Sunday, June 7, 2009

History Of BMW

To better understand BMW today you have to know and understand BMW history. The last century gives the “flavor” of today’s BMW cars, the ingredient that makes them so special. This “special” can be almost seen as the soul of a person. BMW cars have an unmistakably personality and an obsessive care about the feeling of driving, thus their slogan "the ultimate driving machine". This creates a bond between the car and the driver that may last for a lifetime.

These three magic letters stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke, or in English, Bavarian Motor Works. The "Motor" is the core of this acronym and is the foundation; the key part around which BMW builds every product.

BMWDrives invites you to be part in this amazing trip and you will find out the story that lies behind BMW.

The man who started all was Karl Friedrich Rapp in October 1913. Not everybody knows that BMW started as a manufacturer of aircraft engines. Rapp establishes "Rapp-Motorenwerke" in a former bicycle factory near Munich. He starts manufacturing his own aircraft engines but unfortunately they suffered form problems with vibrations. Close to Rapp´s factory, Gustav Otto, the son of the inventor of the four-stroke internal combustion engine, sets up a business building small aircrafts. Otto enjoys great success with "Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik".

Rapp Motoren Werke had problems with the reliability of the engines. They have secured a contract with Austro-Daimler, who was unable to meet its demands that of building V12 Aero engines under license. The company expanded too quickly, and by 1916 Karl Friedrich Rapp resigned from the company because of financial troubles. The company was taken over by two Austrians Franz-Josef Popp and Max Fritz backed by a Vienna financier, Camillo Castiglioni. They managed to convince Gustav Otto´s "Gustav Flugmaschinefabrik" to merge with "Rapp-Motorenwerke". Together they formed Bayerische Flugzeug-Werke or BFW, in English "Bavarian Aircraft Works". Shortly afterwards the company was renamed BMW and in 1918 becomes BMW AG (The German term Aktiengesellschaft means a corporation that is limited by shares, i.e., owned by shareholders. It may be traded on the stock market. The term is used in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The U.S. equivalent term is "public company", source Wikipedia) the company that we know and admire today.

In 1917, BMW's first aircraft engine, the Type IIIa, goes into production. It is a water-cooled six-cylinder inline engine, it features a unique "high-altitude carburetor" developed by Fritz that allows it to develop full power at altitude.

In 1918 this engine powered a biplane to 5,000 meters altitude in just 29 minutes. It was an impressive performance for those days, one that led to strong demand for BMW engines.

In 1919 a successor for this engine is born. It is named naturally Type IV. With this engine, Franz Zeno Diemer sets an altitude record of 9,760 metres (32,013 ft).

The current BMW logo, introduced in the early 1920, was based on the circular design of an aircraft propeller.

World War I comes to an end and the Treaty of Versailles was signed prohibiting BMW from building aircraft engines. Production is switched for building air brakes for railway cars.

BMW logo in 1940s

Current BMW logo

BMW 319 built in 1935
BMW dixi
1936 BMW Model 319 4-Window Cabriolet
1 Series

3 Series

5 Series

6 Series

7 Series






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