BMW’s history with art cars stretches all the way back to 1975, when they presented the 3.0 CSL, painted by Alexander Calder. Four years later, the German automaker collaborated with Andy Warhol for the iconic M1, and that special project has now turned 40.
Warhol, who was already famous at the time, finished the fourth exhibit in BMW’s Art Car Collection in just half an hour. His sweeping brush strokes transformed the way the mid-engined sports car looks, ensuring it a place in the Pop Art history book.
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Speaking about it, the icon of Pop Art said: “I love this car. It’s more successful than the artwork. I attempted to show speed as a visual image. When an automobile is really travelling fast, all the lines and colors are transformed into a blur.”
With the BMW M1 Art Car turning 40, the company celebrated with a special photo shoot. Car photographer Stephan Bauer, who won the Social Media Contest called ‘Shootout 2018’ last year, organized by BMW Group Classic, was given the chance to immortalize Warhol’s creation, so he chose an old factory building in Cologne, Germany.
The art car in question is actually the 470 horsepower, racing version of the M1, made in conformity with the Group 4 regulations of the era. It celebrated its big debut in the Pro Car series and took part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in June 1979, under number 76 and with some spare parts painted by Warhol for that very specific purpose.