A Brief History of the BMW

A Brief History of the BMW - Motorwerkes - BMW Repair Experts Calgary

You may have read our blog recounting the history of the famous BMW roundel. There is, however, always more to a company than its logo. As experts on the work of such a time-tested brand, we’re always eager to dig into its past and find out more. Here’s how it all started.

Early Origins

For much of World War I, German mechanical engineer Karl Rapp operated Rapp Motorenwerke, one of the central military aircraft engine manufacturers in the German state of Bavaria. With the arrival of a new engineer named Max Friz, Rapp Motorenwerke designed the groundbreaking IVa engine that would radically change the shape and reputation of the company. Rapp resigned in 1916 and the manufacturer was eventually restructured and merged with two others to form Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works).

Branching Out

The end of World War I had a significant effect on the newly-formed BMW company. A clause in the Treaty of Versailles restricting German aircraft engineering meant that the design of other technologies was necessary. After further restructuring and a change of logo in the early ‘20s, BMW built its first complete vehicle: the R32 motorcycle, establishing the boxer-twin shaft-drive powertrain layout that BMW still uses today. In 1928, they produced their first automobile, the Dixi, and less than a decade later introduced the famous 328. This model redefined the sports car and made automotive history. BMW grew to become a global-scale company in the early ‘70s, founded its Research and Innovation Centre in 1990, and has remained at the forefront of vehicle design and engineering since.

Toward the Future

With nearly a century of production to their name, the future of automotive design holds interesting prospects for BMW. Demand for electric mobility and other sustainable technologies is creating a complex new chapter in the company’s history. Focus these days is on increased efficiency and decreased carbon footprint in the product lifecycle, including recycled materials, lightweight construction, and the continued development of bivalent hydrogen/gasoline engines. From the innovative IVa aircraft engine to the hydrogen-based car of the future, things have certainly come a long way.

Whether it’s a simple repair or an impressive performance upgrade, we at MotorWerkes believe your BMW should be in the hands of a team that loves it as much as you do! To find out what we can do for your vehicle, feel free to get in touch with us at (403) 453-0269.

The Origins of the BMW Logo

The Origins of the BMW Logo - Motorwerkes - BMW Service Centre Calgary

One of the most recognizable features on any BMW vehicle is its logo. This timeless insignia has come to represent one of the most respected names in vehicle design and manufacturing, but how did it come about? Let’s dig into the history of our favorite make and find out.

Out With the Old

The BMW logo — or “roundel” to be more precise — has its origins in the logo used for the Rapp Motorenwerke company, the aircraft manufacturer from which Bayerische Motorenwerke as we know it today would eventually evolve. This early logo consisted of a circle containing the figure of a black horse. The words “Rapp Motor” were curved along the top and bottom portions of the circle, not unlike the letters “BMW” on the current symbol. After the expansion and renaming of the company, it was decided to create a new logo based somewhat on the black horse design.

In With the New

Ultimately, it was decided to replace the black horse silhouette with four quadrants of alternating blue and white. This pattern and its colours were taken from the flag of Bavaria, the southeastern German state where Rapp Motorenwerke originated. This is characteristic of the sense of patriotism surrounding the company’s emblem and its historical context, as Rapp Motorenwerke was one of the most important German aircraft engine manufacturers during World War I. The fact that the logo is in the style of an aircraft roundel is in keeping with the company’s roots as a proud and significant contributor to the war effort.

The Propellor Myth

This origin is a bit different from the common myth. Many assume that the alternating blue and white pattern is meant to represent a rotating airplane propellor. This arose from a 1929 BMW technical magazine, the cover of which featured an illustration portraying the front ends of two airplanes. The features of the roundel were drawn into their rotating airscrews, including the BMW text. The illustration is therefore mistakenly credited for the genesis of the roundel, despite the fact that it was published long after the new logo had been established. Decades later, it represents a household name and unparalleled legacy in vehicle engineering and design.

We at Motorwerkes aren’t just experts in BMW trivia, we’re also fully certified and ticketed technicians with the latest hardware and software tools. For Calgary’s best service and performance centre specializing in BMW, give us a call at (403) 768-3167 today!