Up until 2019, there was a missing link in BMW’s history – the Garmisch. The concept car designed by Marcello Gandini for Bertone mysteriously vanished following its debut at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. BMW decided to recreate the showcar to the last detail for the 2019 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Based on a 2002 tii – like the original concept 49 years before – the reborn Garmisch wasn’t entirely a BMW.  In Steve Saxty’s “BMW’s Hidden Gems” book, we discovered the sleek coupe had door handles from a Fiat X1/9.

The same locks were used by three other Italian cars that were far more exotic: the Lancia Stratos, the Ferrari 308 GT4, and the Lamborghini Urraco. It’s worth noting the BMW technically had the door handles first. The four Italian cars came out in the early 1970s, after the Garmisch. Fun fact – BMW found the door handles on eBay and bought them for $360.

Hiding behind the plexiglass covers at the front are headlights sourced from a Fiat 130 Coupe. A former BMW mechanic helped the team behind the resurrected Garmisch trace the concept’s origins and identify how Bertone’s lost showcar came to be. The Cromodora CD27 wheels made famous by the Fiat X1/9 Corsa were also an eBay find. These rims were changed with a bespoke center cap and a polished stainless still disc around it.

The Autovox radio is probably the only part of the car that doesn’t work properly. A member of the BMW Classic team bought it from someone in Italy who restores radios. The radio crackles, which was likely the same story as the original unit used in Bertone’s concept. As for the period-correct Bertone badge, it was bought at a car show. The tricky part was the Garmisch logo, but thankfully, the script with the eight letters was faithfully recreated after being discovered in a blueprint.

The BMW Garmisch gave something in return for those Fiat-sourced parts. The indented horizontal groove on the side was found in the Fiat X1/9 launched two years later, in 1972. Interestingly, Bertone originally proposed the mid-engined sports car’s design to BMW before it became a Fiat.

If you’re interested in reading more BMW design behind-the-scenes stories, then the three-volume boxed is available at a pre-order price of £244.95, around $300.. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.