Sep 8, 2010

1931 BMW AM 4 Coupe

1931 BMW AM 4 Coupe

BMW - Bayerische Motoren Werke - was founded in 1916 by the merger of two aero engine manufactures during World War I. The company shifted to motorcycle production in 1923 and followed with automobiles in 1928-29. The motorcycle had opposed cylinders and shaft drive, which would characterize it for all time. A few prototype cars were constructed using flat twin engines, but none ever reached production.

When BMW automobile production began, its design were from a concept imported from England. Purchasing the Dixi Werke of Eisenach, BMW continued manufacture of the smallest Dixi product, a license-built version of the Austin Seven. In 1929, these cars were given BMW badges. The Dixi name would remain with the marque for six months before being dropped.

In March of 1932, BMW dropped their license with Austin to focus on vehicles of their own design. The first was the Type 30/20S Typ AM. Power was from a 782 cc engine that was slightly larger than the Austin-based unit, but with overhead valves. Bodies were sourced from Daimler-Benz at Sindelfingen.

These cars were never imported to the United States, though some made their way across the ocean. This example made its way stateside in 1974. It was discovered in a Munich dealership as a display model.

The BMW was later donated to the Saratoga Automobile museum before being brought to auction in 2009. It is believed to be one of only two such AM4s in the United States. The 782cc overhead four-cylinder engine produces an estimated 20 horsepower and there is a three-speed transmission.

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