CLASSIC BMWs stole prime showroom space last night at BMW’s most prestigious UK dealership.
To showcase the introduction of BMW Classic to the UK, 10 iconic cars from the firm’s history were on display at BMW’s Park Lane dealership.
Replacing the selling space of current BMW models were cars ranging from a dainty 1927 3 15 PS Roadster right up to the purist’s favourite – the M3 CSL from 2003.
Formerly known as BMW Mobile Tradition, BMW Classic is the German firm’s operation that keeps classic BMWs on the road. Customers of the service are served by highly skilled technicians who have extensive knowledge of classic BMWs.
The introduction of the service comes after BMW wanted to extend the successful operation in Germany to the UK.
And it is a service that will succeed believes BMW UK managing director, Tim Abbott.
‘We want to keep classic BMWs on the road, and we estimate to provide owners with about 2 million parts a year,’ he said.
’99 per cent of parts are on our catalogue, and if we don’t have the part, we’ll make it for the customer. BMW’s museum in Munich still has technical drawings for every part of every car’.
The decision to launch the service at the Park Lane dealership was taken in respect of the company’s experience.
‘Park Lane has a proud history in BMW motorsport, and when managing director Toby Partridge offered to operate BMW Classic in the UK, we agreed,’ said Abbott. ‘Toby’s team will get the right results and get the job done.’
BMW Park Lane managing director Toby Partridge, added: ‘With more than 34,000 parts on catalogue we really can do anything for a customer. Though mainly a parts service full restorations are available, and we have already had some surprising enquires already.’
When asked what cars qualify as classics, Partridge said: ‘There is no definition of age. The Z8 is already a classic and that is only 10 years old – we will let our customers define “classic”.’
Joining the 1927 3 15 PS and M3 CSL were the elegant 328 and 507 Roadsters, a legendary 3.0 CSL, the iconic M1 supercar, the first generation M3, the sliding-door-famed Z1, a Z8, and the 1970s classic 2002 tii which had been made by BMW Classic using an original spare body in 2005.
‘It was very difficult choosing only 10 cars,’ said Partridge. ‘The 328 and 3.0 CSL were easy, as was the 2005-built 2002 tii. But the M3 CSL was a controversial choice as it challenged the definition of classic.’
The BMW Classic ‘Hall of Fame’ exhibition was officially opened by multiple motorcycle and one-time Formula 1 World Champion John Surtees, with ex-BMW touring car ace Steve Soper. The exhibition is open to the public from 13 – 19 October.
Words and pictures by JAMES BATCHELOR