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.
“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.