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‘The father of motorsport at BMW’

2 months ago

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Andrew English | Journalist


28 February 2024

‘You’re going to need to be very careful with this one,’ said ‘the voice’ from on high at The Intercooler. ‘Readers aren’t keen on profiles of old dead blokes they’ve never heard of.’

Ominous words indeed for any writer, but with BMW softening us up for the second generation of its Neue Klasse range of cars next year, an appreciation of one of the key figures in the development of the original Neue Klasse could scarcely be more timely. Besides, they don’t make them like Alex von Falkenhausen anymore…

He was a supremely talented and far-sighted design engineer and motorcycle racer, is still revered in BMW engineering circles, yet in his time, he was a sizeable thorn in the side of the car maker’s Pecksniffian management. It’s also ironic that a man who played such a key part in BMW’s past wasn’t actually employed by BMW for large parts of his career.

So, search in vain for documents about this austere and aristocratic man in the files of the spin doctors of the Bavarian engine company – Falkenhausen is cut from the same cloth as most of my heroes: difficult bastards every last one of them…

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