.
BMW needed a new angle, the Isetta 250 was introduced in 1955, a mini-car idela for the 1950's mini car craze. It was Italian manufacturer Iso licensed and came with a Motorbike 245cc one cylinder engine, but still reached 53 mph. It stayed in production for 7 yrs. 161,728 Isetta autos were manufactured.
1956 saw the BMW 507 it won hearts from the offset. A 2-door car, and came with a new idea a retractable soft top, designed by Alberecht Graf Foertz. A 3168cc V8 engine with twin downdraught carbs this gave the 507 150 bhp at 5000rpm & pushed it upto a top speed of 124mph.
However it couldn't keep up with its closest competitor the Mercedes 300SL. Only 252 507's were made, the car is a symbol of the BMW's problems in the 1950's.
1962 saw the 1500, developed in the 1950s released, it came with a 80bhp, 1.5 capable of hitting 92 mph, 23,807 were sold over the next 2 years.
Over 334,165 cars models of the 1500, 1600, 1800, 2000 combvined were manufactured in total. The first generation 5 series was based on these classic models, the E12 was launched 10 yrs after 1972.
BMW then released the 3 series in 1975, the M1 supercar was developed in 1976, followed by the 7 series in 1977.
1992 saw BMW outsell Mercedes in Europe for the first time in history.
1998 The Bavarian car company bought the Rolls Royce logo & name off Volkswagen.
The Rover Group PLC was acquired by BMW in 1994, however heavy losses were still destroying the company the decision was made to sell in 2000. Rover was split, Ford bought Land Rover and BMW held the rights to the Mini, shortly the car was released in 2002.
The following years saw the BMW, Z1, Z3, Z8 and many variations of the 3, 5, 7 series.
BMW still continue to release the new incarnations of the Mini including Mini Clubman, after the success of the Mini.