BMW Crafts Artist's Proof of Alexander Calder's Iconic 3.0 CSL 'Art Car'

In 1975, Philadelphia-born artist Alexander Calder laid the foundations for BMW‘s Art Car series with his take on the iconic 3.0 CSL (aka “The Batmobile”), and despite it being one of the most legendary pieces of automotive art in the world, Calder never got to have the car for himself in its final form as he passed in 1976.

Today, Calder Foundation and BMW have announced an Artist’s Proof iteration of the aforementioned Art Car, noting that it’s not a “replica, clone, copy, reproduction, facsimile, or 1:1 of the 1975 Calder BMW Art Car. Rather, it is the identical Artist’s Proof that Calder was entitled to but was never realized until now.”

The story between Calder and BMW runs deeper than just art, however. Calder started his career as an engineer before becoming a sculpture, and in 1973 he painted a DC-8-62 airplane which proved to be such a hit that BMW wanted a slice of the artist too. The result wasn’t just the first Art Car, or that this car was raced at Le Mans in 1975, but the inauguration of BMW’s Art Cars as we know the series today — and has since enlisted everyone from Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to Jeff Koons, Ólafur Elíasson, and David Hockney.

The car you see above is meticulously built using an original BMW 3.0 CSL as the donor base, and carries the same VIN number as the original car that first debuted back in ‘75. As expected, it also features the inline-six engine that produces 480 BHP and this Artist’s Proof iteration is fully driveable — however, it will spend most of its life in museums and on display.

Take a look at the 2021 Artist’s Proof version of Calder’s BMW above, and check out the exhibition dates below.

In other news, a McLaren F1 has just sold for a record $20.5m USD.

Calder BMW Art Car (Artist’s Proof), 1975 / 2021 on display:

Alexander Calder: Minimal / Maximal
Neue Nationalgalerie
Potsdamer Straße 50, 10785
August 22, 2021, from 10 a.m.–6 p.m.

The Bridge
1180 Millstone Rd, Bridgehampton, NY 11932
September 18 — September 19, 2021
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