Mobile Masterpieces: The History of BMW's Art Cars

1977 BMW 320i Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein

BMW Art Car # 3 - 1977 320i Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein

In 1977, BMW hired American artist Roy Lichtenstein to render his take on the race-spec 320i Group 5 racer. Inspired by a car traveling at speed, Lichtenstein painted the car to portray a road with passing scenery -- or in other words, a landscape viewed by most drivers racing at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

1977 BMW 320i Group 5 by Roy Lichtenstein

“I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction of the road showing the car where to go,” Lichtenstein said about his 320i. “The design also shows the countryside through which the car has traveled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences -- only that this car reflects all of these things before actually having been on a road.”

BMW unwrapped the car at the Centre Pompidou in Paris shortly before sending it off to compete once more in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 1977 proved to be a better year for BMW’s artistic racer -- not only did it complete the race, but Hervè Poulain and Marcel Mignot managed to drive the 320i to a ninth-place finish overall, and a second-place finish in its class.

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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