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BMW in the 20th Century

The people and products that made the company

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FROM ITS BEGINNINGS as a manufacturer of aircraft engines during World War I, BMW has been on the cutting edge of technology and design. Branching out first into motorcycles, then into automobiles, the company applied its engineering talent to build race-winning machinery until World War II put a stop to motorsport, and indeed all civilian transportation projects. Nearly destroyed by Allied bombing, BMW rose from the ashes to once again produce motorcycles and cars that stirred the souls of enthusiasts worldwide, abandoning aircraft engines to become a purely civilian mobility company. This is the story of BMW in the 20th century, of its rise, fall, and resurrection, punctuated by several near-death experiences in between. It’s the story of the people who made it happen: engineers like Max Friz, Alfred Böning, Fritz Fiedler, Alex von Falkenhausen, Paul Rosche, and Burkhard Göschel; designers like Wilhelm Meyerhuber, Giovanni Michelotti, Paul Bracq, Ercole Spada, and Chris Bangle; racers like Ernst Henne, Schorsch Meier, Gaston Rahier, and Hubert Hahne; and executives like Franz Josef Popp, Kurt Donath, Eberhard von Kuenheim, and Wolfgang Reitzle. It’s also the story of the products they created from 1911 to 1999: aircraft engines like the 132 and 801 radials, and the 003 jet; motorcycles like the R32, R51, and K100; and automobiles like the 328, 507, 2002, and X5—plus quite a few more that remain largely unknown.A tale of progress and setbacks, it is, in the end, the story of the 20th century itself. Presented here in an affordable black and white edition, the book consists of 371 pages with more than 500 photographs and illustrations.


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