BMW was created in 1916 through the merger of an aircraft maker
and a manufacturer of aircraft engines.
More BMW history...
The inspiration for the BMW Roundel came from BMW's aircraft legacy
The company traces its origins to 1913, when a
Bavarian named Karl Rapp began an aircraft-engine shop in Munich named
Rapp Motoren Werke. In 1917 Rapp resigned and the company, led by Austrian
engineer Franz-Josef Popp, changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke.
That same year chief engineer Max Friz designed the company's first
aircraft engine, the six-cylinder Type IIIa, which created strong demand
for BMW engines.
During World War I, BMW aircraft engines founded a
tradition of excellence and reliability. It was
Baron von Richthofen, the
"Red Baron", who praised the BMW engines that powered the legendary Fokker
Triplane of 1917. In 1919 an aircraft fitted with a BMW engine gained the
world altitude record.
Snoopy's battle with the Red Baron
Learn more about the Red Baron
After the war, the Versailles Treaty prohibited
German firms from producing aircraft and aircraft engines, so BMW looked
for other opportunities including making air brakes for
During World War II, BMW made engines for the German
air force including the high performance Focke Wulf FW190. It
also made one of the first operational jet turbine engines.
In 1990 BMW formed a joint venture with the British
aerospace company Rolls-Royce PLC to produce aircraft engines for business