Bayerische Motoren Werke was originally a company specializing in airplane engines and focused on speed and maneuverability before moving into the cars it is well known for. As I researched the cars and the company out of boredom one day, I soon discovered some very interesting facts that will bring joy to your local car enthusiast.
The first airplane engine found its use in cars
During World War I as plane warfare was taking off around the country two German companies, Rapp Motor and Otto Werke, joined together to create airplane engines for the military. The airplane engine technology found its way into a four-cycle engine, which was the engine that powered almost every German car on the road.
The four-cycle engine later set several records for speed with the airplanes and in 1919 a biplane powered by the BMW engine went up to 32,000 feet, breaking records and further proving BMW’s superiority.
Post WW1 got the company into cars
Once the treaty of Versailles had been signed, BMW’s airplane making days were over, and the money began to dry up. BMW soon found itself making a car called a Dixi 3/15, using a chassis designed by America and licensed to the world.
German workers soon began to make the cars, including racing cars such as the 328 Coupe aerodynamic to improve speed, especially during a race. They got rid of the rear end and then curved the entire car like a bubble to lessen wind resistance.
After being snubbed, they built their own Lamborghini
The M1 Lamborghini was an agreed-upon venture between the Italian company Lambo and BMW, with the Germans building the engine and Lambo building the rest until Lambo called off the deal for financial reasons. Undeterred, BMW built the car on their own and it became a hit.
They built an electric car in 1972
It wasn’t slick, smart or pretty but it progressed. BMW’s first electric car was made in 1972 and contained 12 batteries that could last a total of 20 minutes, also moving at around 20 miles an hour. However, it did provide the basis for many later models of electric car and proved BMW’s willingness to innovate.
As I looked deeper to BMW’s history, from making airplane parts to car engines to a deathtrap of a motorcycle that could go about 175 miles per hour as an aerodynamic motorcycle yet was almost impossible to leave in an emergency, the company has lived a long time.
It’s survived two world wars, economic turmoil, and the car production of its German competitors to produce cars by the millions every year with some factories even producing a thousand cars a day. It truly is the ultimate driving machine and I’m happy to study it.
With BMW still a car producing powerhouse in the present day, things seem to be going strong for it as it continues to roll out new cars every single day for consumers to drive on the road.