Mobile Masterpieces: The History of BMW's Art Cars

1976 BMW 3.0 CSL by Frank Stella

BMW Art Cart # 2 - 1976 3.0 CSL by Frank Stella

BMW liked Poulain’s 3.0 CSL so much, the automaker itself commissioned a second Art Car the next year, based again off the race-spec 3.0 CSL. BMW chose to commission American artist (and self-confessed motorsports fan) Frank Stella to tart up the new car.

Unlike Calder’s striking car, Stella’s CSL was inspired by engineering. The artist described his design as a “blueprint transferred onto the bodywork,” and indeed, the car appeared to sport a graph paper grid pattern on every surface. Stella then painted various shapes atop the grid, including concentric circles on the hood that housed the car’s racing number.

Once again, the car was taken to France to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans -- but Poulain was nowhere to be seen. This time, the car was fielded by Australian racer Peter Brock, along with Brian Muir, and Jean-Claude Aubriet. The grueling endurance race once again prevailed, and the car retired from the competition early.

soupedupmoe
Interesting tradition from BNW. my favorite is the 92 3-series(#13), but the old flame motif in the 82 (#3) is nicely done too. The design in #15 must have been thought up the night before. interesting article.
gep10
Very well written and researched article!!
carmom
Great article!! I never thought of cars as art but this discussion helped me to appreciate what these artists did. Very cool!

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