BMW 507 Roadster

What can be said about BMW that hasn’t been said before?

The German luxury carmaker, which celebrated its 100th birthday this year, has for its entire history released a seemingly never ending stream of breathtaking, record-setting, and smile-inducing machines that have consistently beguiled the automotively inclined.

The essence of BMW boils down to its uncanny ability to produce successful new ideas while remaining faithful to its storied heritage.

And that heritage, by the way, includes innumerable victories in motorsport — on two wheels or four.

Here is the story of 100 years of BMW: One of the best brands around.

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The Bavarian Motor Works story begins with aircraft engines. Their IIIa radial engine quickly gained a reputation for being one of the best and most reliable of its time. Orders from the German government flooded in, overwhelming the small factory.

Now about that logo: While it is widely known as the “propeller,” the blue and white center was meant to represent the Bavarian flag. It was designed by the brother of Karl Rapp, who founded BMW predecessor company Rapp Motorenwerke.

After the company was barred from building military-aircraft engines following World War I, BMW produced its first motorcycle, the R32, in 1923. It was very innovative.

While they are rarely sold, recent prices for R32s at auction include $163,000 for a 1924 model in 2009 and a $139,000 in 2011 for a 1925 model.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider