Dixi 3/15 PS: The Story Behind the First BMW

By January 30, 2021 No Comments
BMW 5 Series

When it comes to luxury vehicles nobody does it better than BMW. When you own one, you’ll want only the best BMW repair and maintenance to keep it in top shape.

Over the years, the name BMW has become synonymous with prestige, technology, and performance. While its history unofficially began in 1913, it would take twelve more years before the first BMW car was introduced to the world.

The early years

In 1913, Karl Friedrich Rapp started an airplane engine company called Rapp-Motorenwerke. Following Germany’s loss in World War I, the company struggled to stay afloat and had no choice but to restructure. By 1922, it changed its name to Bayerische Moteren Werke or BMW. When the Treaty of Versailles banned the manufacturing of aircraft engines, BMW began making motorcycles.

In 1927, Automobilwerk Eisenach, a German automotive maker obtained the license to produce a German counterpart of the British Austin Seven from the Austin Motor Company. The car came off the assembly line in December of the same year and was named the Dixi 3/15 PS DA-1.

The following year, BMW found success in making motorcycles and was looking to expand. The company then bought the Automobilwerk Eisenach in November of the same year and included in that acquisition were the rights to manufacture the Dixi.

The Dixi 3/15 PS

The Dixi featured a DA (Deutsche Ausführung) badge so consumers can distinguish it from its British counterpart. The “3/15 PS” in the car’s name refers to three speeds and 15 actual horsepower from the 748-cc four-cylinder engine. The car featured a front engine rear wheel drive (FR) layout and had a top speed of 75mph. The mileage was around 51 miles per gallon, providing significant cost savings.

The Dixi came in a range of body styles from sedans to roadsters. BMW proudly sold over 25,000 examples of both sedan and convertible models.

In 1929, the upgraded “Dixi” was launched and with it, the removal of the DA badge. Three years later, BMW introduced its first independently manufactured car called the 3/20.

The 303 and 328 Roadster

Despite the launch of the 3/20, many argue that the 1934 303 was more notable since it marked the first appearance of what would then be BMW’s trademark parts: the in-line six-cylinder engine and the twin ‘kidney’ grilles. The 303 is also the first in the BMW 3 series, as it was a compact sedan and was succeeded by models 315, 319, and 329.

BMW 3.0 CS

In 1936, BMW tinkered with high-performance vehicles and launched the 328 Roadster which turned out to be one of the most successful sports cars in the world. The car won its maiden race at the Nürburgring and collected 100 more victories before World War II.

Today, BMW exports thousands of vehicles around the world. In the last decade, it launched its first hybrid car followed by its first electric car and first front-wheel drive car. In 2020, BMW announced that their fifth generation of electric drive systems is already in the works. With its rich history and commitment to style, sustainability, and excellence, BMW will forever be known as one of the prominent leaders in the automotive industry.

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