The Garmisch Concept Was Lost In The 70s, Then BMW Brought It Back | RobbReport Malaysia

The Garmisch Concept Was Lost In The 70s, Then BMW Brought It Back

Classic Reimagined

You may not know Marcello Gandini by name, but you certainly know the Italian octogenarian’s magnificent work. Gandini is the Father of The Wedge, and we have him to thank for iconic concepts like the Lancia Stratos Zero, but also for the production designs of the Lamborghini Countach and the world’s first supercar, the impeccable Miura. Decades ago, Gandini was the design director at Bertone when the company was tasked with a special one-off concept project by BMW. The result was the BMW Garmisch, a four-seater concept that was part of BMW’s “Neue Klasse" line of mid-sized, sleek sedans when it made its debut at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. Right after the show, the car was packed up, destined for BMW’s Munich headquarters, but it simply vanished. No one knows where it went, and no documentation – aside from a smattering of black and white pictures – exist.

BMW decided to recreate the Garmisch and bring it to Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italy and the sum of its efforts is nothing short of beautiful. A team of BMW designers worked with the limited photos and even called on Gandini to help fill in some of the missing gaps. The original Garmisch was constructed in four months, underpinned by a production 2002 coupe and BMW sourced a similar 2002 coupe for the recreation too. The Germans are remaining mum about the powertrain, pointing out that the vehicle was always about the design.

The original Garmisch concept was one that avoided curved surfaces, a tenet of automotive design throughout the 60s, especially in Italian vehicles. The Garmisch’s boxy, angular aesthetic was a harbinger of designing cars around ease of production versus outward appearance. The design team was able to recreate vital details of the car, including the light champagne metallic paint, and sideways radio, and the vanity mirror in dashboard for the passenger. The new Garmisch was built by adroit tradesman in Turin, Italy, just as the original was.

Lastly, if you’re wondering what the name means, it’s an ode to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, a town in BMW’s home area of Bavaria. It’s a popular destination for skiing and Gandini has claimed that skiing was popular back in the 60s in Italy, so the name was thus selected to conjure dreams of “winter sports and alpine elegance."

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Published July 10, 2019
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