BMW Art Car

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BMW Art Car by Andy Warhol.

The BMW Art Car Project was introduced by the French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who wanted to invite an artist to create an a canvas on an autombile. It was in 1975, when Poulain commissioned American artist and friend Alexander Calder to paint the first BMW Art Car. This first example would be a BMW 3.0 CSL which Poulain himself would race in the 1975 Le Mans endurance race.[1] Since Calder's work of art, many other renowned artists throughout the world have created BMW Art Cars, including Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein. To date, a total of 16 BMW Art Cars, based on both racing and regular production vehicles, have been created. The most recent artist to the join BMW Art Car program is Olafur Eliasson in 2007 with his "frozen" vision of the Hydrogen Powered H2R.[2] Artists for the BMW Art Car Project are chosen by a panel of international judges. According to February 2009 press release from BMW, discussions are currently underway for the development of the seventeenth art car.[3]

BMW Art Cars

BMW Art Car by Roy Lichtenstein.
Art Car Number Artist Art Car Year
1 Alexander Calder BMW 3.0 CSL 1975
2 Frank Stella BMW 3.0 CSL 1976
3 Roy Lichtenstein BMW 320i Group 5 1977
4 Andy Warhol BMW M1 Group 4 1979
5 Ernest Fuchs BMW 635 CSi 1982
6 Robert Rauschenberg BMW 635 CSi 1986
7 Ken Done BMW M3 Group A 1989
8 Michael Nelson BMW M3 1989
9 Matazo Kayama BMW 535i 1990
10 Cesar Manrique BMW 730i 1990
11 Esther Mahlangu BMW 525i 1991
12 A. R. Penck BMW Z1 1991
13 Sandro Chia BMW M3 GTR 1992
14 David Hockney BMW 850 CSi 1995
15 Jenny Holzer BMW V12 LMR 1999
16 Olafur Eliasson BMW H2R 2007


Between 2003 and 2005, BMW released the first 15 Art Cars (at the time, this encompassed the entire series) as 1:18 scale miniature diecast vehicles, manufactured by Minichamps. The first two to be released were Alexander Calder's BMW 3.0 CSL and Jenny Holzer's BMW V12 LMR. The Art Cars were sold through BMW Automobile Dealerships, select Museum shops, as well as directly from BMW. Initially 3,000 copies were to be produced with an MSRP of $125 (now $145) each.[4]