The first BMW Art Car - a 1975 3.0 CSL - created by Alexander Calder
Jeff Koons unveiled his M3 GT2 at the Pompidou Centre in 2010. Like the Andy Warhol-designed 1979 BMW M1, it competed at Le Mans
Artist Jeff Koons stands proud alongside his creation
Andy Warhol's 1979 BMW M1: "I tried to portray a sense of speed. When a car is going really fast all the lines and colours are a blur."
David Hockney's 1995 BMW 850 CSi was designed to make the car's contents visible from the outside
A.R. Penck drew on influences as varied as cave painting, physics and mathematics to create this BMW Z1
This 1989 BMW M3 Group A racer was customised by Australian artist Ken Done
Frank Stella's creation, a 1976 3.0 CSL, competed at Le Mans
Jenny Holzer's BMW V12 LMR used lightweight foil rather than chrome to avoid adding weight
Ernst Fuchs's 635 CSi was the first Art Car to be based on a series production BMW
Ernst Fuchs said: "Actually the car needs no embellishment. It has its own aesthetic appeal."
Roy Lichtenstein's 1977 BMW 320i Group 5 racer is one of the most popular Art Cars
Robert Rauschenberg's 635 CSi was the first Art Car to carry photographic materials
Michael Jagamara Nelson drew on aboriginal art, taught to him by his grandfather, to create his E30 M3 Group A racer
Although not an Art Car, Robin Rhode used a Z4 to create a 100x200ft canvas
Matazo Kayama used traditional Japanese techniques to paint this E34 535i
César Manrique created the only 7-series Art Car in 1990
This 1992 BMW M3 GTR was created by Sandro Chia. "A car is a coveted object in our society," he said
In total, 17 Art Cars have been built. Fifteen of them are shown here
BMW is celebrating its 40th anniversary of BMW Art Cars this year.
Exhibitions in Hong Kong's Centre Pompidou, BMW's own Museum in Munich and the Concorso d'Eleganza at Lake Como showcased the first four motorsport-inspired creations decorated in outrageous colour schemes.
Forty years ago, a BMW 3.0 CSL painted by artist Alexander Calder took to the grid for the Le Mans 24 Hours and BMW's Art Cars have provided canvases for top artists since then.
The BMW Art Car Collection was the brainchild of French racing driver Herve Poulain in 1975 who invited Calder to "design a car that married artistic excellence to an already perfect object" – in this case the 3.0 CSL Le Mans challenger. Following input from BMW motorsport director Jochen Neerpasch, the first BMW Art Car was born that year.
Over the last four decades, 17 models have been given the unique 'Art Car' treatment from artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jeff Koons. Highlights include the 1979 Warhol-designed BMW M1 Group 4 car, the 1995 David Hockney BMW 850 CSi and Jeff Koon’s striking BMW M3 GT2 racer of 2010.
“The BMW Art Cars provide an exciting landmark at the interface where cars, technology, design, art and motor sport meet,” said Maximilian Schöberl, Senior Vice President of Corporate and Governmental Affairs for BMW Group.
“The 40-year history of our ‘rolling sculptures’ is as unique as the artists who created them. The BMW Art Cars are an essential element and core characteristic of our global cultural engagement,” he said.
Further presentations are set to follow later this year with exhibitions in Miami, New York and Shanghai.