On July 21st, 1917, under the leadership of KarlRapp and Max Friz the Bayerische Flugzeugwerkerenames itself Bayerische Motoren Werke (BavarianMotor Works). Their logo, representing an airplanepropeller in the blue sky, would remain throughoutthe company’s history. At 3,400 employees, BMWrecruited Franz Joseph Popp from Daimler tobecome it’s managing director. The company’s pri-mary output; the v12 airplane engine.
BMW, in the midst of an economic boom funded bythe German air force, takes its 3500 employees andgoes public. Primarily focused on manufacturing forthe Fokker DVII – arguably one of the best aircraft ofthe time – the future appears to be all blue skies forRapp, Friz, Popp and company.
With the Treaty of Versailles (signed June 28th) end-ing WWI, Germany is now forbidden to manufactureairplanes. Max Friz, the head designer for BMW atthe time, reluctantly looks to motorcycle and auto-mobile engines to sustain the company’s economichealth. A sharp turn away from the 6 and 12 cylinderairplane engines the company was making, Friz putshis aero-engineering knowledge to work and withinfour weeks of being commissioned has blueprints forwhat would become the infamous "boxer" engine.
What would eventually become the Bayerische Motoren Werke (BMW) began as two sepa-rate companies. Gustav Otto’s Flugzenmaschinenfabrik (Air Plane Factory) in Munichmerged with Karl Rapp’s Flugwerke Deutschland on March 7th, 1916 to become theBayerische Flugzeugwerke (Bavarian Airplane Works). Initially specializing it the design andmanufacture of airplane engines, the company would manufacture for Germany’s ﬂedglingair force, including the Baron Von Richten, better known as the Red Baron.