BMW, Bavaria's Driving Machines

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Publications International, 1984 - BMW automobiles - 64 pages

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I did not realize what an amazing resource this book was when I got it as a present from my uncle decades ago, before the creation of the World Wide Web. It tells the history of BMW from its origins at the perimeter of a Bavarian airfield to the time the book was written in the mid-1980s. The book does not restrict itself to BMW's cars, but takes its time to explain how it started in the aircraft engine business, how it was forced into the industrial engine business, its short-lived takeover by a railway brake manufacturer, its inheritance of a motorcycle business, its purchase of a car company (the first decade of BMW car production was not in Bavaria), how it survived the war and almost didn't survive the German Economic Miracle, and then followed more than two decades of success from the 700 and the New Class to the 7 Series, the Formula 1 victories with Brabham, and the K100 "flying brick" motorcycle.
I have since bought another book on BMW history and, although it is more recent (going into the 2000s), it has nowhere near the depth of this book, almost completely ignoring the motorcycle side of the business and glossing over important events in BMW's history. Before I read that book I didn't realize what a treasure I have in this one.
Much of the information in Wikipedia on the history of BMW and early BMW cars (and one or two of the bikes and engines) is based on this book, which is largely my fault. You could probably get some of the specific info there for free, but, for the cost of a used book and shipping and handling, you could get the source of the information instead.
 

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