There’s no fancy technology, no emissions-free drivetrain and no advanced aerodynamics or lairy color. But BMW’s latest concept car exudes 1970s levels of cool, right down to its side louvers, honeycomb mesh rear windscreen and metallic champagne hue.
Its retro styling perfectly at home among some of the world’s most expensive cars at Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este on the shores of Lake Como. That’s because the BMW Garmisch is a remake of a concept first shown at the Geneva motor show in 1970.
The original concept car — named after a German ski resort — was apparently lost soon after its showing almost half a century ago, prompting current BMW design boss Adrian van Hooydonk to recreate it as a homage to its original designer, Marcello Gandini.
“Marcello Gandini to me is one of the grand masters of car design and his cars always have been an important source of inspiration for my work”, says Adrian van Hooydonk of the man who at the time worked for famous Italian design house Bertone.
Gandini has helped design some of the world’s most memorable cars, including the Lamborghini Miura, Lamborghini Countach, Fiat X1/9 and Lancia Stratos.
“Building the BMW Garmisch for a second time gave us the opportunity to pay tribute to Mr. Gandini, recall one of his lesser-known cars and highlight Bertone’s stylistic influence on the evolution of BMW design. For me, that alone was reason enough to do this project — filling in the gaps and completing BMW’s history.”
The modern concept remains largely faithful to the original, right down to its vertical radio and enormous mirror that pops out of the dashboard for use by the front seat passenger.
One of its most radical design elements was the treatment of the BMW kidney grille, which had distinctive angular headlights either side.
In recreating the little-known concept car, BMW asked for Gandini’s approval, telling him of the unusual plans to recreate an old concept car.
“I was bit surprised,” said Gandini. “Having seen the final car, it is hard for me to even distinguish it from the original.”
In remaining faithful to the original, BMW designers relied on modern 3D modeling systems.
However, rather than use a modern BMW studio to create the modern recreation, the car was formed by coachbuilders in Turin “just like the original car almost 50 years ago”.