Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,369 pages of information and 233,846 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.


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1937. BMW 320. Reg No: V 0507.
Reg No: H577X--.
April 1940.
1945. Jumo 0004B Turbo Jet Unit.
1945. BMW 003 Turbo Jey Unit-Port Side.
Coupe. Reg No: LAS 894.
Coupe. Reg No: LAS 894.
1953. Rear Axle and Suspension of BMW Car.
1959. Bubble Car. Reg No: CAS 801.
1959. B.M.W. Coupe with rear-mounted, air cooled twin cylinder engine.
Oct 1966.
Oct 1966.
Frazer-Nash / BMW. Reg No: FMC 119.
Frazer-Nash / BMW. Reg No: FMC 119.
October 1967. BMW 1600.
October 1968. BMW 1600.
October 1972. Models 3.0CSL and 520.
October 1973.
July 1977. LHS.
July 1977. RHS.
Reg No: V780 HKX.

BMW was founded by Karl Rapp originally as an engine manufacturer, Rapp Motor.

Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH was founded as a successor company to Rapp Motor on July 21, 1917.

In 1916 the company secured a contract to build V12 engines for Austro-Daimler. Needing extra financing, Rapp gained the support of Camillo Castiglioni, Cornelius Jagdmann and Max Friz, the company was reconstituted as the Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH. Over-expansion caused difficulties; Rapp left and the company was taken over by the Austrian industrialist Franz Josef Popp in 1917, and named BMW AG in 1918.

After World War I, the Treaty of Versailles (1919) prohibited the production of aircraft in Germany. Otto closed his factory and BMW switched to manufacturing railway brakes.

In 1919 BMW designed its first motorcycle engine, used in a model called the Victoria, which was built by a company in Nuremberg.

In 1924 BMW built its first model motorcycle, the R32. This had a 500 cc air-cooled horizontally-opposed engine, a feature that would resonate among their various models for decades to come, albeit with displacement increases and newer technology. The major innovation was the use of a driveshaft instead of a chain to drive the rear wheel. For decades to follow, the shaft-drive boxer engine was the mark of the BMW motorcycle.

In 1927 the tiny Dixi, an Austin Seven produced under licence, began production in Eisenach. BMW bought the Dixi Co the following year, and this became the company's first car, the BMW 3/15. By 1933 BMW was producing cars that could be called truly theirs, offering steadily more advanced I6 sports and saloons (sedans). The pre-war cars culminated in the 327 coupé and convertible, the 328 roadster, fast 2.0 L cars, both very advanced for their time, as well as the upscale 335 luxury sedan.

See Also


Sources of Information

[1] Wikipedia