BMW recreates classic Garmisch concept car
BMW has resurrected an iconic and almost forgotten design at this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este. Alongside – and in contrast to – the forward-looking Concept R18 shown by BMW Motorrad, the Garmisch pays homage to one of the industry's most influential automotive designers of the 1970s, Marcello Gandini.
The original Garmisch concept was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970 after being commissioned by BMW and created as a one-off project by the famous Bertone design house, where Marcello Gandini was in charge of the design department.
The design encapsulated what made Italian designs the most expressive and sought-after at the time. Love it or hate it, it's the epitome of the automotive world in the early 1970s.
"The original idea came from Nuccio Bertone himself who wanted to consolidate our existing relationship with BMW by designing a surprise show car for the Geneva Motor Show," says Marcello Gandini. "We wanted to create a modern mid-sized coupe that was faithful to BMW's design language, but that was also more dynamic and even a bit provocative."
The Garmisch disappeared from history following the showing in Geneva – all that remains of the original are photographs and design notes, which, along with first hand accounts, were used by BMW's design team to create the concept shown at Villa d'Este.
The car features a clean side profile that is not unlike most other sedans of the period. Up front, though, the signature BMW kidney grille is squeezed in and raised, creating a more vertical look. This is flanked by squared headlamps while louvres mark the rear pillars and a honeycomb-patterned mesh covers the rear window – a trademark of Gandini's style.
The project to recreate it was driven by Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design, Adrian van Hooydonk. The car was one of several Gandini designs that inspired Hooydonk to enter automotive design. He discusses the project in the video below.