Packing BMW’s dream machines from 75mph pre-war icons, to the 230mph supercars of the 21st century into an 80,000+ word book project, full of the finest original photographs, was a long held fantasy of author Jeremy Walton. His aim was to move his work from the earlier ‘Unbeatable BMW’ racing tales, to how it feels to drive the best of the best from BMW. All without relying on rehashing factory photographs and PR editorial.
As the project evolved, it became clear that there was just too much material to put into one book, without having to edit out way too much excellent material. Thus, Ultimate Drives became two books, with volume 1 featuring BMWs from the years 1937-82 and volume 2 models between 1983-2011.
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BMW-Ultimate Drives (Volumes 1 & 2) is written by an independent author who has brought benchmark BMW work to a global audience since 1972, when a 24-hour motor race result in a BMW 3.0 CS changed his life.
The contents were hotly debated, the dream factor was deemed important. When worldwide celebrities like Elvis Presley buy BMW (a fifties 507 during his 1958-60 German military service), we thought you should know how it feels to steer such seductively rare combinations of V8 power and the coachbuilders art. So we have some ultra rare—handmade by the hundred—fifties star cars from 503 to 507 and sixties 3200CS, the latter previewing road and race versions of the elegant road (CS/CSi) and race (CSL) BMW coupés of 1969-75 vintage.
As you’ll see by whisking through the contents of Volume 1, Jeremy Walton and chief photographer William Taylor went for a bit of both, from affordable, to million dollar babies. Although BMW manufactured 15 horsepower Austin Sevens under license from the British in late 1927, desirability of the Dixi then BMW-branded machines shot up with the 1934 debut of the 315/1 sports 2-seater which gave the European establishment such a team–prize winning shock on Alpine rallies of the thirties. That simple but efficient 315 derivative led to the legendary 328 6-cylinders and 80bhp. These 2-liters became world class benchmarks from a debut Nurburgring victory. We have driven examples both as traditional open sports cars of shattering 21st century value to the underwritten but hugely significant 327/28 coupe, which was the glamorous forerunner to a line of postwar BMW coupés that continue today.