January 18, 2013

BMW, the preferred car of German Terrorists.

As much as a surprise this might be to the aging yuppies who first adopted BMW's as a symbol of everything the Red Army Faction supposedly stood against,  saying the BMW 2002 was a terrorist car makes as much sense as declaring the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super the car of Italian 1960s bank robbers.  

Still,  a curious piece of trivia and in the tradition of outlaw cars  (Clyde Barrow and John Dillinger liked Fords).

(via Motoring Con Brio and Ralf Becker)

In the early 1970s, the automaker BMW's brand was symbiotically linked to left-wing terrorism in the company's native West Germany. BMW/Brand Terror explores how BMW came to be connected to terror.

BMWs became so strongly associated with terrorism that a common joke emerged among Germans: "BMW" didn't stand for "Bavarian Motor Works" but instead stood for "Baader-Meinhof Wagen" after the notorious Baader-Meinhof Gang that was waging war against the German state.

Police would regularly set up roadblocks and simply pull over just BMWs, certain in their belief that the terrorist group only preferred the sporty cars from the Bavarian automaker. As Der Spiegel magazine noted, BMW owners had a very tough time in the early seventies, because quite simply they were ALL under suspicion.

BMW/Brand Terror was created by Richard Huffman, who has become one of the world's leading experts on this arcane era of German history. Huffman's father served as the head of the US Army's bomb disposal unit in Berlin in the early 1970s, and defused several terrorist bombs, including one meant specifically to kill him. It is this family history that inspired Huffman to learn more about the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the June 2nd Movement, and other radicals who waged war on the German and American states in the 1970s.

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