Mobile Masterpieces: The History of BMW's Art Cars

1989 BMW M3 Group A by M.J. Nelson

BMW Art Car # 7 - 1989 M3 Group A by M. J. Nelson

Australian artist M. J. Nelson was granted the honor of creating an Art Car out of what is arguably one of BMW’s most influential cars of all time: the first-generation (E30) M3. Powered by a 2.3-liter I-4 producing between 195 horsepower and 215 horsepower depending on the specification, BMW’s E30 M3 was capable of dusting most other cars on the road. The road going car was produced in order to homologate the car for several different racing series, and it proved to be an extremely capable racecar, winning 1436 races in Europe in just under four-and-a-half years, making it the most victorious racecar of all time. In 2007, we here at Automobile named the car one of the top five drivers’ cars of all time.

Upon first glance, Nelson’s car appears to be incredibly abstract. Look closer however, and Australian wildlife begins to emerge, with emus and kangaroos emerging from the car’s surface. Hailing from Australia, Nelson drew his inspiration from the outback and turned the M3 into a piece of Papunya tribal art.

Unlike previous race-spec Art Cars, Nelson’s M3 never saw action in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Before being converted to an Art Car however, Tony Longhurst drove this M3 to victory in the Australian AMSCAR Championship. Australian race driver Peter Brock also drove it for the Mobil 1 racing team in 1988.

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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