BMW was created after two Munich-based engine and automobile manufacturers merged in 1916. Together they became Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW). Today BMW is best known for its sportive models.
The BMW badge refers to its aircraft engine manufacturing origins as well as to its location. The colours white and blue are the colours of Bavaria, where BMW was originally based.
Under the Treaty of Versailles at the end of World War I, BMW was no longer allowed to produce aircraft engines. Consequently, the company changed to the production of motorcycles and later automobiles.
In 1928 BMW produced its first car, the Dixi, which was based on the Austin 7 and licensed under the Austin Motor Company. During the 1930’s BMW started to concentrate on producing more powerful engines, including for example the Roadster 328 which became a very successful racing car.
During the same decade, Germany started the rearmament and BMW was once more allowed to produce aircraft engines alongside its automobile production.
After the war years, BMW got into serious financial difficulties in 1959, however was able to survive thanks to having the rights to produce Isetta’s since 1955. During the first year of production, BMW sold 10 000 Isetta’s and more than 160 000 over ten years.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s BMW produced the Coupé 30CSL which was able to reach 137mph which was a revolutionary development at the time. The first diesel engine was manufactured in 1980.
More recently, in 1994, BMW took over the British Rover Group, which it owned for six years. The Rover Group, containing Rover, Land Rover, MG brand, Austin and Morris were sold in 2000 due to the losses the ensemble was incurring. BMW kept the rights to construct the new Mini however, which appeared on the roads in 2001.
BMW in sport
Several years BMW has been very successful on the racing course including in
-1966 when Jacky Ickx-Hubert Hahne won the Spa 24 hours in a 2000 Ti.
-1973-75 the coupé 3.0 CSL won the Spa 24 hours and the European Championships
-1983 Nelson Piquet became world champion F1 with a Brabham BMW.
-1992-98 for 7 years in a row BMW won the Spa 24 hours.