Crazy facts about BMW
BMW or by its full name Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, is a German manufacturer of luxury vehicles. But BMW doesn’t just produce brilliant luxury road cars, they are also famed for their contribution to sports cars and motorcycles. That’s without mentioning their renowned development of some of the best performing engines on the market. Founded in 1916 they are hailed as one of the best-selling luxury automakers in the world.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at BMW and the history of the company revealing some of the crazy facts about BMW as we go.
BMW built a pretty awesome aeroplane engine
Germany had an immense need for aeroplane engines during WWI resulting in the amalgamation of a small business named Rapp Motor with Otto Werke an aeroplane manufacturer in Munich. The two companies joined forces to satisfy the needs of the German army. Otto Werke was run by the son of Nikolaus Otto. Nikolaus Otto was famed for making four-cycle engines useable. This subsequently featured in almost every car engine on the road. That same technology went directly into the engine that was hailed ‘the greatest engine in WWI’ by the legendary fighter pilot Red Baron.
BMW HQ is a giant four-cylinders
In the last 30 years the highest-performing BMW’s have featured a massive six cylinders in their engines. However, BMW’s legacy steers around the innovative four-cylinder engines from the 1960’s. The BMW HQ plays a physical homage to this legacy. An Austrian Architecture Professor designed BMW’s global HQ in the shape of four cylinders.
The BMW logo is not a propeller
Because of BMW’s history in aeroplane engines, so many people think that the BMW logo is of an aeroplane propeller. They’re wrong! The iconic blue and white in the logo are the national colours of Bavaria. Not white propellers on a blue sky. It does look incredibly like a propeller, I’ll admit that, but this is a coincidence.
BMW built their own Lamborghini
The iconic BMW M1 was actually supposed to be a Lambo! What?! In the 1970’s BMW and Lamborghini agreed to combine forces and build a race car. The German team at BMW were supposed to provide the engine and suspension while the Italians at Lamborghini were responsible for the rest of the car. Unfortunately, Lamborghini had to pull out of the agreement due to financial issues which sadly put stop to one the biggest moments in the corporate motor industry.
Ever efficient, BMW were not going to let their designs and hard work go to waste and they returned to the factory to build the M1.
BMW was nearly acquired by rivals Mercedes
The cold war had rendered our beloved BMW near bankrupt in 1959. The parent company of Mercedes Benz, Daimler-Benz planned a hostile takeover attempt. To prevent the attack BMW called upon their staff, suppliers and supporters to buy back shares in the company to regain control. A major private investor eventually came to BMW’s rescue and the family of this silent investor still own a chunk of the company today.
As you can imagine, the takeover attempt added some serious fuel to their competitive fire and there has been a major rivalry between the two brands throughout history and to the present day.
The story behind the iconic BMW grille
You can spot a BMW from a mile away if you’re seeing it front-on. The reason? The distinctive grille on the front of most of their car designs. Known as the kidney grille because of its shape. The first kidney grille debuted in 1933 on a BMW 303.
Record breaking: BMW built the worlds fastest motorcycle
Achieving a top speed of 278 km/hr the bike sported a supercharged engine. Launched in 1937 the bike was capable of hitting speeds of 173.7 mph! Obviously, there were some safety implications and it had been deemed widely as a death trap, despite having to wear a custom built motorcycle helmet for this bike. BMW is the only current motorcycle manufacturer to reject the use of telescopic forks on its motorbikes.
Additionally, 82,000 motorcycles were produced by the company in 2009.
BMW produce mini Rolls Royce vehicles.
Not just Lamborghini, BMW have also had a piece of the Rolls Royce pie. Did you know that BMW actually make two of Britain’s most famous car brands? That’s right, BMW are responsible for manufacturing both the Rolls Royce and Mini Coopers.
The BMW Slogan
The single most popular BMW slogan is “The ultimate driving machine” and has been used by the company in their marketing materials for more than 35 years.
A BMW Street engine won the F1 World Championship
The BMW M10 four-cylinder engine had evolved from a motor that was first used in street cars in 1972. By the 1983 F1 World Championship the engineers had managed to increase the hp from 75hp to 1,400hp with some heavy modifications. Nelson Piquet won the championship with this engine.
The designer behind the BMW M1 is….. strangely awesome
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro the BMW M1 sits among some of Giugiaro other historical work. For example, the famous DeLorean from the cult film Back to the Future. The Beretta U22 Neos handgun, the VW Golf and the Nikon D4 camera. This design legend is also responsible for the Yugo, labelled as one of the worst cars ever made! How this same person can be responsible for some of the best design history is a mystery.
BMW made its first electric car in 1972
The car was named the 1602 and used 12 batteries to drive up to 19 miles at a time. Rather than being a marketable product BMW used the development of the car as an exercise in their engineering ability.
BMW were front-runners in extreme motorcycle racing
BMW certainly did not invent sidecar racing but BMW’s riders were extreme. Side car racing involved leaning out of a side car attached to a motorcycle to improve the vehicles cornering ability during a race. The only facial protection they used were goggles as they got seriously close to the passing road. Truly terrifying.
BMW’s first car was the Dixi
The brand who began life producing aircraft engines made a transition into cars in 1982. The purchase of Automobilwerk gave them the rights to the companies first car, named the Dixi. Drivers could buy the Dixi as a tourer, sedan, roadster, or coupe.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these crazy facts about BMW as much as we did. I’m off to watch Back to the Future to pay homage to the designer of the De Lorean and BMW M1.