6 April 2020
The first motorcycle engine to emerge from the fledgling BMW stable 100 years ago was dubbed “Bayern Kleinmotor” or “Bavaria Small Engine”. Initially, this power pack was produced for supply to an array of other motorcycle manufacturers. This was an important turning point in the development of the company because the Boxer layout with its horizontally opposed cylinders became part of the DNA of BMW. The classic#heart blog teases out an interesting aspect of this story. The design engineer Martin Stolle, alongside Max Friz the most important originator of the engine, didn’t feel valued enough in Munich and successfully moved on to continue his career with competing motorcycle manufacturer Victoria in Nuremberg. The company already purchased large quantities of the “Bayern-Kleinmotor”. Meanwhile, Friz took time out at home and designed a complete motorcycle from scratch. The result was the famed BMW R 32 – the platform for the enduring success story of BMW motorcycles powered by Boxer engines.
“These people are genuine”: This sentence is spoken by Rauno Aaltonen, in a must-see YouTube clip about him lining up at the start of the Monte Carlo Rally Historique 2017. It captures the quintessential spirit of classic motor sport. Fifty years after the third outright victory by the classic Mini at the Monte Carlo Rally, the winner of yesteryear went back and once again drove up hill, down dale and through villages along the Côte d'Azur. Everywhere he went, Aaltonen came across authentic, genuine fans of the car and the opportunities it offers. As in days of old, the “Rally Professor” from Finland had carried out his preparations with meticulous care, assisted by BMW Group Classic. Now, aged nearly 80 years, he savoured the memory of his glorious success back in 1967. And Rauno was over the moon about the characteristics of his refurbished Mini Cooper S: “50 years ago we won this and this car feels exactly the same,” was his verdict.
Over the past few weeks, hashtag #winterwithinka provided a unique and touching trip down memory lane and joyful times. This was not just about the 1970s when the first generation BMW 525 was something avant-garde and exciting. This winter when the classic car in the Inka Orange livery was on an extended road trip with a string of drivers at the wheel, the whole thing was about meeting friends and taking fantastic pictures. You can now see the whole project come alive in evocative photos on all channels, and Inka is back in perfect shape. Experts at BMW Group Classic have been making the most of their spare time to develop a follow-up project.