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Auto blogMon, 23 Dec 2013
We can't help but use this time of year to look back at the days before and reminisce about friends who are no longer in our lives. For The List, Jessi and Patrick were often joined by a little, red BMW 3 Series that, at times, felt like a third host of the show. Having been bought used for just a thousand bucks, the red BMW proved to be surprisingly durable. Through jumps, dunks and monster trucks, it remained our little trooper 'till the very end, and on the way taught us all how important a faithful four-wheeled companion is to the life's work of completing one's automotive bucket list.
For our last episode of The List in 2013, we give you The Red BMW - A Retrospective.
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BMW was barely two years old when it started manufacturing airplane engines in a factory on Moosacher Strasse in Munich. Two years after that, it sold the factory to Knorr-Bremse AG, a leading manufacturer of brakes for trains and commercial vehicles, and BMW moved into a new facility on Lerchenauer Strasse. There it expanded into the industrial giant we know today, building engines for cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and planes. It's taken the better part of a century to get that original factory back, but that's exactly what BMW has done, reacquiring the expanded facility from Knorr-Bremse this month.
The factory on Moonsacher Strasse will now serve as the headquarters for BMW Group Classic, the division that handles archives and historical vehicles for BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce. From there, just a stone's throw from corporate headquarters and its main plant (as well as BMW Welt and the BMW Museum), the classic division's operations will include a restoration workshop, vintage parts store, the company's archives, administration as well as a place to hold events. In addition, there will be an exhibition space for historical vehicles from the company's considerable collection.
At the heart of the new/old campus is the gatehouse, which is a protected heritage site and will serve as a gateway into the company's history. Read the full details in the press release below.
BMW's performance division has been run by Dr. Friedrich Nitschke since 2011, developing, among other products, the new M3 and M4. But soon the good doctor will be retiring, and BMW has just named his successor.
Taking Nitschke's place as chairman of BMW M GmbH will be Franciscus van Meel (pictured at right), who until recently served as managing director of Audi Quattro GmbH - the rival outfit that makes Ingolstadt's performance models, including the R8 supercar and RS line of performance models.
Van Meel will join BMW on October 1, presumably to learn the ropes from Nitschke before the 59-year-old executive steps down at the end of the year. Back in January, Audi named Heinz Peter Hollwerweger as head of Quattro GmbH and reassigned van Meel to its Beijing R&D center, a role which evidently didn't suit him as well as creating Autobahn-storming German muscle cars.