20 Mar Celebrating 100 years Of BMW
On 7 March, BMW celebrated 100 years of existence. The original date was when Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG was formed, which in 1922 took controlling interest in a small aero-engine manufacturer based in the north of Munich in Bavaria, Germany and established Bayerische Motoren Werke AG. However, the 1916 date is acknowledged as the start of BMW. Since then the company has been transformed into a leading manufacturer of premium automobiles and motorcycles, and today the BMW Group is an international company with production and assembly facilities in 14 countries.
Having added motorcycle manufacture to its aero engine business, that had come to a temporary halt in the wake of WWI, it was in 1928 when BMW turned to motor car manufacture, first assembling then building the Austin 7 under licence and called the Dixie. The first pukka BMW arrived in 1933, the six-cylinder 303 that established a profile that was marked out from its competitors by the distinctive contour of the radiator cover, which is today still recognisable as the BMW kidney-shaped grille.
The aftermath of WWII also affected BMW’s operation and it was only in 1952 that motor car production was resumed. But from then on the company’s fortunes have continued to rise, the ‘sheer driving pleasure’ of the brand’s products becoming a global success story, including the acquisition of the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. Today, BMW is a leader in automotive technology and its model range covers practically every segment and sub-segment of the market, including hybrids and electric-driven vehicles.
FMM is preparing a special display to honour BMW’s centenary. Among the vehicles to be exhibited are a 1926 Austin 7, 1938 328, 1953 503, 1955-62 Isetta bubble car, 1972 3,0 CS, 1976 530 race car, 1982 BMW 635 CSi Alpina, 1986 333i and the 2004 ex-Madiba 46664 Mandela Day School Library Project 760iL Security Edition. MM