Journal: Beautiful Things Happen When BMW Looks Back

Beautiful Things Happen When BMW Looks Back

By Petrolicious Productions
August 19, 2015

Photos courtesy of BMW

Apart from the Z8, BMW isn’t really known for being nostalgic. After all, this is a company that has a proud heritage of being technologically advanced, not rooted in the past. So it’s with great pleasure that we look back at BMW’s recent string of concept cars that are a beautiful homage to its past.

This week’s video features “the clown shoe”, otherwise known as the M Coupé or Z3 Coupé, depending on configuration. BMW engineers successfully lobbied their bosses—and the board!—to build the car. It may not have lit the sales charts on fire, but the car is still much-loved by enthusiasts (and Petrolicious) event today. Same goes for the stunning Z8.

Perhaps the engineers are able to present a winning argument to bring one of their latest retro-inspired concepts to life? (And before you ask, no, for some reason “homage” is not spelled consistently by BMW when it names its concepts.)

2006 BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia

We love this design, even though the rear is a bit odd and the interior wasn’t very finished: it’s not every day that a company decides to build a modern version of a car specifically constructed for Mille Miglia success, the legendary 1940 BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupé.

This model came before the others, and certainly influenced the classic-looking concepts that have followed from BMW. That said, the Mille Miglia is still one of our favorites, nearly 10 years on!

2008 BMW M1 Homage concept

Built to pay tribute to the swoopy 1972 BMW Turbo concept and 1978 M1 production supercar, a number of the lines seen on this car have made it onto the production i8 sports car. BMW says, “It succeeds in harmoniously blending the proportions and styling cues of the BMW M1 with the surface language seen in the new BMW design line.”

This is fascinating, of course, but we wish the car had been a runner, like the Mille Miglia—the M1 Homage is for display only.

2011 BMW 328 Hommage

The BMW 328 Hommage, which was unveiled to mark the 75th birthday of the legendary BMW 328 racing car, is a marked departure from the other 328-inspired concept seen above. Built in the spirit of the original 328 but using modern materials, this running, driving car is made from carbon fibre-reinforced plastic, with leather and aluminium sprinkled throughout to keep the driver and passenger happy.

It’d be an ideal car to blast around canyons in, too: no doors, only a little windscreen, and the iPhone docks are only provided so you’re able to use your phone as a stopwatch. Clever.

2015 3.0 CSL Hommage concept

Shown in highlighter yellow, the 3.0 CSL Hommage is a debut from earlier this year that we just adored…but were hoping would be painted in more familiar colors. Much more futuristic than the other retro-inspired concepts, this study is built from the same high-tech materials as the 328 concept but makes aerodynamic efficiency a priority.

The focus on aerodynamics explains its strange bodywork…which is probably what was said in early 1972 when the first 3.0 CSL was released.

2015 3.0 CSL Hommage R concept

Just unveiled at Pebble Beach, this is an updated version of the earlier 3.0 CSL Hommage concept, and gains a racing-inspired paint scheme and bodywork refinements. Built to focus even more on the driver, the R variant adds a suite of advanced technology that will no doubt make its way to race tracks in the future: including a heads-up display built into the driver’s helmet.

Paying tribute to the 3.0 CSL race cars of the ’70s as well as BMW North America’s 40th anniversary, we think it’s a fitting concept to please both traditional enthusiasts and those who are looking forward to getting their driver’s licenses. After all, kids born in 2000 will be getting licenses for the first time next year—and will probably experience much of the technology in this car as the years roll past.

So: what’s the next historic car that BMW should pay tribute to?


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Chris Jeffs
Chris Jeffs
8 years ago

I love each of these for different reasons, simply fantastic design. I do wonder how these never make it to production (all be it in limited numbers)…

A favourite of mine missing from the above is the Z4 Zagato which although I appreciate doesn’t relate to any previous models is simply stunning.

Paul Steel
Paul Steel
8 years ago

I’m split on this one, I can understand the appeal of rehashing older design concepts based on the cars that defined the brand back in the day, using the brands heritage to sell a new car is becoming a common thing, no doubt the current global interest in classics has played its part in a marketing driven concept, in reality most of these modern interpretations bear only a small nod to the past in the looks department, forgetting that it was as much the driving experience that set them apart in period.
On the other hand, shouldn’t we be looking forward? Concentrating on the classics of the future?
I have to give dues to Alfa’s 4C (if nothing else in the current line up) a thoroughly modern design mixing tech with basic engineering, more retro in its design than all the current mass-market retro rehashes.

Raman Dooman
Raman Dooman
8 years ago

BMW can do better than that. They need to bring back the shark nose in a modern way and do away with the lens cover on the head lights.

Harlow Farnsworth
Harlow Farnsworth
8 years ago

i’d love to see a modern version of a 2002

Jose  Ignacio Guerra
Jose Ignacio Guerra
8 years ago

Excellent article and superb pictures, like it a lot, I´m still prefer the old and strong CSL

Jessy Yeh
Jessy Yeh
8 years ago

Would like to see a well designed, all new Isetta.

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