You are familiar with the 1, 3, 5, 6, and 7 Series. The 1 is a newer model but its sporty compact size and big personality has caused you to identify it several times on the highway. The 3, well, is and has been, BMW’s shining cornerstone, as common as butter on bread. (Very good bread, that is). The 5 is another oft-seen sedan, the 6, more rare and the 7 is what you see when you get that sick, jealous feeling as you drive your de-frilled meat-and-potatoes car around the West Hills in Portland.Share on Facebook
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2006 BMW 750Li [E66] in The Blind Side, movie, 2009
Sandra Bullock in a gorgeous 7 Series. Read More
It doesn’t get more authentic than this. BMW Classic Center opens its customer workshop.
Munich. From now on, BMW Classic’s specialist workshop will not only be repairing and restoring its own classic vehicles, but also those belonging to customers. The BMW Classic Center thus closes the final gap in the complete range of services offered to the owners of classic models from every era of the blue-and-white badge. Just like owners of new vehicles, these customers can place their car in the hands of specialists, who can draw on the most profound expertise anywhere in the world – that of the manufacturer.
The worldwide interest in classic cars and motorcycles of the BMW brand is growing apace. The 200 or so brand clubs alone account for some 200,000 members. It figures that each of them owns a BMW from earlier decades – the number of historic cars with the blue-and-white badge is estimated at around 600,000 – and those are just the ones we know about. Added to those are some 70,000 motorbikes with classic status, which means that roughly one in ten BMWs built up until the 1980s is still on the road today. And with every year that passes, the number of classic BMWs increases significantly. Thus the early generations of the high-volume BMW 3, 5 and 7 Series already belong to the ranks of modern classics.
With interest growing, BMW Classic has responded to the wish of many enthusiasts to own a vehicle that is as faithful as possible to the original and is in the best possible condition. It is for them that BMW Classic has expanded the Historic Workshop, hitherto responsible for the company’s own vehicles, into the BMW Classic Center, which now accepts outside commissions as well. “The workshop is an essential component of the reorientation of BMW Classic and of our customer focus on the classic market,” says Karl Baumer, Director of BMW Group Classic. Parallel with this, the supply and remanufacturing of parts is being further expanded. To this are added further areas of business such as the purchase and sale of vehicles, authentication of vehicles, advice to buyers, and a worldwide collection and delivery service.
All-round expertise: a full range of services under one roof.
“The great advantage for customers who bring their vehicle back to the original manufacturer is the complete range of services available under one roof. We have the theoretical knowledge of the vehicles, the technical know-how, the original BMW parts and the necessary infrastructure to connect everything up systematically,” says Ralf Vierlein, Head of Sales and Aftersales for BMW Group Classic. It is a concept that was convincing from the start, since a number of classics had already been entrusted to the team at the Classic Center before the actual launch of the new service. Nowadays, going into the Classic Center worskshop feels like being transported back to the 1960s and late 1970s: next to two BMW M1s – a roadgoing sports car and a Procar race car – stand a BMW 3.0 CSi and BMW R 69 S.
The challenges vary as widely as the vehicles themselves. And they are seldom straightforward: for example, the owner of the 3.0 CSi wants to have an automatic gearbox installed in his 1970s coupé, to replace the original manual gearbox. Because this combination was never on sale, independent workshops had to admit defeat. Not so the BMW Classic Center: on a trial basis in February 1972, BMW had fitted two of the high-performance coupés with automatic gearboxes. However, this variant never got beyond the prototype stage. Thanks to rapid and unrestricted access for BMW restorers to the documentation in the company archive, they are able to build a replica of this variant – completely faithful to the original. But this will take time, as quite a number of components have to be specially fabricated for it.
Complete restoration: the M1 from the jungle.
The Series M1 is a very different story. It is to be resurrected exactly as it was built, all those years ago. The legendary super-sportscar from the 1970s belongs to a customer in Malaysia, who sent the car in a container by sea to Munich. The order: a complete restoration. The car had been sitting for many years in what was practically jungle, where it was exposed to extreme climatic conditions. On arrival, the classic was a wreck on wheels. The floor of the car was riddled with termite nests. Not a single rubber component was still intact. First of all, the car was cleaned from top to bottom and rid of all its ‘residents’. The vehicle is now being completely dismantled and rebuilt from scratch. The experts extimate it will take about a year and a half to achieve this rebirth.
