BMW Group Classic – the golden era of BMWs

by Sara Norris
BMW E30 M3 road trip

During my years as ‘Mrs. Munich Legends’ I have seen – and in many cases driven – some truly amazing classic and modern BMWs, ranging from extended time spent in our own classics such as the E30 M3 and the 3.0 CSL, to brief drives in other people’s very special cars. Topping the list of ‘once in a lifetime’ is the BMW 328 and the BMW E9 3.0 CSL ‘Batmobile’, and of course the legend itself – the BMW M1. I have been lucky enough to see very rare cars go through the showroom and workshop, such as the BMW Alpina E24 B7S Turbo Coupe – one of 30 – and an ultra rare BMW M1 ‘Harald Ertl’ powered by liquid petroleum gas, built with only one thing in mind – to set a speed record. If you do a Google search for the ‘most rare BMW’ the search engine will tell you one of them is the BMW E34 M5 Touring – only 891 cars were made worldwide and all are left-hand drive – yet we’ve seen quite a few in the UK in the past years. Not long before I arrived in the picture BMW UK’s very own BMW 507 had gone through the workshop – I missed the chance to get behind the wheel of one by just a few months (!). Something we almost never see is of course the M1 Procar or the Batmobile race car – Niki Lauda’s BMW M1 Procar was actually sold by Munich Legends many many years ago, but we haven’t seen anything quite as special as that in a while – if such thing exists. I’m still waiting…

With all that said: there comes a moment when you think you’ve seen most of the exciting BMWs ever made. Having been spoilt with such a selection of legendary BMWs I wasn’t expecting to see that much I wouldn’t have seen before at BMW Group Classic‘s museum in Munich, where we briefly stopped after we had explored the Swiss Alps in the BMW E30 M3. That wasn’t quite true – my favourites were still the familiar cars, such as the M1 and the 328, but there were a lot of first time encounters as well. In this classic museum they have on display pretty much every historic BMW model one could dream of, although the ones I was really craving to see were the motorsport legends – most tucked away somewhere in a ‘closed-to-the-public motorsport warehouse’, out of reach…

BMW Group Classic moved to a new location a few year’s ago. They reacquired an old BMW factory on Moosacher Strasse in Munich, which had back in the days – when BMW was only two years old in 1918 – been a factory where BMW manufactured airplane engines, before the days of becoming one of the most important car manufacturers in the world. Changes were made to the buildings to house modern workshops and an extensive car collection, but they kept one important piece of history – the gatehouse with the wording Bayr. Motoren Werke, which is a protected heritage site.

BMW Group Classic - Gatehouse - BMW E30 M3

To most fans BMW Group Classic’s museum collection will be more than enough for some serious drooling, because there is only one place where you can see so many special BMWs under one roof at the same time – and that is in BMW’s birthplace! There is Elvis Presley’s stunning BMW 507 Roadster, rescued from a barn in San Francisco, California, and now fully restored to its former glory. There is a BMW M1 Procar, 3.0 CSL, Batmobile, 2002 turbo, 328, strange concept cars, and artsy one-off projects. And for those who are into two wheelers – a whole mezzanine full of rare BMW bikes. For information how to book a guided tour have a look at their website – and BMW Welt’s gigantic museum should of course not be missed either if you’re in the area, but I think there are a lot of people who don’t even know BMW Group Classic have their own little paradise not far from the BMW Welt.

However nothing quite beats seeing some of these cars in action and not just on static display – for fans of the 507 and 328 I highly recommend following Mille Miglia, because the sight of a vintage BMW on a twisty country road in the Italian hills – often driven like it’s a race car rather than a museum piece – is something very special… You have to applaud BMW Group Classic, because whilst their museum is home to some true icons, don’t be fooled by the word museum. The cars are not there to collect dust, in fact BMW Group Classic is famous for actually using a lot of the cars from their historic collection for car events, rallies and PR – and that is exactly what you’d want to hear. Because there would be nothing quite as heartbreaking as looking at a collection so special, and having to think to yourself ‘what a shame no one ever gets to drive them’…

BMW Group Classic - BMW 507 Roadster Elvis Presley

BMW Group Classic - BMW 507 Roadster Elvis Presley

BMW Group Classic - BMW 507 Roadster Elvis Presley

BMW Group Classic - BMW 507 Roadster Elvis Presley

BMW Group Classic - BMW Z8

BMW Group Classic - BMW X5 engine swap

BMW Group Classic - BMW X5 engine swap

BMW Group Classic - BMW M1 Procar

BMW Group Classic - BMW M1

BMW Group Classic - MINI

BMW Group Classic - MINI

BMW Group Classic - Motorbikes

BMW Group Classic Munich

BMW Group Classic museum

BMW Group Classic car collection

BMW Group Classic

BMW Group Classic - Race bikes

BMW Group Classic - Restoration workshop

BMW Group Classic - Concept car

BMW Group Classic - E9 and M1

BMW Group Classic - original drawings

BMW Group Classic - classic car

BMW Group Classic - engine

BMW Group Classic - Bikes

BMW Group Classic - Beer

BMW Group Classic - 507 drawings

BMW Group Classic - 8-series and Z8

BMW Group Classic - BMW 328

BMW Group Classic - BMW 2002

BMW Group Classic - BMW 507 Roadster

BMW Group Classic - BMW 2002 turbo

BMW Group Classic - BMW 2002 turbo

BMW Group Classic - BMW C1 Louis Vuitton

BMW Group Classic - BMW E9 3.0 CSL Batmobile

BMW Group Classic - BMW E9 3.0 CSL

BMW Group Classic - BMW E9 3.0 CSL

BMW Group Classic - BMW 6-series

BMW Group Classic - 1938 BMW 328

BMW Group Classic - 1937 BMW 328

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