On BMW hood: White propeller zipping through the blue sky
We have often been told not to judge a book by its cover. But, when it comes to uber cars, it is unavoidable that their outward appearance primarily takes up one's fancy. In doing so, the vehicle's engine becomes secondary. It is so with cars from German automaker BMW. Putting the sleek to the car industry, BMW models prove that car science can be sexy.
This, however, is far from saying that BMWs are superficial. If you have a BMW, you get to see what its engine is capable of. You don't need those so-called in the know to tell you that BMW started out as an aircraft manufacturer. The BMW roundel, representing a white propeller zipping through the blue sky, is testament to the company's aircraft years between the start of the First World War and the end of the Second World War.
This technology, and its stint during the peace time years that saw BMW dabbling in the production of motorcycles and railway brakes, is crystallized into the first "Ultimate Driving Machine" to roll off the BMW plant in 1960, the highly touted BMW 1500. Billed as powerful compact sedans, early BMW models had it easy searching for identity, thanks to the fixation of 60s car manufacturers on wide-bodied, gas-guzzling vehicles.
Sporting a light build with front disc brakes and four-wheel independent suspension, the BMW 1500 was the first to officially feature the automaker's "Hofmeister kink," the rear window line that has been the hallmark of all BMWs since then. It fared well in the market and became instrumental in BMW's rise from the war rubble.
Proving science can be sexy doesn't mean that BMW has gone soft on its car production, especially in view of its heyday in aircraft manufacturing. Rolling out one deceptively powerful car after another, BMW shows no sign of going soft. In the early 1990s, BMW teamed up with Rolls-Royce, a car maker on a class of its own, to equip the latter with its car machine technology.
The result was an array of sleek cars that do justice to this some sort of marriage between BMW's ultimate driving machines and Rolls-Royce luxury sedans. This team-up culminated in the record-breaking Rolls-Royce Phantom, priced at around US$330,000, which ticked in 796 in worldwide sales last year.
Around the same time BMW teamed up with Rolls-Royce, the German automaker began to reap its long-delayed recognition from the world of motoring sports. In 1995, the BMW-designed McLaren F1 dominated the racing circuit in the mid 90s. It won the FIA GT in 1995 and 1996 and the 24 Hours Le Mans in 1995.
Backed by these accomplishments and its legendary history, it is no surprise that BMW along with sophisticated BMW parts is a major player in the uber car market. Simply named in plain alphanumeric combinations like the M3, 528i, BMW models and even BMW parts may not sound as imposing. But, for the few who have heard of its engine roar, you know that looks and names can sometimes be deceiving. BMW has showed that under its pricey hood, there's the white propeller of its powerful aircraft legacy.