Back in the 1970s, Americans weren’t too familiar with the BMW brand, with many people thinking BMW stood for British Motor Works. The few who knew about BMW knew what kind of innovation and sheer driving pleasure came with the blue and white roundel. However, the American majority was wary of the plucky little cars coming from Munich. So to raise awareness of the brand, and get people interested, BMW went racing here in the ‘States with the 3.0 CSL. As BMW continued to win races with a car that was faster than everything else on the track, Americans took notice. And the rest, they say, is history.
Ever since those days, BMW has been at the forefront of technology and innovation but never let its racing pedigree leave its heart. So even as BMWs became more technologically advanced, more luxurious and more innovative, they always had the same driving pleasure. When you look at that roundel, on the hood of any BMW, you’re instantly aware of the potential lying underneath the bodywork. BMW has made its mark on the automotive world by insuring that every car it made came with that same DNA; the balance of innovation, technology and driving pleasure.
TIME Magazine is doing a five part documentary on BMW and how it went from a plucky little car company most Americans knew little about, to an automotive giant that paves the way for automotive innovation. It’s fascinating to hear accounts of the race at Sebring, in 1975, from the driver of the 3.0 CSL, Brian Redman.
He’s a fascinating man with a great story about, not only the race, but the time period for BMW. I was able to see the actual CSL racer he drove at Sebring at the New York International Auto Show. Seeing that same car he drove, forty years ago, in all of its tattered and worn glory was truly a thrill. Being able to actually hold the withered steering wheel in which Redman piloted the CSL with, to many victories, was a wonderful experience.
It’s also fascinating to hear from the people who currently head BMW, and hear their passion for the brand. BMW is a company very in touch with its history, never forgetting its roots, despite what many enthusiasts may say. BMWs are still about the enjoyment of driving and have a pedigree like few others. Its a company hellbent on making each and every new model that rolls off the assembly line as innovative as possible, to insure the best possible driving experience. And the people behind these efforts couldn’t be more passionate about it.
Many people bemoan the new technologies employed in so many BMWs today, as they feel it dilutes the brand’s heritage. But its quite the contrary. BMW has always been on the forefront of innovation, technology and manufacturing. BMW uses these methods to create some of the best driving cars on the road. The reason BMWs are able to offer the sheer driving pleasure, and the Ultimate Driving Experience, is because the people behind the roundel are dedicated to the innovation excellence is the heart of BMW.