8 June 2020
Seeing this bullet car on the road would have been a truly special kind of experience. The slippery-fast speed merchant was made of carbon fibre and stood just 1.10 metres off the ground. The projectile had been designed like a metaphor for speed, half Formula 1 and half science fiction. The prototype was powered by a twelve-cylinder engine taken from the BMW 750i. Fabrizio Giugiaro, at the time a mere 26 years of age, was responsible for penning the design of the BMW Nazca M12 in 1991. The son of the founder of Italdesign and celebrated designer Giorgetto Giugiaro demonstrated his maturity and imagination when he conjured up the breath-taking form that thrilled visitors and onlookers at the Geneva Motor Show. However, the car failed to make it into series production, even on a small scale – the prototype remained one of a number of “forgotten heroes” immortalised in the treasure trove of BMW Group Classic. These gems are being featured gradually in the classic#heart blog.
The fans have been clamouring for a particular topic, and here it is. This time, the hosts of the video-clip series “Inside BMW Group Classic” are indulging in the world of the second-generation BMW M5. The high-performance models combined sporting athleticism (an inline six-cylinder engine initially generating 315 hp, and then 340 hp from 1991) with plenty of capability for endurance, and functionality in hitherto unknown perfection. The cars featured in the clip include the company car of the Chairman of BMW AG at the time, Bernd Pietschesrieder, (a BMW M5 Touring!) and one of the legendary “Ring Taxis”. Visitors to the Nürburgring could have themselves chauffeured round the legendary “Green Hell” in this car by a racing driver – naturally at express speed and on the ideal line.
On 15 May, a new exhibition entitled “Genesis” should have opened its doors in Spartanburg/South Carolina. The BMW Car Club of America Foundation has a fabulous museum near the location of the BMW plant in America. Since the opening had to be postponed, all of us are able to enjoy a virtual tour presenting the history of the company from the beginnings to the era of the “New Class” in a short video of captivating images. Jackie Jouret, motoring journalist and creative director at the BMW CCA Foundation, takes us through the fascinating story. She’s a familiar figure on the BMW scene because she managed to track down Elvis Presley’s BMW 507 for BMW Group Classic in 2012. Jackie Jouret also produced the beautiful exhibition catalogue.
It would be entirely wrong to assume that Sir Alec Issigonis rested on the laurels of success earned from his brainchild the classic Mini. Quite the contrary. The industrious design engineer was determined to further exploit the principle of creative use of space. His motivation was instrumental in developing the Mini 9X Hatchback prototype, which Issigonis presented in 1969 as a potential successor to his classic creation. Although this vehicle was a shade shorter than the original, it actually provided even more space within the interior, alongside a significantly more modern bodywork structure and upgraded engine technology. However, this particular car was not destined to achieve series production. Instead, the Mini Clubman came along with a completely remodelled front end. And the classic Mini was privileged to look forward to another three wonderful decades. Today, the Mini 9X Hatchback prototype is at home in the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, 65 kilometres north of the MINI plant in Oxford, and it can now be admired on Instagram.