Monday 25 June 2018

BMW Museum a must-see for lovers of BMW's golden oldies

In focus: BMW Museum

BMW ‘Dixie’
BMW ‘Dixie’
BMW 3.0 CSL Coupe
BMW Batmobile

John Galvin, Munich

I FIRST visited BMW's museum in Munich many years ago but it recently had a major revamp, along with the addition of BMW World.

It's now a must-visit destination for any car enthusiast.

BMW World itself is like a huge car dealership with examples of pretty much the entire range represented.

Only recently, models from MINI and Rolls Royce have joined the party, completing the family line-up.

Even the building is impressive, situated right across the road from BMW's headquarters, which are shaped like a four-cylinder engine.

The museum's exterior hasn't changed at all but it has been completely redesigned inside to reflect the company's 101-year-old history.

It may be surprising, but BMW don't really have a rich racing heritage. That said, there are still some iconic cars on display, including the first cars produced, which were based on the Austin 7.

Soon after, BMW were designing their own cars and produced some classics, including the 328 from the 1930s and the truly exquisite 507 from the 1950s.

Unfortunately, arguably the most famous exhibit was missing during our visit. When Elvis Presley was stationed in Germany, he drove a BMW 507 that was lost for decades. It has since been found and fully restored but we never got the chance to see it.

What we did see, though, was BMW's Classic Department, which is not normally opened to outsiders. Located in the first BMW factory, subsequently sold and bought back by the company, it now houses workshops and archives dedicated to repairing and restoring older cars and ensuring as many as possible stay on the road.

To prove their credentials, in 2005, they rebuilt a classic 2002 tii from completely re-manufactured parts.

The department now has more than 60,000 parts available and have an entire team dedicated to finding original, unused parts located around the world and buying them back.

While we were there, we saw several M1s, the beautiful mid-engined sports car from the 1980s and a gorgeous 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'.

While it's lovely to look at old cars and appreciate their beauty, BMW aren't forgetting about the future.

We met with specialists from BMW's i division, who briefed us on plans for future electric cars, including iNEXT, an autonomous crossover with a real world range of over 300km. It's expected in 2021.

Keeping an eye on the past while looking to the future. It's not a bad philosophy.

Irish Independent

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