A tasty slice of the centenarian marque’s history.
The BMW Group Classic is a tasty slice of the centenarian marque’s history, served up in a way that you’re unlikely to encounter anywhere else. Sure, the actual BMW Museum is less than a mile up the road — and is stocked with more vehicles and paraphernalia — but the Classic is truly spezial.
It’s housed inside the original Bayerische Motoren Werke factory — where BMW started as an aircraft engine manufacturer. BMW sold the premises to Knorr-Bremse in 1920, but bought back a chunk of it in 2014 and spent the next two years renovating it. Most of the original architecture is still intact, but the buildings now house offices, an archive, a couple of fully equipped workshops, a modest collection of cars and bikes, multiple conference rooms and a small café. Anyone can grab a bite at the café — but access to the good stuff is by special appointment only.
The journey starts in the cozy archive room, with items like the original factory sale contract and architectural plans, a Williams F1 steering wheel, and the helmets of legends like Gaston Rahier and Georg ‘Schorsch’ Meier on display. Next up is the workshops; tool boards neatly laid out with silhouettes of every specialist tool’s placement. It’s not just for show; owners regularly bring rare, classic machines for restoration or repair — a partially dismantled, supercharged 1950s WR750 replica sits front and center,mid-rebuild, while a race-prepped M1 lurks in the corner.
Browsing the auto and motorcycle collections yields even more goodness. Classics like the 2002tii, Z8, 2000 CS and Roberto Ravaglia’s M3 stand out from a crowd of eye-catching four wheelers. A carefully curated motorcycle collection chronicles BMW Motorrad’s milestones, including an original Victoria — the first bike ever to use a BMW motor — is parked next to a gorgeous R32, the marque’s first complete motorcycle. All the right boxes are ticked: Rahier’s Dakar-winning R 80 G/S, a vintage boxer used in the International Six Days Trials, the legendary R 90 S, and even the unassuming F650 ‘Funduro’ (the first BMW not manufactured by BMW). On the way out, the parking lot offers up one last taste with the likes of a flawless R 80 G/S, an Alpina B7 Turbo, and the Dakar-winning X-Raid Mini are all parked within the same square-footage. This is mandatory bucket list-material for any fan of the white and blue roundel.