9 March 2020
This anecdote was regaled by Adolf Fischer, an erstwhile development engineer for power units, when he called in on BMW Group Classic in celebration of his 80th birthday. In July 1987, his boss Dr Karlheinz Lange asked him to develop a new machine at double-quick speed. Fischer answered: “The engine will be under the Xmas Tree.” The tree would have had to be pretty big because this was the legendary 16-cylinder engine with the code name “Goldfish”. It was mounted in a second-generation BMW 7 Series – and intended simply for demonstration purposes to explore the technical possibilities. Lack of space meant that the cooling system had to be installed in the boot (hence the side “gills”). The “Goldfish” saloon is part of the vehicle collection of BMW Group Classic. It represents a monument to the spirit of innovation and engineering artistry – and a unique custom special because series production of the 16-cylinder engine generating 408 hp was never envisioned.
Photographing one of the most beautiful automobiles ever built within a newly choreographed setting is a big challenge. A radical idea is the best approach – cropped photographs showing details against a rugged Alpine backdrop. This is how the BMW 507 Roadster is presented in a current series of photographs. The shape penned by German designer Albrecht Graf Goertz in New York was already perceived as a major event when it was presented in 1955. The same is true of the lightweight alloy V8 engine that propelled Hans Stuck and other racing drivers to a string of victories in subsequent years. Only 251 cars were built. Keeping them in tip-top condition in accordance with their original design is a hobby for collectors but also much more than that: it serves to secure a manifestation of automobile heritage. BMW Group Classic takes curatorial care of several BMW 507 cars, including the model supplied to Elvis Presley in 1958, driven by the “King” during his military service in Germany, as well as two prototypes.
It’s doubtful whether even a clairvoyant could have predicted in 1959 that the classic Mini would one day become one of the coolest cars on the planet. There were also no indications that a cargo platform would be added as early as 1960 to create an additional model version with the simple name of Pick-up. The stowage area was 1.20 metres long and had a practical tailgate that hinged down flat. This vehicle provided a reliable and affordable helping hand for many small businesses. Although an impressive 58,000 units were produced, the pick-up is generally viewed as an idiosyncratic retrofit construction whenever one happens to pop up. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Mini Pick-up was absolutely ideal for “a hard day’s work”, just like it says in the classic#heart blog – it was a “Working Class Hero”.
The village of Geiselwind nestles between Bamberg and Würzburg and its main attraction is a leisure park with a regional reputation. All that is about to change! This summer, the modest community in Franconia is going to be the showground for the International Mini Meeting 2020. After the anniversary party held in Bristol in 2019, the fan community of the classic Mini and the modern MINI is once again coming to Germany. On the weekend from 4 to 8 June, Geiselwind is expecting visitors from 35 countries. Good to know: A number of organisers from Mini IG Bamberg gained experience at the “Rock am Ring” festival – everybody will benefit from that.