fbpx

Nov 3, 2020

Reviving a concept car: The BMW Garmisch by Marcelo Gandini for Bertone

One of the greatest pleasures of being in the world of cars is having unique opportunities to get to know in detail cars that are not easily accessible to the public. But the good thing is that I can share it with you through my camera. Some time ago I visited Munich, and as always I was very welcome in the BMW Classics department. Benjamin, who is part of the BMW classic team prepared an exclusive surprise for me and Carphiles. Which was one of my favorite concept cars the Garmisch by the visionary Marcello Gandini for Bertone.

The experience of having this car for myself and being able to observe it in detail was unique and unrepeatable. Below I will tell you in detail about this magnificent work of art.

“Marcello Gandini to me is one of the grandmasters of car design and his cars always have been an important source of inspiration for my work”, says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design, who has been intrigued by the BMW Garmisch since he first discovered a faded period picture of the car some years ago. “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.”

Since the early days of the brand, BMW has been inspired and influenced by Italian design and coachbuilding culture. From the lightweight aluminium BMW 328 Mille Miglia created at Carrozzeria Touring in the late 1930s to the wedge-shaped BMW M1 designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, there has always been a vital exchange of concepts and ideas across the Alps. And just like many other Italian show cars of the 1960s and 1970s, the original BMW Garmisch was developed by Bertone as an independent design proposal intended to demonstrate the studio’s creativity. “The original idea came from Nuccio Bertone himself who wanted to consolidate our existing relationship with BMW by designing a surprise show car for the Geneva Motor Show”, remembers Marcello Gandini, who was in charge of Bertone’s design department at the time.

“We wanted to create a modern mid-sized coupe that was faithful to BMW’s design language, but that was also more dynamic and even a bit provocative.” While the side profile of the car was very sleek and clean, the most distinctive design feature of the BMW Garmisch was its bold, vertical, and almost angular variation of BMW’s kidney-shaped radiator grill, which was flanked by square glass-covered headlights. Other unusual details included sports car-like louvres on the C-pillars and the honeycomb-patterned mesh cover for the rear window – a trademark element of Marcello Gandini’s style.

Although the car was created in just a couple of months, the design team did not let the opportunity pass to give the interior their special treatment as well. With its rather unusual vertical radio on the center console, a lavish fold-out mirror for the passenger, and a flamboyant mix of colors and materials, the BMW Garmisch added an elegant Piemontese twist to the rather functional interior design habits of the time. According to Marcello Gandini, even the car’s name was chosen to impress: “We picked the name Garmisch because skiing was very popular in Italy at that time. It evoked dreams of winter sports and alpine elegance.”

Being faithful to the original car, the new BMW Garmisch is also a stunning showcase of BMW’s expertise in design research and prototype building. As original documents of the BMW Garmisch were sparse, the interdisciplinary team convoked from the BMW Group Design and BMW Classic departments had to retrace every detail of the car’s exterior and interior from a small selection of period images, most of them only available in black and white.

Marcello Gandini himself contributed to the research process with memories from the creation of the car, allowing the design team to refabricate key details such as the exterior colour – a light champagne metallic in line with Italian fashion trends of the time – and the interior materials and trim. And while the BMW Design team used the latest 3D modeling technologies to revive and specify the original structures and shapes, the BMW Garmisch was coach-built by skilled craftsmen in Turin – just like the original car almost 50 years ago.

“When I first heard that BMW wanted to recreate the BMW Garmisch, I was a bit surprised”, Marcello Gandini recalls of his first meeting with Adrian van Hooydonk, who visited him in Turin in the summer of 2018 to ask for the his approval. “Now I am very pleased that I was able to be part of this project and happy that BMW chose to recall this enjoyable past. Having seen the final car, it is hard for me to even distinguish it from the original.”

With its clean, reduced design language and precise use of lines and geometrical shapes, the BMW Garmisch is an archetype of the radical new style that was pioneered by Italian studios such as Bertone, Italdesign and Pininfarina in the late 1960s and early 1970s – and that is still an important reference point for car designers today. As an ambassador of avant-garde design thinking, the BMW Garmisch is also meant to inspire contemporary designers to keep on reimagining the shape of the automobile. “At the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, we should reflect on the past, but we should also think about where we are going”, says Adrian van Hooydonk. “Marcello Gandini’s designs have always been very clear and very clean, but also very dramatic. This is why I find his work so inspiring. He was always able to create something spectacular using very few design elements. This approach of trying to accomplish a lot with less is quite modern still today.”

