While BMW didn’t invent the “art car”, it certainly invested in the concept, popularized, and commercialized the hype created around its 1-of-1 machines. The next logical step—and quite an impressive one—produce a series of them.
At first glance, this may seem like BMW is “cheapening” the Art Car ideal, however, THE 8 X JEFF KOONS relies upon a team of highly skilled painters and craftspeople (some brought in from Rolls-Royce) and wholly different processes to realize both inside and out.
Ninety-nine (99) will be built in total, and for perspective, only four of these special models can be painted in a week. Each needs more than 200 hours just for exterior paint. How does BMW make this happen? Here’s what the company says about its process:
Once it reaches the paint shop, the limited-edition model goes through an entirely custom process in which Jeff Koons’ unique design is applied layer by layer to a vehicle with a Glacier Silver basecoat. This does not, of course, take place in the normal series process on the plant’s highly automated finish paint lines, but in separate spray booths with workstations designed for skilled manual work. Here, a team of around 20 employees applies the lettering, graphic elements and coloured lines or surfaces by hand, layer by layer, with the help of stencils or foils.
“We use a total of eight different design colours,” explains Marco Klante, the project manager at the Dingolfing paint shop. At certain intervals, the vehicles are returned to the standard production process, where the hand-applied design is “sealed” with a clear coat. The vehicles are also finely brushed by hand on a regular basis to ensure smooth transitions between individual painted design elements that cannot be detected by hand. This is another highly time-consuming process requiring the utmost precision. “Because all the paint coats applied together are not even half a millimetre thick,” Klante explains.
Kudos to the workers at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing for signing on to produce this series. The interior is custom, as you would expect. Like other Art Cars, we find that archival photos of the process are often most interesting so…we’ve got them for you. ;)
source • BMW (release)