A Short History Of BMW


Most of us take our cars for granted, car detailing melbourne rarely taking the time to reflect on the history of the companies that manufacture them, but all of the car brands known to us took decades to evolve and develop into the companies we know today and there is perhaps no car with as interesting a history as the BMW.

Names and Origins

BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke, which is German for ‘Bavarian Motor Works’, and was formed after a restructuring of Rapp Motorenwerke in 1917.

Rapp Motorenwerke had been constructing aircraft engines for the Austrian brand Austro-Daimler and BMW experienced massive growth during the war years as wartime Germany needed aircraft engines in large numbers and BMW’s Munich factory quickly became a hothouse of activity.

World War I

However, the production of these engine ground to a halt in 1918 with the end of the war and post-war restrictions that were imposed on the German state.

This was catastrophic for BMW at the time as they had been exclusively producing aircraft engines and the factory’s closure was ordered in December of 1918 by the Bavarian Commissioner for Demobilization.

Adapting to the Post-War Reality

In 1919, the factory reopened and changed its focus to suit a Germany that was no longer at war. The factory that once provided engines for German aircraft began to produce engines for all kinds of civilian vehicles as well as pneumatic brakes, which allowed them to get by over the next few years.

In the early 1920s, BMW managed to secure a deal with Russia and began manufacturing aircraft engines once again and they continued to do so until 1931.

BMW’s First Motorbikes and Cars

In addition to their dealings with the Russians in the twenties, BMW launched their first motor bike in 1923. The profitable R32 motorbike was the first of BMW’s independent vehicles and was the first in a long line of popular automobiles constructed by the German company.

BMW manufactured the Dixi Austin Seven under license in 1927 and a year later BMW bought the company and created the first BMW car (the BMW 3/15) with the help of the Dixie designs. The first BMW car designed by BMW engineers was the BMW AM1 which was produced between 1932 and 1934.

Since these beginnings, BMW has gone on to become one of the most well-known and widely respected car manufacturers in the world and BMW cars are consistently lauded by critics and the public alike for their attractive appearance and their excellent performance. So next time you see a BMW, spare a thought for the colorful origins of the company all those years ago and think of how far the company has come since then.

This article was written by BMW enthusiast Paul Howard who has experience both as a mechanic and in the BMW service industry.