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The history of the Bavarian Motor Works is a history of innovation, dedication and determination.

These achievements are reflected in the BMW emblem, symbolizing a rotating airplane propeller from BMW's early years as an aircraft engine manufacturer. Today, the emblem signifies a global company that annually produces hundreds of thousands of engines, motorcycles, and cars.

Explore BMW history here, from the beginnings to the current time. Click on a year for news from that decade.



Early Years Karl Rapp establishes Rapp-Motorenwerke in a former bicycle factory near Munich. He begins manufacturing his own aircraft engines. They suffer from problems with vibration that Rapp is unable to fix, so he switches to building Austro-Daimler aircraft engines under license. More...



1920's

Martin Stolle (center) designs the M2 B 15 engine for the "Victoria" model motorcycle. More...

 

BMW's first motorcycle engine

 



1930's The air-cooled radial engine is much in demand in the early Thirties, thanks to its excellent power/weight ratio. More...



1940's Made to order: for the Mille Miglia, BMW commissions a streamlined body made of a new, ultra-light aluminum/magnesium alloy. More...



1950's The BMW R 51/2, BMW's first motorcycle with a Boxer engine, goes into production. More...



1960 A best-seller: on July 15, 1960, the 20,000th BMW 700 leaves the factory. More...

 



1970's Still in the model stage: first step in the construction of the "Four Cylinders," BMW's head office in Munich. More...



1980's Debut for the mass-production Enduro R 80 G/S: this newly styled bike is the first to be equipped with BMW's single swing-arm "monolever". Weight is reduced and maintenance is easier. More...

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