In 1977, Roy Lichtenstein designed the third vehicle in the BMW Art Car Collection, a BMW 320 Group 5. The colourful, vibrant Pop-art landscape reflects his famous comic strip style in the paintwork, the surroundings flashing by depicting the driver’s view from the moving racing car.
“I pondered on it for a long time and put as much into it as I possibly could. I wanted the lines I painted to be a depiction the road showing the car where to go. The design also shows the countryside through which the car has travelled. One could call it an enumeration of everything a car experiences – only that this car reflects all of these things before actually having been on a road,” said Roy Lichtenstein commenting on his design of the BMW 320i.
Roy Lichtenstein, who was born in New York in 1923, is considered to be one of the founders of American pop art. Until 1938 he painted portraits of jazz musicians, attended the “Art Students League”, finally studying art in Ohio. His earlier works range from cubism to expressionism. He did not become interested in trivial culture such as comics and advertising until the late fifties. His pop art paintings were created in 1961. These were followed by caricatures of the “American way of life”, experiments with well-known works of art, sculptures and films. He died in New York in 1997.
Roy Lichtenstein – The BMW 320 group 5 racing version
four-cylinder in-line engine
4 valves per cylinder
twin overhead camshafts
displacement: 1999 cm³
power output: 300 bhp
top speed: 290 km/h
After its completion, Roy Lichtenstein’s Art Car was able to celebrate its premiere twice – as a work of art at the Centre Pompidou in Paris and as a racing car in the 24-hour race at Le Mans in June 1977. The car was driven by Hervé Poulain and Marcel Mignot from France. The car with the number 50 achieved a ninth place in the overall rating and finished first in its class.
The Volvo 140Series was introduced in 1966 and sold until 1974. In many respects, this was the first Volvo “brick”, with brutal straight lines and rectangular features that seemed to suggest that the Volvo design team had ditched their French curve in favour of a set square, eschewing any consideration of aerodynamic styling along the way! This boxy silhouette would live on into the 1990s in the form of its replacement, the 200 Series, which was really an evolution of the original car rather than a brand new model.
The car was the first Volvo to use a tri-digit nomenclature, with the first digit denoting series, the second denoting number of cylinders and the third denoting the number of door (so a 144 was a series 1 car with 4 cylinders and 4 doors). The 140 Series was initially powered by a 1.8 litre, 4 cylinder engine with single or dual carburettors (B18), which was later replaced by the larger 2-litre, 4 cylinder engine (B20). This was fed by either single or dual carburettors, or Bosch fuel injection (B20E/F).
The 140 Series was sold as the 142 (2 door), 144 (4 door), 145 (estate) and the 145 Express (a high roofed estate).
The Volvo 164 was a luxury version born of the 140 Series - equipped with a longer 3-litre, 6 cylinder engine which necessitated an elongated nose. Therefore, the wings, grille, front bumper, bonnet, headlamp bezels and front indicators were all unique to the 164. This car was produced from 1968 until 1975, when it was replaced by the 6-cylinder variant of the 200 Series.
Famous for incorporating innovative safety features within its cars, Volvo created the VESC (Volvo Experimental Safety Car) in 1972, to demonstrate cutting edge safety features including crumple zones, rollover protection, a ‘disappearing’ steering wheel, anti-lock braking system, automatic seat belts, airbags, pop-up head restraints, interior trim and reversing camera. Many of these features would find there way into the evolutionary 200 Series, which also resembled the VESC in the styling department.
The Volvo 200 Series update replaced the 140 Series in 1974. It shared the same body, but included a number of mechanical and safety improvements. The 200 also replaced the 140-based 164, and overlapped production of the Volvo 700 series introduced in 1982. As the 240 remained popular, only the 260 was displaced by the 700 series, which Volvo marketed alongside the 240 for another decade. The 700 series was replaced a year before the 240 was discontinued.
The car benefited from a broader range of engines, with 4 cylinder versions (240 models) featuring capacities of 1.8, 2.0, 2.1 and 2.3 litres, fed by single or dual carbs or petrol injection and potentially turbocharged depending on model or intended market. The 6-cylinder models (260 models) were equipped with the collaborative PRV V6 engine (2.7 or 2.8 litres). Diesel power was also offered, with derv-sipping models equipped with VW 5 or 6-cylinder powerplants.
The most visually challenging model offered was the Bertone-designed Volvo 262C. Intended to compete in the luxury coupe market, the drivetrain, suspension, floor pan, and many of the body panels of the 262C were taken directly from the Volvo 260 sedan, with Bertone building the roof pillars, roof pan, windshield surround, cowl, and the upper parts of the doors. The roof of the 262C was about 10 cm lower than the 260 sedan and originally wrapped in black vinyl. Alongside svelte coupe offerings from competitors, this ugly duckling had all the grace of a sledgehammer!
BMW Art Car Number 7: Michael Jagamara Nelson M3 1989.
“A car is a landscape as it would be seen from a plane – I have included water, the kangaroo and the opossum.” Michael Jagamara Nelson
After seven days of hard and meticulous work, the Australian artist Michael Jagamara Nelson had transformed the black BMW M3 into a masterpiece of Papunya art. However, the geometric shapes only appear to be abstract. To the expert they reveal kangaroos or emus. Papunya paintings embody religious myths (“Dreaming”) passed on for thousands of years by generations of Aborigines in the form of rock and cave paintings. They constitute their cultural roots and are a source of inspiration for the future. The artist, who was born in Pikili, Australia, in 1949, is a member of the Warlpiri tribe and grew up in the Aborigine tradition. He learnt the ancient painting techniques used by his ancestors from his grandfather and developed a new style based on them. Since the mid-eighties Nelson has been considered the leading representative of the Papunya-Tula movement. His outstanding work includes a large mosaic, which stands in front of the Australian parliament building in Canberra, and an impressive looking wall in the foyer of the Sydney Opera House.
Michael Jagamara Nelson – The BMW M3 group A racing version
four-cylinder in-line engine
four valves per cylinder
twin overhead camshafts
displacement: 2332 cm³
power output: 300 bhp
top speed: 280 km/h
The M3 designed by Nelson comes from BMW Australia’s motor racing section which was then headed by the well-known racing driver Frank Gardner. In 1987 Tony Longhurst drove this car to victory in the Australian AMSCAR Championship. The M3 was employed by the Mobil 1 racing team in 1988. It was driven by the Australian several-times champion Peter Brock.
Discover all the BMW Art Cars at: http://www.artcar.bmwgroup.com.