As with new vehicles, each of the various jobs is taken on by the relevant specialised division. At BMW Group Classic the work is chiefly done within the BMW Group’s own network of facilities. Mechanical and electrical components are taken care of by experts in Munich. All the bodywork jobs, right through to painting, are handled by the BMW plant in Dingolfing. Motor sports models go direct to BMW Motorsport GmbH, while for M cars the specialists of M GmbH come on board.
The attraction of the BMW Classic Center is not solely derived from its expertise and authenticity. Even when it comes to pricing, the Munich car restorers are thoroughly competitive: “As regards the price-performance relationship, we are continually getting positive feedback. The fact that we’re competitive in the global marketplace can be seen in our disproportionately large order book,” Ralf Vierlein confirms.
The Customer Workshop project: a network for BMW classics.
Faced with projects like these, it is easy to see that the capacity of the Classic Center is limited. In order to cope with the rising demand, BMW Group Classic launched the “Customer Workshop” project: “We’ve had enquiries from Romania, Spain and even from a collector in Brazil, who is interested in a restoration. We are now looking for partners abroad with whom we can work in future,” says Dr Thomas Tischler, Service Team Manager at BMW Classic and responsible for the project. The first of these are already on board: in 2009 the BMW Classic Center opened its first branch in Switzerland. For quite some time the BMW branch in Zurich’s Dielsdorf district had noticed a growing number of BMW classics in its catchment area and consequently an increased demand for professional servicing for the vehicles. That was followed by the BMW branch in Düsseldorf, which goes by the name of BMW Classic Center NRW [North Rhine-Westphalia] and looks after a large stock of BMW classics in the region.
The “Customer Workshop” project is now being gradually expanded to other regions of Germany as well as to other countries with large classic and modern-classic potential. The BMW Car Club of America alone has more than 70,000 members, and the BMW Motorcycle Owners Association of America some 50,000, each of whom, according to reliable estimates, is the proud owner of between three and four vehicles. BMW Classic intends to target the interests of these large customer groups. Ralf Vierlein: “We are planning to set up a Classic Center in the USA with its own spare parts supply for professional and private customers.”Share on Facebook
GREEN ICON -This brash-looking car had long been given up for lost. It was only last year that was it rediscovered by a private collector in a barn in Holland. But it was undeniably the worse for wear. Orangey-red paint tried valiantly but in vain to hold the crumbling body together, the underpinnings could only be guessed at, and the green leather seats had been given a coat of black paint. It took around 2,000 hours to fully restore this one-off model, created by Turin stylist and coachbuilder Giuseppe Bertone in 1969 for the Geneva Salon. An open car, it lent itself to being turned into a coupé. Which also explains the name Spicup – a portmanteau of Spider and Coupé. The front end with its half-hidden headlamp eyes is typical of many Bertone designs. The designer cleverly integrated the obligatory BMW kidney grille into the Spicup, while the side contour line is reminiscent of the timelessly beautiful design of Count Goertz’s BMW 507. For the sliding top as well, Bertone came up with a neat solution: when opened, it completely disappears in the rollbars. The chassis, incidentally, was that of a BMW 2500 which Bertone cut from 269 to 234 cm, and the 170 hp engine hailed from a BMW 2800.Share on Facebook
The first documentation we have of the BMW logo is from 1915. It is commonly thought that the BMW logo was modeled after an airplane propeller with blades whirring in a blue sky background. But that is not the actual story of the logo. The logo evolved from the father company of BMW, Rapp Motor Works. When ownership of Rapp’s company changed, the company name eventually became Bavarian Motor Works and the logo was changed to represent the blue and white colors of the Bavarian flag. Over the years, the logo has been modified only slightly, with changes of the font in BMW and the border surrounding the logo.
The emblem was and is today BMW’s continuing promise to produce an outstanding product…over and over again.Share on Facebook
BMWs and the silver screen are a match made in heaven! In fact, name any movie involving cars, driving, speed, etc. and it is almost a guarantee that the director put a BMW in it. Below are examples of just a few of BMW’s appearances in films. We will keep our eyes out for more examples. If you can think of any important ones for us to include, please let us know in the comments!Share on Facebook