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Sunday, March 31, 2013

BMW Welt

"Trick Shot" I used the panorama function on my iPhone to create this photo of BMW Welt and the Museum complex.  The buildings are actually across the street from each other.

A few years ago BMW undertook a massive project in Munich.  In addition to updating the aging BMW museum, they constructed an architectural masterpiece called BMW Welt.  A skybridge over the road connects the futuristic appearing BMW Welt structure to the iconic BMW towers and museum complex.  BMW Welt serves many functions: delivery center for owners of newly purchased BMW's, showcase for display of BMW's lineup of cars and motorcycles, showcase of BMW's boutique brands such as Mini and Rolls Royce, technology display, etc.  In addition, there a very nice restaurant and facilities for corporate events.

Across the street, the musuem appears as a round building, a bit reminiscent of the Guggenheim museum in New York.  Indeed once inside there is a spiral ramp leading visitors to the top of an impressive display.  However, this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  A massive new museum complex lies partially below grade and offers visitors hours of enjoyment pouring over the impressive history of BMW, including the productions of cars, trains, motorcycles, airplane engines and jet engines.

Of course like most museums, there is a shop which sells all manner of BMW paraphernalia including an impressive number of books.  "Lifestyle" items such as clothing, toys, etc can be purchased at the BMW Welt complex.

The iconic towers of BMW.  The complex lies just north of the Olympia Park, former site of the Munich Olympics.

The museum is quite a bit larger than one might expect from looking at this photo as a great deal of it is below grade.

Inside BMW Welt

Restaurant, above which lies facilities for corporate entertaining.

The shear size of BMW Welt is difficult to capture with photos.

The original BMW Motorrad, the R32.  It is fairly well known that BMW supplied motors to various motorcycle manufacturers prior to 1923, however, the R32 represents the first all BMW production motorcycle.

"Teile in Eile" = Parts in a hurry!

My two favorite vintage BMW cars of all time, the iconic 328 and the sporty 507. 

Pre-war vertical shaft "Kompressor".  This bike was made famous by Georg "Schorsch" Meier in 1939 when he won the famous Isle of Man TT.  It was the last before World War 2, and the end of an era as the FIM subsequently banned supercharging.

Another iconic and rare pre-war race bike, the R51RS.  Similar to the road going R51 at first glance, closer inspection reveals a staggering number of differences.  Less  than 20 were made originally, and intended for accomplished privateer racers around the world.

A brief list of some differences between the R51 and R51RS include the extensive use of Elektron, a light weight magnesium alloy.  Absence of road going devices such as lights, horn, mirrors, etc.  Aluminum instead of steel fenders.  Larger carburetors.  Special cast cylinders, racing gearset in transmission, larger wheels front and rear.  Magneto ignition instead of battery/coil. Timing gears instead of timing chain.  And the list goes on...

View of the R51RS motor including the magnesium housed magneto, and the transmission support bracket that doubles as a "Kurzenhalter".

Also part of the racing display is a Rennsport in "256" Works trim.  Some of the differences from the original RS54 include a short stroke motor, larger double front brake, fairing, hydraulic brake on the rear and a rear torsion bar or "drehmoment".  The carbs are Dell'Orto and the tachometer a Smith's ATRC. 

The bike is rumored to be one that Walter Zeller campaigned.  However as far as I know most of the works bikes didn't have serial numbers per se.  And there was never any documentation about which specific bikes were campaigned at specific events.  Everyone who owns a Rennsport likes to believe that it was once owned or raced by Walter Zeller, and BMW is no different!


  1. The same story here in Holland .... the bike we visit , also a Walter Zeller bike :-) .....or a replica ?

  2. Surely you mean "kerzenhalter" iso kurzenhalter?