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BMW Classic Center opens to customers

Fri, 09 Apr 2010

Great news for vintage BMW owners: The German automaker has opened its Classic Center to customers.

BMW says global demand for its vintage cars and motorcycles is growing. Its 200 clubs have about 200,000 members, and the company estimates there are 600,000 classic BMWs on the road--and those are just the ones the company knows about. Add in about 70,000 classic motorcycles, so roughly one in 10 BMWs built until the 1980s is still on the road today. That's definitely a market you'd want to develop.

Now the company has expanded the Historic Workshop, which until now was responsible for the company's own vehicles, into the BMW Classic Center, based in Munich and now accepting outside jobs. The center will buy and sell vehicles, authenticate them and give advice to buyers.

"The great advantage for customers who bring their vehicle back to the original manufacturer is the complete range of services available under one roof," says Ralf Vierlein, head of sales and aftersales for BMW Group Classic. "We have the theoretical knowledge of the vehicles, the technical know-how, the original BMW parts and the necessary infrastructure to connect everything up systematically."

As an example of the center's capabilities, there's a story of the owner of a 3.0 CSi who wanted an automatic gearbox installed in his 1970s coupe to replace the original manual gearbox. This combination was never on sale so he couldn't find an independent workshop to do the work. But in February 1972, BMW fit two of the high-performance coupes with automatic gearboxes. The cars never got beyond prototypes. But since BMW had the engineering documents in the archives, the Classic Center was able to build a replica of the transmission, faithful to the original.

To cope with the rising demand, BMW partners abroad with which it can work in future; the first was the Classic Center in Zurich, Switzerland. That was followed by the branch in D

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