BMW Production Anniversary – 90 Years in the Making

TWO BMW ANNIVERSARIES IN ONE – FEATURED WITH ANOTHER CLASSY EXHIBITION

If you read my reportage from this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza, you know it has been its 90th anniversary, as well as 20th anniversary for BMW as its patrons. However, not too many people noticed that it is 90th anniversary for BMW as well, but in producing cars! BMW Classic used the opportunity of being present at Villa Erba to transform its Padiglione Centrale into a time machine, giving insight into some very early years of the company from Munich.

BMW 3/15 IN ALL POSSIBLE VARIANTS – THE COMPANY’S FIRST AUTOMOBILE

Prior to starting on the automobile market, the Bavarian manufacturer was known to produce aircraft engines. In 1928 BMW bought another German company – Automobilwerk Eisenach (AE) – and together with it, a license to produce a vehicle called ‘Dixi’. Dixi, or 3/15 DA, was a versatile car based on British sibling named Austin 7. The small car weighted only 400kg and was powered by 747cc straight-four engine with 3-speed manual gearbox That model was offered in almost all possible body styles, featured as coupe, sedan, tourer and even roadster! There were almost 19 thousand ever produced, more than twice as many as the AE Dixies.

To document how it all has started, BMW brought all of the examples to Cernobbio and visitors could admire what basically founded the car heritage of BMW. In a vintage, 1920s town scenery and underneath the spotlight, was a beautiful white 1930 3/15 DA-3 Typ Wartburg Roadster. Next to it was a spotless, red 3/15 PS Saloon, and not too far away a grey delivery van in ‘Teile in Eile’ BMW livery.

MORE ELEGANT 327/328 AND… A ROLLS ROYCE PHANTOM I 10EX OPEN TOURER

Foundation of the brand aside, there was another iconic model on the display, too. BMW Classic brought a fantastic example of a late 1930s sports car – the 327/328. The car is stunning not only because of its body – drafted by Peter Szymanowski, but also because of its extraordinary racing capabilities. Powered by a light inline-six generating 80 horsepower, this model won its class at Nürburgring in 1936, scored more than 100 class wins in 1937 and most importantly, won the Mille Miglia in 1938. What an achievement!

With Rolls-Royce being nowadays an integral part of BMW Group, further down the exhibition, we could not miss one of that specie, either. But what a fantastic example did BMW Classic bring! 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I 10EX Open Tourer is a stunning and luxurious limousine, built as an experimental car for the factory. Bodied by Barker & Co., coachbuilders from London, it shines with a combination of blue and cream white, which paired with caramel interior looks just perfect. Used by the British factory to optimize the design, it has undergone various changes to the bodywork and engine, and has been kept by Rolls-Royce themselves for extraordinarily long. Great car with even greater history.

A GREAT LOOKING MOTORCYCLE AND… ONE MORE SURPRISE TO COME!

In addition to showing the automobiles’ heritage, there were also motorcycles. BMW Motorrad not only premiered a stunning concept of a cruiser, but also shown a breathtaking vintage motorbike. It was a black R69S with a sidecar, looking elegant but at the same time resembling a cigar or a Zeppelin airship. Pure class!

Whilst all of the above does seem very impressive, BMW has prepared one more surprise… but with that one, I will keep you in suspense for a little bit longer!

Text & Photos: Adam Pękala ©

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