Fixing the Issue of BMW's Long Lost Concept Car

Marcello Gandini's Bertone Garmisch was the genesis of the first 5 Series. 49 years after its disappearance, BMW brought it back for good.

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REMI DARGEGEN

It seems that apart from the Concorde and Kodachrome, anything produced in the 1970s can be recreated now using the marvels of modern technology. And given how the press is struggling to stay optimistic about BMW's current design direction, the brand decided to play it safe: Instead of something new for this year's Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este they brought back one of their long lost concept cars. One we dearly missed.

Marcello Gandini's BMW Garmisch links the New Class sedans of the 1960s with the era that followed after the introduction of the first 5 Series in 1972. And while the production E12 was a Paul Bracq car with loads of input on the exterior from Gandini, the Garmisch was a pure Bertone Design product, named after the site of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games.

Bertone's collaboration with BMW started in 1962 with the 3200 CS, which was a Giugiaro car. The Italians followed up with Gandini's 2800 Bertone Spicup in 1969, which was a 507-based convertible featuring a front strikingly similar to the Alfa Romeo Montreal's. It was a busy time for Bertone, and unlike the hand-built Alfa, BMW's vastly expensive open-top proposal remained a one-off. Gandini then came up with the Garmisch, which was a mid-sized coupé ready to wow the audience at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. And then vanish into thin air straight after.

It isn't the only Bertone car that we lost track of, and as always, two options remain on the table: The car is either locked away in a private collection (perhaps next to ), or long destroyed without anybody willing to come clean about it. Either way, the predecessor to BMW's modern sedans is now back, and at Villa d'Este, Marcello Gandini was happy to tell its tale:

The original idea came from Nuccio Bertone himself who wanted to consolidate our existing relationship with BMW by designing a surprise show car for the Geneva Motor Show. We wanted to create a modern mid-sized coupe that was faithful to BMW’s design language, but that was also more dynamic and even a bit provocative. We picked the name Garmisch because skiing was very popular in Italy at that time. It evoked dreams of winter sports and alpine elegance. Having seen the final car, it is hard for me to even distinguish it from the original.

BMW says original documents of the Garmisch were sparse, so their teams had to retrace every detail from a small selection of period images, most of them being black and white. With input from Gandini and BMW 3D-printers set to 1970, the new concept was built by specialists in Turin, finished in a light champagne metallic, just like the 2002 ti-based original was almost 50 years ago.

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BMW
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