25 May 2020
Curator of the BMW Museum, Dr Andreas Braun, once again proves to be a source of fascinating anecdotes in the new episode of the series “Inside BMW Group Classic”. One example is the story of how a number of Rolls-Royce cars made it to the top of the BMW Museum for an exhibition some years ago. They had to be moved up the spiral ramp integrated within the museum, rather like that of a circular multi-storey car park – leaving just two centimetres to spare in the case of the Phantom. Then there is the puzzle of which single, small part the great designer Albrecht Graf Goertz had to incorporate into the BMW 507 because it had already been produced for another car. The answer is provided at the end of an entertaining video lasting around 3:30 minutes.
The Transfagarasan Road (Romanian: Transfăgărășan) was completed in 1974. The Carpathian Pass is one of the most spectacular mountain roads on earth. 1974 was also the great era of the BMW 3.0 CSL in motor sport, when BMW Motorsport GmbH – founded just two years previously – achieved the first high point in its success story. Two icons have now come together: Jochen Neerpasch, founder of BMW Motorsport GmbH, is driving the BMW 3.0 CSL around the winding hairpin bends of Romania’s dream road. The vehicle is owned by the Romanian hillclimb racing driver Eduard Tonsch. Eyewitnesses report that Neerpasch at the age of 80 has lost virtually nothing of the intuition and class of the former racing driver. This can all be seen in the YouTube video filmed on location, also featuring Neerpasch talking about his long and illustrious career.
Naturally, a cutaway cross-section of the classic Mini is initially rather a painful experience for the runabout’s true fans. The unusual insight can be seen on Instagram but the initial shock is definitely worth it. This is because the image fully reveals the ingenious concept developed by designer Alec Issigonis. The gearbox positioned beneath the transverse mounted four-cylinder engine, the skilfully partitioned interior, everything was designed to accommodate four people and their luggage comfortably within a length of 3.05 metres. The fact that this still allowed a car with fantastic handling to emerge, still seems like a minor miracle more than 60 years later.