BMW Motorrad celebrates its 100th anniversary with museum exhibit

The Ultimate Driving Museum of the BMW CCA Foundation in Greer, South Carolina celebrates the 100th anniversary of BMW Motorrad with an eight-month-long exhibit titled: “BMW Motorcycles: A Century of Innovation.”

Over 57 rare and historically significant two- and four-wheeled motorcycle-powered vehicles are on display at the Ultimate Driving Museum, the second-largest BMW archive in the world. (Photo: BMW)

Over 57 rare and historically significant two- and four-wheeled motorcycle-powered vehicles are on display, taking the visitor on a historical tour from the very first 1927 BMW R 47 through the latest 2023 100 Years Edition motorcycles.

The exhibit highlights the technical innovations, racing victories, world records, and pure passion that has driven BMW’s motorcycle division to this day.

In December 1922, BMW chief designer Max Friz put the first full-scale BMW motorcycle on the drawing board. At its heart was a 494 cc, 8.5 hp, air-cooled two-cylinder, four-stroke boxer engine. The first BMW motorcycle, the R 32, was unveiled in September 1923 at the German Motor Show in Berlin.

Production began that same month in an area of the BMW engine works on the edge of the Munich’s Oberwiesenfeld airfield. Just 56 motorcycles were built that first year. Those humble beginnings of BMW motorcycle production launched an unprecedented success story that has spanned a century.

The BMW motorcycles on display at The Ultimate Driving Museum include a selection of prewar singles and boxer twins, postwar street and racing machines, including the 1938 R 51 Super Sport raced by Tim Reid in the 1939 Isle of Man TT, the world championship-winning 1958 Fath Kneeler sidecar racer, and Reg Pridmore’s 1976 AMA Superbike championship-winning R 90 S, plus a world-traveling R 80 G/S and other assorted rarities from the 100-year span of BMW Motorcycle history.

The Ultimate Driving Museum is located across the street from BMW Plant Spartanburg, the largest BMW Group production plant in the world, and just down the road from the BMW Performance Driving School and U.S. Rider Academy.

The BMW CCA Foundation operates the world’s second-largest BMW museum and archive on seven acres adjacent to the BMW Performance Center in Greer, South Carolina.