At the end of May every year, enthusiasts for historic cars and motorcycles come together from all over the world to celebrate the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este at the shores of Lake Como, Italy.
As for this year, hundreds of rare and classic beauties once again gathered at the event, making it one of the highlights of the year as far as classic car fans are concerned.
One of the main highlights of this year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was definitely the “reborn” BMW Garmisch.
Designed by Marcello Gandini, one of the most influential car designers of the 20th century, the Garmisch was a classic concept car that was designed for Bertone back in 1970.
Unfortunately, after it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1970, the car just “vanished”, never to be seen again.
So, in an effort to pay homage to the concept and Gandini himself, BMW recreated the Garmisch to look exactly how it did back then.
“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,” said Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President of BMW Group Design.
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.
The most distinctive design feature of the BMW Garmisch was its bold, vertical and almost angular variation of BMW’s kidney-shaped radiator grille, 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.
With its rather unusual vertical radio on the center console, a lavish fold-out mirror for the passenger and a flamboyant mix of colours and materials, the BMW Garmisch added an elegant Piemontese twist to the rather functional interior design habits of the time.
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.