The BMW Story
In 1913 Karl Rapp established Rapp Motorenwerke builder of airplane engines, which later became Bayerische Motoren Werke, BMW. The name-change to Bayerische Motoren Werke required a new logo. The blue and white panels of the Bavarian national flag were placed at the center of the BMW logo. Not until the late 1920s was the logo interpreted as representing a rotating propeller
After WWI airplane manufacturer Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG (BFw) used it's stock plié of wood, the material from which it had built airplanes, to build furniture. In 1921 BFw began building the Helios motorized bicycle, which used a BMW M2B15 engine.
In 1922 Austrian financier Camillo Castiglioni principle in the Austro-Hungarian aircraft industry during WWI, bought and merged BFw and BMW. He moved BMW into the BFw facilities at Lerchenauer Strasse 76. BMW's headquarters have been at that address ever since.
In 1924 BMW built its first model motorcycle, the R32. This had a 500 cc air-cooled horizontally opposed engine. The major innovation was the use of a driveshaft instead of a chain to drive the rear wheel.
To this day the driveshaft and boxer engine are still used on BMW motorcycles.
With the commencement of WWII Germany's emphasis on aero engines caused BMW AG. to abandon production of non-military motorcycles by 1940.
BMW AG produced a wide range of aero engines for the Luftwaffe, including over 500 jet engines.
BMW AG was heavily bombed, reducing most of the company's production facilities to rubble. BMW began making pots and pans after the war and then built bicycles.
By the end of the 1940s BMW had returned to motorcycle manufacture with the R24
By 1954, Germans were turning away from mopeds and motorcycles toward light automobiles such as the Messerschmitt.
In 1955 BMW marketed the Isetta then in 1957 the Isetta based BMW 600. The 600 could not compete against the larger, more powerful Volkswagen Beetle.
At the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961, BMW launched the 1500 sedan, which later became the 1600, 1800 and finally the 2002.
I entered the repair of European automobiles in 1978 when the 2002 and then the 320i really began to make BMW cars popular in the United States.
Since then BMW has become synonyms with the highest level of European luxury and performance; The Ultimate Driving Machine