How General Motors Helped BMW Become BMW

BMW is turning 100 and as it turns out they had a helping hand from General Motors transforming themselves from quirky Euro import into “The Ultimate Driving Machine”.

According to Automotive News the first 3 series copied design elements from GM. Bob Lutz explained “The protruding nostrils were a GM design theme at the time, with the center of the grille standing forward from the rest of the grille.”

Lutz was also instrumental in getting BMW to swap from using wood and plaster to develop future product, to clay which was easier and faster. Unfortunately there was only a single supplier of the needed clay and between GM and Ford there wasn’t any supply left.

So Lutz called up a couple buddies he had at Opel in Germany who said they had plenty to spare. Sending over not just the clay. but also employees who knew how to manipulate it properly.

“The first phase of BMW design — they learned how to make clay models courtesy of GM.”

Kinda cool if you ask me…