When we’re talking about the history of the automotive industry, BMW is right up there with the best of them. But did you know the only reason they started making cars was because they were banned from making airplanes?
With a rich history full of interesting events, let’s look at 7 facts about BMW that you might have not known:
The first BMW was an Austin
After being banned from making airplanes or airplane engines, BMW (previously known as Rapp Motorenwerke) produced motorbikes and later introduced their first car; the BMW 315 (Dixi), but the Dixi was not designed by the company itself. Rather, it was an English Austin.
The logo is not what you think…
People always believed that the logo of BMW resembles a propeller logo in sync with its early engine making origin for airplanes, motorbikes and also the brakes for trains, it is actually a blend of Rapp Motorenwerke (the former name of BMW) and the flag of Bavaria.
BMW broke a record… in altitude
Yeah, we all know that BMW initially made airplane engines when it was established, but did you know that back in 1919, it was a BMW powered biplane that attained the altitude of 32,000 ft, which was the record-breaking height during that time.
And broke another record
This time the broke a record of the fastest motorcycle back in 1937. This bike was capable of 280 km/h thanks to the slick aerodynamic design and supercharged engine.
This motorcycle was basically too fast for whoever owned it. On the bright side though, the bodywork covered the rider so if anything ever went wrong, the rider went down with the bike. Some would call that lethal entrapment.
In the late 1950s, BMW was close to bankruptcy which was a perfect opportunity for Daimler-Benz, the parent company of Mercedes attempted a hostile takeover but, mechanics helped buy back BMW shares. Eventually, a man by the name of Quandt took control; his family still owns a large chunk of the company today.
The electric cars are old news for BMW
When Munich hosted the Olympics in 1972, BMW took that opportunity to show the world what they are capable of by debuting their first electric car, the BMW 1602e which set the foundation for electric cars later.
The M1: a BMW/Lamborghini car
Back in the 1970s BMW and Lamborghini were supposed to collaborate to make BMW’s legendary race car M1 but Lamborghini backed out in the eleventh hour citing financial reasons. Then the supercar M1 was built by BMW and private coachbuilder Baur.
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