A new exhibition, “BMW: 100 Years of Performance”, set to open at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California today aims to highlight the German carmaker’s on-track innovation as part of its centenary year celebrations.
The cars assembled will include a 1970 Alpina 2002ti racecar and the year 2000 FW22 Formula 1 car raced by Ralph Schumacher as well as the original ‘M’ car, the 1979 Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed M1.
In fact the entire curated collection — which will be accompanied by a number of road-going classic BMWs, including a 507 Roadster — is so rare and so important in terms of BMW’s racing heritage that they are rarely taken out of the company’s in-house collection unless for special race events.
“The Petersen is honoured to be able to play host to these incredible cars,” said Adam Langsbard, chief marketing officer for the Petersen Automotive Museum.
“We’re proud to be able to work with such a dedicated company and group of people.”
The oldest car within the exhibit, which runs until October 14, is the 1970 Alpina 2002ti raced by the likes of Nick Craw and John Morton It is the car that established Alpina as a race- and road-car force and which put BMW firmly back on the track.
Staying in the 70s, the 1979 IMSA-specification 320i Turbo racer was a monster.
Its engine was based on a Formula 2 M12 turbocharged unit and delivered over 600hp out of it. When the engine was redeveloped for Formula 1 it was outputting 1000hp.
Not all of BMW’s racing exploits have been a complete success. The M1, unveiled at the 1978 Paris auto show, was the company’s first mid-engine car.
It looked like a road-going supercar and was built as such for racing homologation rules.
Yet, despite its performance (0-100km/h in under 6 seconds) and handling, it flopped with customers.
However, fast-forward 35 years and the car is a certified classic and one of the most sought-after of all modern-era BMWs.
The display will also include the Jeff Koons Art Car, the fittingly sporty 2010 M3 GT2 that raced at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“BMW has built its reputation for performance on the track and on the streets with cars like those we’ll be displaying at The Petersen,” said Trudy Hardy, Vice President of Marketing at BMW of North America.
“This collection of iconic BMWs demonstrates not only where we’ve been, but what the BMW brand stands for — and will continue to stand for — as we move into the next 100 years.”