BMW is a manufacturer that has a storied past and they continue to go to great lengths to keep that history alive and well. Through the BWM Museum and BMW Welt the public can see and experience all things BMW, past, present and future but how does the past come alive- that is where BMW Classic plays a key. BMW Classic is tasked with preserving, restoring, archiving and communicating about all things of BMW ‘s past.
BMW Classic maintains the museum and Welt ‘s exhibits as well as acquires new items for the collection. Most of the vehicles in the Collection are drivable, and some can be rented to be driven on public streets. At the Welt you can even take short rides (when they are available) in a car from BMW Classic, for example an Isetta. BMW Classic also regularly displays cars from the collection at certain auto shows and even Motorsport races.
BMW Classic a few years ago began restoring cars and stocking/making parts to sell to customers for their own personal cars. Customer restoration projects are continuously being undertaken- sometimes they take years to complete in the BMW Classic Workshop. Verifying the authenticity of cars as part of BMW Vehicle Expertise for various customers is part of what BMW can accomplish with the use of the archives and knowledge of BMW production (including racing products).
The Vehicle Expertise service provides individuals with information about the originality and the condition of their classic vehicle. Vehicle Expertise uses years of experience to test the originality of historical BMWs and can even provide appraisal services for those looking to buy or sell a historical BMW.
The warehouse where BMW Classic stores cars in their collection not on display or that are currently undergoing service or repair is unassuming. Not a huge surprise as it is not open to the general public- although for a trunk full of euros it can be rented out for dinners and events as was the case during our visit. Inside this vault like BMW heaven are several floors of pristine, cars, bikes and engines from BMW past.
Production cars, race winners, losers, prototypes and movie icons all live in harmony behind these walls. Sounds like a museum but there is something raw and unpredictable about entering a warehouse- you never know what to expect and BMW Classic is much the same as cars rotate in and out fairly often.
As expected, the warehouse held some of BMW ‘s greatest treasures, the BMW 507, BMW 328, and Pre- WWII racing machines. The shear number of cars was what was most shocking- there was an endless sea of Roundels. Racers from the Mille Miglia are works of art and speed- just breathtaking. The number of cars was spectacular as was the variety.
Front and center there was the famed Hans Stück piloted E53 X5 Le Mans. For those unfamiliar with the beast; take and E53 X5 and shoehorn a 700 hp V12 LMR F1 race engine (still holds the ‘Ring SUV record at 7:49).
McLaren F1s with their precious gold heat shielding in street and race forms- as gold rises so does the value of these cars! James Bond was represented by the E38 7 Series he remotely drove- nifty rear seat steering setup for the real driver and 007 ‘s very own Z8 roadster.
We learned something new during this excursion into the clouds, the M1 had a concept car before its launch – the fluorescent orange 1972 BMW Turbo Concept.
BMW Classic has the original M built “IS “, Italian Special, designed to give the Italians the E30 M3 without them having to pay all the taxes of a true M3 (brilliant).
Yes, that is a V16 in an E32. Code named “Goldfish ” the 6.7l 408hp 7 series had to have some trick plumping done for cooling, rear mounted radiator fed by side gills in the rear fenders. This is an example of what German engineers can do when they are given copious amounts of freedom in thought and design- its not practical but you have got to give them a huge hand for even getting the prototype approved.
The Ariel Atom always seemed like a great car for track enthusiasts, a real original idea to us, BMW thought so too but they created the 4/2 Concept many years before Ariel or the Atom came into existence. The board thought the car would be a huge failure and it was shelved along with the Z18 concept that is coincidently parked next to it.
MINI is even represented in the BMW Classic warehouse, including a Monte Carlo Rally entry.
BMW F1 cars- they are stored here too.
Throughout the warehouse were car parts, engines, and periodicals containing BMW news or advertisement. One of the most interesting components was the original dual scroll turbo used in the Brabham F1 car. That ‘s right, dual scroll that long ago.
Enjoy the remainder of the photos in the gallery!