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BMW Motorsport

1980 BMW M1

  • 3453cc M88/1 DOHC I6
  • 5-speed manual gearbox
  • 273hp @ 6500rpm, 242ft-lb @ 5000rpm
  • Top speed of 162mph 

The M1 was a sports car produced by BMW from 1978-1981. It was the first mid-engine BMW to be mass-produced, although only 453 were built. It was penned by the famous Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, who is perhaps best known for penning such landmark cars as the DeTomaso Mangusta, Iso Grifo, Lotus Esprit and Maserat Ghibli. The M1 featured 3.5-liter, twin-cam straight-six that produced 273hp in street specification, allowing it to reach a top speed of 162 mph. Lamborghini had initially been contracted to do development work and construction of the M1, but in the end the car was hand-built by BMW’s motorsport or ‘M’ division and out of the 453 vehicles built, 20 were race versions for the BMW M1 Procar Championship. While not many were built, its impact lived on in the M635CSi and the E28 M5, both of which used a modified version of the M1’s M88/1 engine, called the M88/3.

 1974 BMW 3.0CS Alpina

  • 2986cc naturally aspirated straight-6
  • Four-speed manual gearbox
  • 170hp @ 5800rpm and 185lb-ft @3500rpm
  • Top speed of 124mph

Alpina has worked in close cooperation with BMW for over 50 years to create exquisite performance automobiles. Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG was established in 1965 in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria, initially as a typewriter manufacturer and then a carburetor tuning firm. Alpina started designing and producing vehicles for motorsport in 1968 with Touring Car Racing. From 1968 to 1973, some of the world’s greatest racing drivers could be found on Alpina’s payroll, such as Derek Bell, James Hunt, and Niki Lauda.

The BMW E9 chassis, was built from 1968-1975. The first iteration was the BMW 2000C and 2000CS, which were introduced in 1965. They both featured a version of the two-liter M10 engine that produced between 100 and 120 horsepower. In 1968, the 2000C and 2000CS were replaced by the 2800CS, the first of the E9 coupes. This car featured a new 2788cc straight-six engine called the M30. It produced 170 horsepower at 6000rpm. Then in 1971 the 2800CS was replaced by the 3.0CS and 3.0CSi. The M30 engine was bored out to 2986cc and was available with 180 horsepower in the CS, or 200 horsepower in the CSi.

1988 BMW E28 M5

  • 3453cc M88/3 DOHC I6
  • 5-speed manual gearbox
  • 282hp @ 6500rpm, 251lb-ft @ 4500rpm
  • Top speed of 156mph 

The first BMW M5 debuted at the Amsterdam Motor Show in February of 1984. BMW wanted to create a car with sports car handling and performance but with the convenience and seating of a four-door sedan. Upon its release, the E28 M5 was the fastest production sedan in the world. It represented a shift in BMW’s M Division from track-based sports cars like the M1 to capable performance-oriented sedans that were equally at home on the street as on the track. The M5 was powered by a 3.5-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 282hp in European spec. In North America, however, a catalytic converter limited the power to 256hp. Between 1985 and 1988, 2,192 were produced.

1955 BMW Isetta 300

  • 298cc air-cooled OHV single cylinder engine
  • Produced around 13hp
  • Four-speed manual gearbox
  • Top speed of around 50mph

The original design for the Isetta came from Italy in the early 1950s. A company called Iso that primarily built refrigerators, motor scooters, and small trucks decided that they wanted to build a small, cheap, fuel-efficient car for mass production in a car-hungry but cash-strapped postwar Europe. In 1952, engineers Ermenegildo Preti and Pierluigi Raggi designed a small car that utilized a motorcycle engine for power. After its introduction in November of 1953, the Isetta gained enormous popularity. Nothing like it had been seen before. The entire front end of the car swung open, and with it the steering wheel and dashboard, to allow passengers to enter. The Iso Isetta was powered by a small 9.5hp motorcycle engine, which allowed it to attain a top speed of about 47 mph. Iso licensed other companies to built the Isetta in different countries. BMW started producing the Isetta, utilizing a single cylinder, four-stroke 247cc motorcycle engine that produced about 13hp. BMW completely reengineered each piece of the Isetta to meet their standards. The first BMW Isetta appeared in April of 1955 and did not share a single part with the original Iso design.

The BMW i8

  • 1.5 liter 3-cylinder gas engine and 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack
  • 6-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
  • 357hp total system power, 420lb-ft total system torque
  • Top speed of 155mph

BMW first exhibited the i8 concept at the 2011 International Motor Show in Germany. This plug-in hybrid electric vehicle features an electric motor powering the front wheels, which works in tandem with a 1.5-liter 3-cylinder gasoline engine powering the rear wheels. Two years later, in 2013, the car was ready for production and released to the public with a very impressive 0-60 time of 4.4 seconds and top speed of 155 mph. The production version of the i8 was designed by Benoit Jacob and unveiled at the 2013 International Motor Show Germany. The production vehicle has a 7.1 kWh lithium-ion battery back which allows a fully electric range of 23 miles. The total range of the i8 is 330 miles.

BMW dealerships were required to purchase full-size i8 display models directly from BMW. This gave customers a chance to see the full sized car before the production models arrived in the dealerships, and sparked a buzz of anticipation. The car exhibited here is such a display model.

It took the masterful planning and fabrication skills of Dave Gilbert to mount this car on the wall. In order to lift the car, a winch was installed in the hayloft directly above this location, and braced in place.   Metal beams with rollers were fabricated off site and brought to the museum the day of the lift. Once the rig was set up, it took only five minutes to get the car into position. Dave did all of the legwork at his shop, designing and testing the rig on CAD software before fabricating and transporting it to the Museum. This mounting position provides the viewer with a perspective rarely seen: a bird’s-eye view of the automobile.