BMWs that Will Be Missed: BMW 3/15

Despite what you might think, BMW wasn't always a luxury car manufacturer. Actually, in the beginning, the company didn't even build cars, instead they were making aircraft and motorcycles. The first car the Bavarian company ever built was called Dixi 3/15 and it wasn't even their creation.
BMW 3/15 5 photos
Photo: BMW
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The Dixi was actually the British Austin Seven and was built in Germany under license, in Einsenach. Back then, BMW's chief, Franz Josef Popp, decided it was time BMW expanded its ventures into something else but airplanes and motorcycles.

After the first World War, inflation was rampant in Germany. Any attempt at selling a luxury car would definitely be doomed to fail. That's why Popp decided to create a cheap, affordable car. In this regard he named Professor Wunibald Kamm to design a cheap, revolutionary economy-car.

Unfortunately things didn't work out at first so, in 1927 BMW began building Austins, in order to get more acquainted with the auto industry. After one successful year, BMW bought the Dixi company and the famous blue and white roundel began to appear on a new car, called 3/15.

The new model was different from its predecessor and, under Max Friz's supervision, evolved over the years. However, the times were extremely vicious. In 1930 the Great Depression hit the world and BMW managed to sell only 19,000 3/15s over the 4 years of production (1927 - 1932).

There were 3/15 models, the DA 1, 2, 3 and 4. Yes, it was as simple as that. The first one had a 747cc engine with 15 HP and a 3-speed manual gearbox. It was able to reach a top speed of 75 km/h (45 mph) and had a fuel consumption of 5.5 l/100km (43 mpg)

The second mode, the DA-2 had the same technical specs. The only changes done were regarding other tech stuff like 4-wheel brakes, larger tires and a lower final drive ratio.

The third version was a roadster and BMW's first sports car. The engine had 18 HP and the car was lower and weighed only 400 kg (882 lb). The last version was the first BMW car with independent front suspension.

The Great Depression and the introduction of the Wartburg in 1930 sealed the 3/15's faith and in 1932 BMW decided to pull it out of production, being replaced by the 3/20, a more powerful, better version.
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