Munich, Germany - BMW’s Individual bespoke division, based in Garching, just outside the city, celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017.
And what better way to mark the occasion than to invite the craftsmen and women who spend their working days producing unique cars to fulfil customers’ aspirations, to do one their way - something that would stand out even among all the special editions and individual commissions of the past quarter-century - for display at the upcoming Frankfurt motor show.
So they went big - literally. They started with BMW’s luxury flagship, a long-wheelbase M760Li, 448kW/800Nm, 6.6-litre V12 all-wheel drive performance limousine, finished in a very special one-off dark red paint colour, and looked for inspiration to a long-standing partner from the most luxury-focused industry on the planet - classic yachting.
BMW and Finnish luxury yacht builder Nautor's Swan have for many years been co-supporters of prestigious regattas such as “Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez”, and the two worked together to produce a one-off show car, fitted and trimmed to the standard of a multi-million dollar sailcraft.
Nautor's Swan did more than provide inspiration; its craftsmen produced the wood trim elements for this special model by hand at their workshop in western Finland. The teak panels have joints precisely filled with a fine layer of rubber; when applied to the wooden deck of a yacht it’s called caulking, and it allows the wood to expand and contract with changing temperatures and humidity.
And for the same reason this carbon-bonded wooden decking graces the boot floor of the show car, with the sides and lid liner trimmed in off-white alcantara synthetic suede.
The interior wood trims, door sills and floor coverings (‘cabin sole’ in yachtspeak) were also made and precisely fitted by Nautor’s Swan in solid teak, a supremely durable timber that’s also notoriously difficult to work with.
In contrast, the centre console and the driver’s side trim elements are made of European oak, embossed with the Nautor's Swan signet, which is also stitched into the head restraints, cushions and sun visors.
The interior is trimmed with fine-grain merino leather in off-white and brown, including the rear passenger footrests, A and B pillars, seat trims, door sills and the side covers for the instrument panel. Even the owner’s manual has been bound in matching brown merino leather at Garching.
There are more sailing cues on the outside; the brake callipers have been re-machined on the outside to leave the Nautor’s Swan logo standing proud, and refinished in the same colour as the car. Instead of a model designation, the boot lid carries the Nautor’s Swan arrow, which is usually found on the side of the yachts - and there’s a classic cove line (the sailor’s term for a coachline) down the side of body.
The BMW Individual M760Li inspired by Nautor's Swan will celebrate its debut at the Frankfurt motor show on 12 September, and will also introduce a new logo for BMW’s range-topping luxury cars - the 7 Series, the new X7, the i8 and the new i8 Roadster - that combines a black-and-white version of the manufacturer’s roundel first used 100 years ago with the company name, “Bayerische Motoren Werke” written out in full.