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Travelling in the Fiftys

Do you see the background of this picture? This is a Autobahn! Even as part of a movie, it would seem as an unrealistic depiction as cars only pass every 30 seconds. Cars still used to be uncommon 10 years after the Second World War; People were happy if they owned a motorcycle. It did not take long though before Volkswagen and other speedsters raced along the highway. It seems almost unbelievable when reflecting upon the fact that BMW used to struggle to cut it on the market. Besides selling motorcycles, they also specialized in expensive big 6-cylinder cars and V8 limousines for VIPs such as politicians, company managers and even the Munich police. They were saved by the Italians: BMW was able to buy their bubble car license. When BMW added their strong motors as well as 2 wheels instead of one, the road holding increased tremendously.  It became commonly known as the “Knutschkugel” (kiss ball). This picture shows one of the later models. The size was increased which made room for a second row of seats. There still was not a true luggage space compared to modern standards. 4 persons filled up the space that only about 100 liters were left for luggage. This was obviously not enough to survive a family camping trip in Italy – the favorite holiday destination of Germans. While being small on the inside, the outside, however, gave way to pack all belongings and stack them on top: tent, air mattress, food etc. – all of which were transported across the Brenner Pass by these fearless travelers on their quest for sunshine. Whether a radio was included in the Volkswagen of the picture is not known but you can easily imagine that Caterina Valente`s voice filled the car singing “ Come to Italy for a while, come join us at the blue sea..”

Reisen in den 50ern mit BMW 600

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