31 August 2020
BMW “Z” times three and a curiosity from the history of the MINI brand. This is the squad BMW Group Classic has lined up for the Creme 21 Youngtimer Rally scheduled to roll through Southern Germany from 9 to 13 September 2020. It’s already the 19th edition of the fun-filled event for automobiles originating primarily from the 1970s and 1980s. Once again, the rally is being supported by BMW Group Classic as the main sponsor. This is a good reason for the company to field a posse of special, race-ready treasures from its own collection to take part: a BMW Z1 and two BMW Z8 automobiles. Katarina Witt – two-time Olympic Gold Medallist for figure skating – will be driving one of these roadsters. Another attraction will undoubtedly be the newly restored Mini Moke, a very special version of the British classic that was originally intended as an off-road model for the British Army but is now best remembered in its subsequent recreational role – it became the fave beach buggy for thrill-seekers looking for driving fun on beaches and along coastline corniches all over the world.
You can admire the outline of the BMW M1 and see how the basic shape of an aerodynamic wedge comes to life in the design. You can see how it was driven, for example when racing in the legendary Procar Series. Now, you can even understand the technical concept underlying this dream sports car from the 1970s within the space of just one minute. A fantastic new animation reveals the interior life of the BMW M1 so that an opaque piece of technical jargon like “longitudinally-mounted mid-engine” suddenly becomes completely logical. And simultaneously, it becomes easy to appreciate that the value of 5.6 seconds (acceleration in the sprint from 0 to 100 km/h) is not just a utopian concept. As the fibreglass skin is peeled back, the viewer’s eyes are opened for the engineering underneath the exterior. And commentators on Facebook and Instagram are delighted that there was still space for a full-blooded spare wheel, in spite of all the finesse and minimalism.
All this beautiful wickerwork in the hampers, those charming leather suitcases: An enchanting little collection of historical holiday greetings on Instagram is all about the topic of “classic Mini and baggage”. Naturally, there was always a twinkle in the packer’s eye (how on earth is it all going to fit in?), even though the car was indeed a revolutionary miracle in space. With an external length of 3.05 metres, the diminutive car provided accommodation for four passengers and still left room for 195 litres of luggage in the rear. Surely that’s enough for, let’s say, a reasonable amount of holiday baggage. At any rate, the travellers – pipe in mouth and with a big smile – look as though they are on top of the world. And already one year after the market launch, along came the Morris Mini-Traveller and the Austin Seven Countryman benefiting from 25 cm of additional length and fitted with split rear doors. At last, there’s space for a golf bag – this accessory might well have led to some interesting family conversations in the original Mini.
It was no surprise that the superbike racers Eugene Laverty and Tom Sykes would look great on the new BMW R18 if they rode up to BMW Group Classic – the two BMW works riders from the WorldSBK Team have the look of cool dudes that’s a perfect match with the machine. Laverty and Sykes were on a visit to Moosacher Straße in Munich and this drop-in has been documented in an entertaining film with 13 minutes of exciting footage. The linchpin of the visit is the very first Boxer engine that was built at this precise site 100 years ago. The power plant is displayed in a glass cabinet and it belongs to a collector living near Munich. The engine has never actually been mounted in a bike, rather it provided the horsepower for a pump on a farm. A big bonus for music fans: At the stopover alongside the BMW 507 that once belonged to Elvis Presley, it emerges that Tom Sykes might also be able to earn some decent moolah as an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas.