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The BMW Museum
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On our way home in October last year from the Hungaroring, we made a stop-over in Munich to visit the BMW Museum. The home of the collection, which has existed since 1973, was incorporated in the newly set-up BMW-Welt building. In its current guise the BMW Museum opened to the public in 2008.

The collection comprises a significant part of the BMW history, not only cars as can be expected, but also a large selection of motorcycles, and references to the beginnings of the company as a builder of aircraft engines and to the Mini and Rolls Royce period from later days. At the time of our visit the "bowl" part of the building contained the "100-masterpiece" exhibition, specifically set up at the occasion of 100 years of BMW. which was celebrated world-wide during 2016. As is the case with many modern museums these days, some pieces were given on loan for other shows, and in our case the completely restored BMW 507, once owned by Elvis Presley was not in the building, although the extensive restoration process was documented with a number of photographs. Probably in any other case, a void in the exhibition could have been filled with another car, without being noted, but in this case BMW opted to not to do this. For us it was not so much of a problem as the car had already been shown in its full glory at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours. The spot in the exhibition had been clearly marked by a DECCA record.

Among 100 masterpieces were the obvious ones, which were all chosen because of their historic meaning for BMW, but also some lesser known cars. The BMW 303 represents the first inline six cylinder engine and was the first car sporting the famous kidney grille. Examples of a 700 and a 1500 model were put side by side, as these two cars were almost solely responsible for the re-emergence of BMW as a significant car maker during the sixties, after a financially troubled period in the fifties. Of course the E9 CSL and the first 5 Series model (E12) were also included, as well as the V12 LMR, which gave BMW its first overall Le Mans victory.

The actual museum itself has been set up according to themes and periods in the history of the company. Not necessarily in historic order, one can wander along the various large rooms, passing from a selections of more recent Formula One activities to a complete overview of all the various developments of the 3-series, for years the backbone of BMW's output. There is a nice section also on all of the touring car race activities, in which BMW has participated since the arrival of the 700 CS. One of the first achievements of note came in 1965 when an 1800 TI/SA won the Spa 24 Hours. Since then many kidneys crossed the finish line ahead of the competition. For the more technically interested visitors a special room shows quite a lot of the race engines including the M12/13 that was the famous qualification bomb in Formula One, extracting well over 1,100 BHP from 1,500 cc. While all this took place during the mid eighties, the actual basis for this engine formed the humble M10, that was used in the 1500 model, introduced in 1961, and producing 80 BHP at the time.

Scattered around the building are also the 328 that won the 1940 Mille Miglia, and one of the famous M1 art cars, in this case the Andy Warhol car, that came second in class during the 1979 Le Mans 24 hours.

For the fan and for the casual visitor alike, the BMW museum offers a nicely presented overview of now 101 years of activities. For those who cannot make it immediately to Munich we have prepared this 90-shot gallery, which we hope will make you even more eager to visit the museum.


Report and images by Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.