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2011-07-01 "Beauty and history on show at Lake Como"

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Beauty and history on show at Lake Como

PosterThe Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with the stunning vista of Italy's Lake Como as a background is Europe's most prestigious classic automotive gathering. Magnificent vehicles from the glory years of the last century are displayed in a setting befitting their beauty and technical innovation.

For the first time motorcycles were included in this famous automotive festival. Thirty-five elegant machines in five classes faced a discerning judging panel. From the 1910 Husqvarna Moto-Reve (the first motorcycle to carry the Husqvarna name) to the innovative 1993 New Zealand-built Britten V100, all the models on show highlighted innovative motorcycle design through the 20th century.

One of the feature classes was the Design Prototype Exhibition. BMW was well represented of course, with the 2009 Concept 6, the forerunner study to the new six-cylinder K 1600 GT and GTL luxury touring machines, the concept Husqvarna Mille 3 and from 1934 the stunning Art Deco treasure that is the R 7.

The R 7 was the work of BMW engineer Alfred Böning and designer Leonhard Ischinger who showcased BMW's design and engineering capabilities. The enclosed bodywork with elegant flowing lines and intricate design detail with lashings of chrome expressed the optimism of the age, personified in the Art Deco movement.

Art Deco was all-encompassing with its influence found in buildings, household products, clothing and automobiles. The R 7 was a motorcycle for the time. Hidden behind the swooping bodywork was an 800cc M205/1 Boxer motor, positioned under the pressed steel bridge frame, a design feature that is now in many cases the norm but was groundbreaking nearly 80 years ago.

The R 7 was fully operative and at the time was seen on the Bavarian roads around Munich. Although heavy the R 7 had good power and ridability. However its potential high cost made it uneconomic to put into series production and with WWII looming the bike was put into a crate where it would lie undisturbed until 2005 when restoration commenced.

In 2008 BMW Classic unveiled this stunning example of BMW design and since then the R 7 has been seen in the BMW Museum and at events like the Villa d'Este Concorso. This was the first time most would have seen the R 7 and it attracted a crowd of admirers all weekend.

Another BMW that attracted a lot of attention was the 1955 Streamliner sidecar in which William Noll achieved 280 km/h on the Munich to Ingolstadt autobahn. This achievement took the World Sidecar Speed record and further cemented BMW's command of the sidecar class. Between 1954 and 1974 BMW won 19 World Championships.

The BMW Group is a major partner in the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este with Director of BMW Classic, Karl Baumer serving as President. The event is well established and BMW is looking forward to continuing its success by building upon its fine traditions. “We have seen cars and for the first time motorcycles, which made our hearts beat a little faster – both within the small, exclusive environs of Villa d'Este,” said President Karl Baumer. As well as the addition of motorcycles there was a new class for Concept Cars and Design Talk where an audience could listen to some of the world's leading automotive designers.

The first Concours was won by Alex Lüchinger's American-built 1910 Pierce Four. After presenting the award, Director of BMW Motorrad, Hendrik von Kuenheim went on to comment: “We are looking to develop this Concours into a meeting point for all enthusiasts of motorcycle design. That fits in with both the tradition of the BMW motorcycle brand and the passion for bikes in Italy.”

BMW Motorrad is at the forefront of motorcycle design and technical innovation, something that has always been at the heart of the marquee, going back to the original 1923 R 32 and of course the stunning R 7.


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