March 07, 2006

Today in Automotive History

1916 BMW is born

The manufacturing firms of Karl Rapp and Gustav Otto merged to form the Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (Bavarian Aircraft Works). The company would later become the Bayerische Motor-Werke (Bavarian Motor Works or BMW). As the original name suggests, BMW began as a manufacturer of aircaft engines. In 1923, BMW built its first motorcycle. The BMW R12, a classic-looking BMW motorcycle, was the first motorcycle to have a telescopic hydraulic front fork, providing a smoother ride and better contact with the road. BMW is still the leader in motorcycle design and production in Europe. In 1929, BMW built its first car, the Dixi, in a factory in Eisenach, Germany. Prior to opening the factory in Eisenach, all BMW products had been manufactured in Munich. By 1938, BMW was racing in the biggest car races in Europe. The 328 won its class at the Mille Miglia Italian road race. The outbreak of World War II saw BMW, like its U.S. counterparts, switch production to war manufacturing. BMW facilities were destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. After the peace, a three-year ban was imposed on BMW by the Allies for its part in the war. The BMW R24 motorcycle became, with its release in 1948, the company's first post-war product. BMW completed its first postwar car, the 501, in 1951. BMW is still one of the world's leading automobile manufacturers. The company is noted for its innovations in the field of ABS, Anti-Lock Breaking Systems.

Posted by Quality Weenie at March 7, 2006 07:57 AM | TrackBack