The History of BMW

BMW AG is a car, motorcycle, engine and bicycle manufacturer headquartered in Munich, Germany. The company owns the Mini and Rolls-Royce brands. It is one of the top three German manufacturers of premium cars, which lead in sales worldwide.

In 1913, two small aircraft engine companies were founded in Munich by Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto. After the outbreak of World War I demand for their products increased sharply, and the owners of the two companies decided to merge. Thus in 1917, a company called Bayerische MotorenWerke ('Bavarian Engine Plants') was founded. After the war, the production of aircraft engines in Germany was prohibited under the Treaty of Versailles. Then the owners of the company turned to the production of motorcycle engines, and later motorcycles. However, despite the high quality of products, the company's business was not good. In the early 20s, BMW was bought by businessmen Gothaer and Shapiro. In 1928 they bought a car plant in Eisenach, and with it the right to produce Dixi cars, which were reworked British Austin 7. The small-capacity Dixi was quite progressive for its time: it had a four-cylinder engine, electric starter and four-wheel brakes. The car immediately became popular in Europe: 15,000 Dixi were produced in 1928 alone. In 1929, the model was renamed BMW 3/15 DA-2.

In the years of the Great Depression, the Bavarian automobile concern survived by producing licensed small cars. However, soon it became clear, that a manufacturer of aircraft engines with a world reputation could not be satisfied with production of the British car. Then BMW engineers started working on their own car. The first BMW model of its own design was 303. It got off to a strong start in the market immediately thanks to its six-cylinder 1.2 liter engine with 30 horsepower. Weighing only 820 kg, the car had an excellent dynamic performance for the time. The first sketches of the design of the distinctive grille in the form of elongated ovals were shown then.

Bavarian automaker decided to concentrate on production of mass-market cars. The first of these was Isetta model with interesting design. It was a car of a very small class with a door, which opened at the front of the body. It was a very cheap car, ideal for short distances. In some countries, it could only be driven with a motorcycle license. The car was equipped with a 0.3 liter single-cylinder engine with an output of 13 hp. The power plant allowed it to run up to 80 km/hour. For those who like to travel a small trailer with a sleeping place and a half was available. There was also a cargo version of the model with a small trunk, which was used by the police. Until the early 1960s, about 160,000 units of the car were produced. It was the car that helped the company to survive in times of financial difficulties.

In 1955, the BMW 503 made its debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show. Abandoning the center pillar made the body especially stylish, under the hood there was a 140 hp V8, and the top speed of 190 km/h finally made people fall in love with it. The price of DM29,500 made it unaffordable for the masses: only 412 BMW 503s were produced. A year later, the stunning 507 Roadster was launched. Count Albrecht Hertz worked on its design. The car was equipped with a 3.2-liter V8 engine, which developed 150 hp. The model could reach 220 km/hour. It is also famous that out of 252 produced copies one was bought by Elvis Presley, who served in Germany. Do not forget to use BMW VIN decoder in order to avoid potential problems when buying a used car.

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