Title 1: The History behind BMW Title 2: From Aircraft to Cars, the BMW story Title 3: What we need to know about the origin of BMW

Title 1: The History behind BMW

Title 2: From Aircraft to Cars, the BMW story

Title 3: What we need to know about the origin of BMW

A name that embodies driving pleasure is none other than BMW. The origin of this renowned brand goes way back to 1917. Through different transitions, ups and downs BMW have become what it is today.  Their eventful history deserves to be known, revered and cherished. Let’s gear up and travel back to time to see the beginning of a remarkable ride.

From Sky to the Ground

Rapp Motor Works, a company based in Munich, Germany was producing aircraft engines back in 1913, contributing its fair share during the First World War. Following the war, the Treaty of Versailles banned Germany from producing war plane, effectively crippling their aviation industry. Seeing the shift, Rapp Motor Works landed on the ground and started producing motor bike engines and vastly diversifying product line to produce car engines. Rapp Motor Works changed its name to Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works) and thus the iconic name was coined. The new BMW logo also has reflection of the Rapp Motor Works’ logo with the colors of the state of Bavaria, blue and white.


For a brief period of time, BMW was named BFW! It happened around 1922 when Camillo Castiglioni, investor and aircraft construction pioneer bought BMW and transferred the names and logo to BFW. However, in the same year the name was changed back to BMW, if that did not happen, we would see a BFW emblem on the cars instead of BMW.  Why we are addressing this issue while discussing the history of the company will be revealed in the paragraph next to the following.

The Three Musketeers


Karl Rapp, Camillo Castiglioni and Franz Josef Popp are the three pioneer founders of BMW.  Karl Rapp was the owner and founder of Rapp Motor Works which later became BMW; he is recognized as an indirect founder of BMW. Camillio Castiglioni was one of the crucial investors of BMW.  His passion about aviation and arts made him enthusiastic to be a part of it. Last but not the least, Franz Josef Popp is recognized as a driving force behind the mobility of the company. During his tenure of 1922-1942 he served as a General Director and brought significant development to the company. The claim to be founders of BMW was made by many and there are different opinions in existence but these three individuals made to the top of the list based on their contribution and wide recognition.



One Man’s Loss Is another Man’s Gain

A man named Gustav Otto was a leading aircraft engine designer and manufacturer who was in good terms with the German military during the World War I. However, dealing with the war politics and German government was a hefty price for Otto. His other ventures which also supplied to German air force were dealing with high cost of production and low revenue. The ordeal of the politics and pressure from the government caused Otto big time. The stress deteriorated his health condition which reflected in his business. In 1915, Gustav Otto was admitted into Munich Mental Hospital for treatment of depression.  His company was on the verge of bankruptcy. A consortium led by the investment of Camillo Castiglioni came into the scene and took over the company and asset which formed BFW. Later this BFW became BMW. Fast forwarding to 1926, when BMW was hitting a home run with their motorcycle product line, Gustav Otto committed suicide; suffering from his divorce, followed by the death of his ex-wife, failed businesses and other health issues.

The BMW Logo

BMW makes it to the top of most talked about logo in the automobile industry. The origin of the BMW logo is from the original Rapp Motor logo. Both the logo has striking similarity in shape and size. There are two widely known interpretations behind the BMW logo. One interpretation suggests that the blue and white quadrant signifies of a white airplane propeller soaring in clean blue sky. This interpretation is backed by the connection of BMW to its past of manufacturing aircraft motors. The later opinion is that, the blue and white quadrant is inspired from the flag of the state of Bavaria from where the company is originated. BMW officials has taken the side of the later interpretation meaning the BMW logo signifies the acronym of the entire company name (Bavarian Motor Works) and the colors are inspired from the flag of the state Bavaria.

The First BMW

The early years of BMW was focused on manufacturing motorcycle engines.  At the same time Automobilwerk Eisenach (AWE), a company based in Eisenach, Germany acquired the license of producing a German version of the popular British Austin Seven. In 1927, the company produced 100 Dixi 3/15, the German version of the British Austin Seven.  One year later BMW acquired AWE and thus received the rights to manufacture the Dixi. And thus the BMW manufactured their first car the BMW Dixi.

Through the passage of time, BMW reached soaring heights in the automobile industry with a notable history behind. Through thick and thin, BMW today is a household name and established icon for car enthusiast. The next time you see the blue and white emblem shining on a posh BMW, I hope few of these words will resonate in your mind.



  1. https://www.bmw.com/en/automotive-life/BMW-name-meaning-and-history.html
  2. https://www.businessinsider.com/the-origin-of-the-bmw-logo-2012-5


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