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BMW history

BMW in the 1920s - BMW's first car, the Dixi 3/15

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In these conditions, the company had to think to other products and so BMW starts building motorcycle engines. In 1920, Martin Stolle and Max Friz design the M2 B 15 engine for the "Victoria" motorcycle from Nürnberg. This was the first BMW motorcycle engine and it was produced between 1920 and 1922.


BMW's first motorized bicycle is called "Flink" and sees the light in 1921. They were powered by a Kurier two stroke engine.


1922 is another milestone in BMW history. The first BMW factory is built on Neulerchenfeldstrasse -- the site of Otto's old aircraft factory -- near the current day Olympic complex in Munich.


Because the earlier BMW motorcycles had suspension problems they were not able to sell much. So they start to develop the "R32" motorcycle, which was the first BMW bike sold at an amount worth to mention (3100 bikes until 1926). The BMW R32 motorcycle causes a strong impression at its world premiere at the Berlin Automobile Show in 1923. With the R32, BMW succeeds in moving into vehicle construction even before the development of automobiles. This is the moment when the history of the BMW boxer engine begins and will continue until the present day. The top speed of this 2-cylinder 494cc motorcycle was around 59 mph (95 km/h).


In 1924 we can witness the first intercontinental flight to Persia powered by BMW engines.


One year later, 1925, the R37 motorcycle outputs twice the power of it's predecessor: 16bhp from a 500ccm engine. This motorcycle provides the basis for the BMW racing machines and makes the brand well known throughout the whole motorcycle world. The result: from 1924 to 1929, all German Championships in the 500 ccm category are won by BMW.


BMW keeps a leading position in the aeronautical industry. The same commitment to innovation and perfection is rewarded with five world records for the The Rohrbach Ro VII seaplane with a BMW VI engine.


BMW keeps the same pace and they break other world-flight records the next year, 1927. From a total of 87 world records in aviation, 29 of them were set with BMW engines.


1928 marks the beginning in terms of the BMW car. BMW buys the car factory at Eisenach/Thuringia and with it the license to build a small car called the Dixi 3/15. The BMW Dixi was the competition for the Austin 7. The BMW Dixi DA/1 (DA standing for Deutsche Ausfuhrung) is essentially the german version. The first Dixis used an open roof and were powered by a 743cc 4 cylinder engine producing 15 horsepower. Top speed was in the neighborhood of 50 mph (80 km/h). The Dixi 3/15 PS was built under license from Austin and was essentially the same model as the US Bantam and the Japanese Datsun. In 1929 a new improved version was launched, the DA/2, which employed an all-steel body and 4-wheel brakes, and in 1930 the Dixi scored its first wins in motor racing. Total production: 18,976 units.


1929 is the year when Ernst Henne riding a 750 cc BMW sets a new motorcycle record on September 19, 1929, reaching a speed of 134.65 mph (216.75 km/hr). This surpasses the existing world record by 10 kph.

The first BMW car - Dixi 3/15

The first BMW car saw the light in 1928 - the Dixi 3/15

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