4 May 2020
Such a tale of the unexpected is rarely seen at motor shows, even though manufacturers sometimes come up with awesome ideas. When the BMW C1 scooter was unveiled as a design study in 1992, it was a moment of jaw-dropping surprise. A curvaceous protective roll cage over a scooter gave the rider the option of donning a lounge suit and it wasn’t even compulsory to wear a helmet – this showboating design was boldly conceived and it incorporated some sophisticated engineering. By 2004, nearly 34 000 BMW C1 scooters had left the factory. Today, many of them remain in the possession of aficionados and they are lovingly cared for and cherished. What’s more, they still make a splash. “A tale of the unexpected”, as the BMW C1 is referred to in the classic#heart blog, has developed into a futuristic classic.
The showplace for the videoclip series “Inside BMW Group Classic” relocates from the vehicle collection in Moosacher Straße to the BMW Museum. Ralph Huber, Head of the BMW Museum and Communication at BMW Group Classic, presents his favourite haunts. The first aero-engine (1916), the first motorcycle (1923), the first automobile (1929) – this really is a must-see clip. But Huber’s real favourite actually comes under the category of “secret tip”: a slot for the BMW Isetta “Motocoupé” and all the myriad possibilities that came with it. A photo wall with “user generated content from the 1950s” (according to the witty commentary) presents weddings, outings, Alpine crossings and the impressive ensemble of the “Motocoupé” generating 13 hp with a caravan attached. That must have been genuine slow living . . .
Massive self-assurance is needed for the ambition to improve a spectacular automobile like the BMW 507 roadster. However, the Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti had already achieved fame for the successful designs he had penned for a string of distinguished marques. Michelotti had also established an illustrious reputation for his reinterpretations of distinguished cars when he penned a new metal dress to clothe the BMW 507 in 1957. The unique creation did not disappoint – styled with sharp edges rather than swept-back curves and bodied with a more aggressive profile. The prototype from 1959 has enjoyed an exciting history, which includes episodes featuring the Earl of Chichester and the Blackhawk Collection in California. Since 2004, the BMW 3200 Michelotti Vignale has been owned by the BMW Group Classic.
The logo reveals a lot about the origins of the club. It clearly shows a BMW 328, the marque’s first genuine sports car. During the late 1970s, the founders of the BMW Classic Car Club of America had a penchant for the marque’s pre-war models, and the concept of “vintage” had long been an intrinsic part of the club’s name. Naturally, all the models up until the early 1990s are now represented, but the Internet website and the quarterly magazine “The Ultimate Classic” reveal that vintage gems are still highly respected and valued. There’s no doubt that the club’s catchment area measuring 28 times the size of Germany makes club life for around 400 members rather inconvenient – but then, “have car, will travel” is the motto for those who are spectacularly well motorised.