Who’s BMW, and when did it start making cars?
Rather like the Queen, BMW has several birthdays (and German blood). The initials stand for Bayerische Motoren Werke GmbH, which in turn translates as ‘Bavarian Engine Works Company’.
Its roots begin in 1913, and a company called Rapp-Motorenwerke which made aircraft engines during – inevitably – the First World War. You can guess which side for. And now you know where the propeller on the badge comes from.
BMW considers its actual birth date to be 7 March 1916, though, and after numerous company name changes and alterations to what it actually manufactured post-war, it produced its first road transport via the BMW R 32 motorbike, in 1923, and the BMW 303 car (pictured), which was born in 1933.