BMW’s concept contribution this year to the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este was the BMW Garmisch concept, a recreation of a car which originally debuted in 1970. With the newly created car, BMW pays respect to one of Italy’s most influential car designers and adds an exciting chapter to the company’s history.
The original BMW Garmisch was a concept designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone that debuted at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. Gandini is responsible for legendary cars like the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, Lancia Stratos and many more iconic models.
Marcello Gandini to me is one of the grandmasters of car design and his cars always have been an important source of inspiration for my work”, says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design, who has been intrigued by the BMW Garmisch since he first discovered a faded period picture of the car some years ago.
Designing this concept was a difficult task for BMW, as there are nearly no records of the original car. Van Hooydonk says that only few images of the car still exist, mostly in black and white. But working together with the 80 year old Gandini, BMW was able to recreate the car with a modern twist.
Although the original car was created in just a couple of months, Gandini’s design team did not let the opportunity pass to give the interior their special treatment as well, with its rather unusual vertical radio on the center console, a fold-out mirror for the passenger and interesting materials.
“We picked the name Garmisch (an upper-class German ski village that hosted the 1936 Winter Olympics) because skiing was very popular in Italy at that time,” said Gandini. “It evoked dreams of winter sports and alpine elegance.”
The most distinctive styling element of the car is a derivative of BMW’s signature kidney-shaped grille which is now square. The honeycomb mesh design for the rear window is a trademark Gandini design, and it shows up on the Garmisch here, too. BMW used a 2002 chassis to build the original on top of, same with this new Garmisch.[Photos: BMW Group Classic]