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Bavarian carmaker BMW has delved back into its illustrious motoring past for a concept racer inspired by the 328 two-seater which won the gruelling Mille Miglia road race in 1940.
The “Mille Miglia 2006” Concept Coupe looks like a covered version of a legendary racer and has been made to celebrate the Munich company’s long association with the event. The sleek, silver-coloured model was unveiled at the recent start of the classic version of the race in Italy.
The original Mille Miglia endurance race over public roads in northern Italy was struck from the racing calendar in 1957 as being too dangerous.
The platform for what is set to remain a unique two-seater is the M-tuned version of the Z4 coupe and the concept inherits the 3.2-litre six cylinder engine. The flowing lines of its bodywork are fashioned from carbon-fibre and as a weight-saving measure there are no conventional doors. Instead the roof section lifts off like a canopy to reveal a spartan cockpit.
According to BMW development chief Burkhard Goeschel, many of the materials and methods used in making the concept will probably find their way into series models. One technique used in the interior involved treating wafer-thin stainless steel sheeting with a laser, enabling it to be neatly folded.
“We call this ‘industrial Origami’ and regard it as a method of forming interior features to a high degree of precision without the use of expensive metal presses” said BMW chief designer Chris Bangle.
The concept’s looks hark back to the past, but the car’s aerodynamic skin, with faired-in rear wheels and the latest high-tech LED light technology point the way ahead, say the makers. The BMW Concept Coupé Mille Miglia 2006 has a carbon-fibre body, but the style harks back to the BMW 328.
· Hoani Akarana