Prior to building automobiles, BMW used to manufacture engines for airplanes and shortly after, motorcycles? Since its inception in 1916, Bayerische Motoren Werke AG was one of the most important makers of aircraft engines. BMW’s first significant engine was the Illa inline-six liquid-cooled engine built in 1918, famous for its high-altitude performance.
After World War I, by the Versailles Armistice Treaty, BMW was forced to cease aircraft engine production and started focusing on the motorcycles. Some of the most successful aircraft engines were the BMW 132 and BMW 801 air-cooled radial engines, and the pioneering BMW 003 axial-flow turbojet, which powered the tiny, 1944-45-era jet-powered “emergency fighter”, the Heinkel He 162 Salamander, and was tested in the A-1b version of the world’s first jet fighter, the Messerschmitt Me 262.
Some people also say that the BMW roundel portrays the movement of an airplane propeller to signify the white blades cutting through the blue sky, but we’ll leave this subject for another time.
We hope you enjoy our short series of BMW History and we will continue next time with…..well, it’s a surprise, so stay tuned!