24 February 2016

5 of the Most Unusual BMW Designs Ever!

The BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) German luxury automobile, motorcycle, and engine manufacturing company was founded in 1916, by the merging of three German manufacturers of that era. Surviving several crisis, including heavy bombing of the factory during WWII and a financial crisis in the late fifties, BMW got back on their feet and have gone on to become one of the most popular car manufacturers of all time, owning and producing Mini cars as well as being as the parent company of Rolls-Royce.
This article takes a look at some of the more unusual BMW designs, from concepts to production cars to customisation jobs.

#5 The BMW H2R

Image source: Ygrek / Wiki


The BMW H2R is a liquid hydrogen fuelled racecar that has set 9 international speed records, including maximum speed for a hydrogen combustion engine. This phallic-shaped aerodynamic race car is powered by a 6 litre V12 hydrogen concept engine, incorporating both BMW’s variable valve timing and lift systems. Designed with a lightweight aluminium chassis and frame with a carbon fibre reinforced plastic shell, the BMW HR2 offers maximum stability at high speed. Due to hydrogen being a highly combustible liquid, the car’s fuel tank is equipped with safety switches and vacuum insulated behind double walls.

#4 The BMW E21 320i Roy Lichtenstein Art Car

Image source: Arnaud 25 / Wiki


The BMW E21 320i was the first 3-series to be manufactured by the german automobile producer back in 1975. The car was a 2-door saloon with a cabrio version built by Baur. Around the same time the BMW Art Car project was introduced by French racecar driver Herve Poulain. He wanted to invite an artist to use a car as a canvas and so the BMW Art Car project was formed. Alexander Calder produced the first BMW Art Car, a BMW 3.0 CSL in 1975. There have been 17 contributions to the BMW Art Car project in the years since for both racing and production models. In 1977 Roy Lichtenstein turned a 320i into a piece of art to be used in the Le Mans 24hr race, stylising the vehicle to look like one of his well-known pop art creations.

#3 The BMW Isetta

Image source: Old Farm / Wiki


BMW teamed up with an Italian refrigerator company called Iso Spa, to create this little piece of mechanical history. Produced under licence between 1955-63, the BMW Isetta (meaning little Iso) became the world's first mass-production car to achieve a fuel consumption of 3.3 litres per 100 km travelled. A total of 161,728 units were built during this period which is a decent number of sales for a microcar with a maximum speed of 53mph. The BMW Isetta was popular in the UK due to the fact that the car was perfect for the urban and rural roads of the time, with the first motorway yet to open. Probably the weirdest thing about the Isetta, is that you can enter the vehicle through the car windscreen. Which lead to the British National Health Service providing them free of charge to wheelchair users for a short time.

#2 The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model

Image source: ravas51 / Flickr


The BMW GINA Light Visionary Model is a concept car which sprung forth from the mind of BMW design director Chris Bangle. The “skin” is essentially manufactured polyurethane-coated spandex stretched over a moveable aluminium frame. The unique design of the body means that it can shape-shift, depending on the conditions and speed, or even on the driver’s whim, via a system of electric and hydraulic actuators. A slit in the bonnet allows for access to the engine, which lead to this joke.

#1 This Customised Gold BMW Z4 Dragon


I’m pretty sure that most BMW fans will be horrified to see this custom design Z4 from China, yet a handful will probably love it. Splayed over a rather gaudy gold paint job, sits a dragon complete with tail, claws and wings sculpted from yak bones, which are indigenous in the mountains of China. The bonnet is entirely covered in scales made from bone which protrude to form the nose of the dragon, whilst the claws appear to grip the wheels at the side. The weight of this added customisation must drastically affect the aerodynamics and speed of the vehicle but one thing is certain, it’s hard not to appreciate the work that must have gone into this BMW customisation.

So as you can see, owning a BMW isn’t all about being stylish. It’s a versatile brand that can both adapt to their consumers needs and focus on environmental factors, without losing its iconic luxury status. If you’re thinking about customising your BMW in the future, there are a number of BMW specialists up and down the UK available to help.

About the Blogger

Hayley Reeve

Editor

Hayley Reeve is the editor at Motor Heads.

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