BMW is synonymous with dignity, elegance and old world sophistication. This luxury car company based in Germany has been making cars for many years. The actual company has been in existence since 1916, making airplane engines. After World War I, the company turned to motorcycle production and moved into car production in the 1920’s. Today, some century later, BMW is still one of the most recognizable names and symbols when it some to luxury cars and high quality. As with any company with the kind of longevity enjoyed by BMW, there are some things the average consumer may not know. Here are five fun facts you didn’t know about BMW.
- The Headquarters: Located in Munich, Germany, the headquarters for BMW was built in the 1960’s. The importance of the four-cylinder engine to the development of BMW was incorporated into the design of the building, as it looks just like the engine. It was designed by Austrian architect, Karl Schwanzer. It was completely ready in time for the 1972 Olympics. The building is now a historical site in Germany and underwent extensive renovations 2004.
- World’s Fastest Motorcycle: BMW is famous for breaking records! One of the records they made was for the world’s fastest motorcycle in 1937. The thing could reach up to 173 miles per hour because of its slick, aerodynamic design. It was also the most dangerous motorcycle in the world.
- The First BMW: The first BMW came about as a result of the restrictions placed upon Germany by the Treaty of Versailles. Germany was not allowed to build war planes or war plane engines per the treaty, so BMW turned to motorcycles and then automobiles. The first BMW car, the Dixi 3/15, only had 15 horsepower and was the original design of the English Austin, whose maker franchised out the chassis and design worldwide.
- The Rivalry: The rivalry between BMW and Mercedes began in 1959 when Mercedes tried to initiate a hostile takeover of BMW when they were at their weakest post World War II. The company started a campaign that got the whole company involved. It was like every employee from the top to the lowly mechanics was buying shares to prevent the takeover. A wealthy family eventually stepped in and saved the company with a huge investment. That family, the Quandt’s, still own 49% of the company today while the rest of the company is publicly held.
- BMW Classic Program: BMW has a division that is still producing WWII era parts for classic BMW vehicles. The BMW classic program manufactures brand new parts including transmissions and engines. BMW even bought back an old motorcycle factory that it used to own in order to produce the parts. Classic move, BMW!
The history behind one of the biggest automakers in the world is both diverse and intriguing. These five fun facts you didn’t know about BMW make the automakers as interesting and relevant in today’s world as they have been in the past.