 

Born in 1938, Marcello Gandini is one of the most influential car designers of the 20th century. During his 14 years as Design Director of the Bertone design studios in Turin, he created some of the most daring and revolutionary automobiles of the era, including wedge-shaped concept cars like the Lancia Stratos Zero or the Alfa Romeo Carabo as well as iconic sports cars like the Lamborghini Miura which are sought-after by collectors and celebrated at concours events worldwide. Besides the BMW Garmisch, Marcello Gandini and his team at Bertone have worked on the BMW Spicup show car and the first generation of the BMW 5 series, which was created under the lead of BMW’s former head of design Paul Bracq.

Special thanks to the BMW Classic team for sharing this incredible design masterpiece with Carphiles!

2 Comments

  1. Keith

    Awesome car

    Reply
    • Chas

      Color me impressed! The Garmisch is amazing, but then I would expect nothing less from Gandini who was putting out one incredible concept car after another during that time period!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Carphiles Friends Become Contributors: Cars As A Work Of Art At Wilhelm Hallen, Berlin

To me, cars were never just cars…They always meant something special to me. Firstly, they are one of the most significant works of art in my life. Thanks to them I developed artistically and professionally, living the dream of working with something I’m passionate about. Appreciating cars from a design perspective combined with magnificent architecture as a playground is something I love and this provides basically the essence of Carphiles

A Photo gallery from The Berlin’s Second Edition of Flitzer Club Tour

During the weekend after a long quarantine, we Berliners were finally able to return little by little to our favorite activities. One of them was the Flitzer Club Tour, organized by Dirk and Leo, which was a two-day drive through East Germany, approximately 350km in total. We went to different interesting places like castles, an abandoned hospital, and a gallery.

Visiting Malaysia’s Premier Classic Car Dealer Jags Classic

by Alexberlinetta In order to escape the cold and grey February days in Germany, I’ve decided to travel around Southeast Asia. As with every trip that I go on, I couldn’t have missed the chance to visit places and meet people related to classic cars. This time, I had...

Goodwood Festival Of Speed 2017 – The Most Intense Car Event In The World!

by Henry Lundt You cannot describe Goodwood Festival of Speed in just one sentence it deserves numerous paragraphs filled with superlatives. That’s why I explain what the makers of FOS mean by the claim: “Motorsport’s ultimate summer garden party”: We arrived on early...

Autohaus RWB: The Experts on Engine Rebuilding and Customised Porsches in Thailand

by Alexberlinetta A few months ago in Bangkok, I had the opportunity to visit RWB Thailand by Autohaus. Unfortunately, my stay in the city was super short and I didn't have the time to meet the founder personally. I spent at least 3 hours on the place, enjoyed the...

A Classic German Car Taking Over The Streets of Bangkok Day by Day!

by Alexberlinetta While I was in Bangkok, Thailand, I had the great opportunity to meet Tamm and his 1964 Mercedes-Benz  220S. Tamm named the 220S “Frank” after a very well known singer: “This W111 has that subtle charm for him, like Mr.Sinatra himself.” Tamm told me....

A Photo Gallery From One Of The Coolest Porsche Events: Luftgekühlt 5

One of the remarkable things about Luftgekühlt was the set design of it, which let you admire and photograph every car from different perspectives with changing lighting conditions.

IT’S BOXY, YET SPORTY AND STILL VERY CLASSY: NICO AND HIS BMW 1600-02

In Berlin, it’s really rare to find many cool locations in one specific district. The government district is the big exception. I remember that I saw Nico one day at a red light in this district. Immediately I wrote to him to finally meet and do a shooting. When I saw the 1600-2 with all these buildings in the background I thought that it’s the perfect location. It really matches with the car!

1000 Miglia: A Race with the most Incredible Cars of the Automotive History

On May 15th, I had my first experience at the 1000 Miglia – and it was amazing! There were some of the most incredible cars of the automotive history on the road today and I think 1000 Miglia is an ode to the golden times of the automobile.

One Of The Rarest Mercedes-AMG Ever Made: Henri And His 1996 SL60 AMG

A couple of months ago during my visit in Paris, a Carphiles friend from there, Alex, kindly introduced me to Henri, who owns a timeless piece of the design, a very rare SL60 AMG Mercedes-Benz in a Special Edition. I remember this car was ‘’the thing’’ back in the 90’s and everyone had a scale model of it, it also appeared on posters and even was featured in a music video. Personally, I’m a big fan of SL’s.

Carphiles Friends Become Contributors: Cars As A Work Of Art At Wilhelm Hallen, Berlin

To me, cars were never just cars…They always meant something special to me. Firstly, they are one of the most significant works of art in my life. Thanks to them I developed artistically and professionally, living the dream of working with something I’m passionate about. Appreciating cars from a design perspective combined with magnificent architecture as a playground is something I love and this provides basically the essence of Carphiles

read more

PART OF:

SOCIAL MEDIA

WRITE US