20 April 2020
The fantastic historic collection of BMW is now closed for the time being. Absolutely tragic and a truly bitter pill. But clouds may have a silver lining and somebody gets a good idea. This is one such instance: “Inside BMW Group Classic” is a new weekly video series where team members of BMW Group Classic take a sneak peek behind the scenes and tell stories about the collection. The first episode is all about a BMW M3 that isn’t so easy to get started. The community shares the excitement. The second clip is about a very special classic Mini and its driver: the “Rally Professor” Rauno Aaltonen.
A shared passion for classic vehicles and the sheer joy of swapping stories forge that sense of togetherness in the community of more than 700 BMW Clubs and MINI Clubs all over the world. Their members share the enthusiasm for looking after and preserving historic automobiles and motorcycles. As loyal and enthusiastic ambassadors of the brands, they also make an important contribution to bringing the fascination of classics to life for their fellow fans. We are going to present BMW Clubs and Mini Clubs from all over the world in a new series running regularly in this Newsletter. The Mini Club in Serbia is launching the series. Fans of the classic Mini meet up to chew the rag at a hub in the heart of Belgrade. They wield their spanners and carry out restoration in an old warehouse that is deeply embedded in the capital’s counterculture. The Belgrade spannermen also organise the Balkan Mini Meeting that last year even attracted visitors from Italy, Germany and the United Kingdom. Anybody wanting to put forward their club – or make a different proposal for the Newsletter – should send an email to this address: email@example.com.
In a nutshell, the era of BMW as a serial winner in motor sport started with a misguided educational venture attempted by Kohlrausch senior. The father of Robert aka “Bobby” Kohlrausch gave his son a new BMW 3/15 PS DA 3 Wartburg sports car to dissuade him from engaging in death-defying, derring-do motorcycle racing on a Wanderer motorcycle. But the young engineering student from Eisenach naturally used the first roadster model from BMW to enter car races. And he immediately drove to a number of victories in the roadster, which was initially only powered by 18 hp. Very soon, the rookie driver was the beneficiary of works support from BMW. The “Mobile Tradition” magazine in the BMW Group Archive has a great article on Kohlrausch. It recounts the career of the man who already forged the sporting image of the BMW marque on the race track in the early days of motor sport.
The cliché of “cult” is naturally an ideal fit for the classic Mini. However, it is very much an understatement as far as this trailblazing car is concerned as the classic#heart blog makes clear. This is because lifestyle issues were pretty much irrelevant to the early purchasers of the pint-sized car. What customers wanted was an affordable, reliable and flexible means of transport. This was exactly how the classic Mini saw itself, particularly when soon after it was launched, smart versions with an equally small footprint arrived in the form of the estate, van and pick-up. A “serious” car of many talents. Adding a touch of “cult” was a matter of course.