Classic Camera: BMWs on parade, August, 1958


BMW had reason to be continually grateful for the police buying its motorcycles, as by the time of this photograph, the company was seriously considering giving up motorcycle manufacture as times were so tough – in 1957, just 5400 machines were sold; as recently as 1954 30,000 had been shifted.

German police practising stunts in 1958Indeed, things were so dire that in 1959 Daimler-Benz nearly took over BMW but the BMW 700 (a stylish microcar powered by an engine derived from the 600cc motorcycle unit) managed to turn the tide and with the new 1500 and 1800 car series coming on line, a corner was turned.

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West Germany itself was the subject of the post Second World War ‘Wirtschaftswunder’ or economic miracle, as the country rapidly, amazingly re-established itself as a financial world power. By the late 1950s, West Germany was thriving again and although BMW had endured a dip in the middle 1950s, it was, of course, to go and thrive to become eventually the manufacturing superpower it is today.

The Olympic Stadium (built 1934-36 for the Berlin Olympics) was during the 1950s used for a variety of displays and jamborees, before football team Hertha Berlin moved in during the 1960s. Redeveloped, it still hosts football, sporting events and music concerts today. bike

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