Like many others, I believed that the BMW logo design was based on the spinning propellers of an aircraft against a clear blue sky. Prepare yourself for a shock....it's a myth. While it makes for an interesting story considering BMW did in fact produce aircraft engines, BMW themselves have clarified that airplanes had nothing to do with its design. The story came about after the logo was depicted in the spinning propellers of an aircraft in a magazine advertisement some 12 years after the logo was first designed.
BMW aircraft magazine cover from 1929
The BMW name was first registered by a man named Franz Josef Popp
in the early 1900's with the letters standing for Bayerische Motoren Werke (Bavarian Motor Works). BMW was originally formed from the Rapp Motorenwerke
company and as BMW assumed all of its business the Rapp company requested that the logo be based on its own.
BMW chose the Bavarian national colours as a symbol, but arranged the letters exactly like Rapp. So you can see very clearly how the BMW logo was developed.
- Kai Jacobsen, Automobile Historian, BMW
When World War 1 ended in 1918 it ceased aircraft production and began to produce motorcycle engines and subsequently cars around 1928, the first car created was the BMW Dixi. The BMW logo has also stood the test of time by becoming one the world's most recognized brands and it has seen some slight changes but the core of the design has remained the same.
BMW have also released a short video to clarify the true origins of the logo.