"New Horizon" Art Car BMW E3: The idea behind Wundercar and ramp.special
The BMW E3 New Horizon is a cult object with a timeless and symbolic character, a car to inspire courage for the future and a determination to face the change in the things around us. This is not a BMW Art Car in the conventional sense. It never competed on the racetrack before or after being repurposed as a canvas by a contemporary artist commissioned by BMW Group. Instead, its mission is the vision of transporting the spirit of 1969 as a classic car into the present.
The New Horizon is the brainchild of art lover and car enthusiast Christian Zschocke, designed by pop artist Heiner Meyer and painted by art car professional Walter Maurer, who has been involved in the creative process of many of the official BMW Art Cars. This very special art car celebrated its world premiere at the 2018 Art Miami and has since traveled from one exhibition to the next – with the mission of inspiring and infusing our experience with a fresh sense of curiosity, an openness to change and an eagerness for the future.
In the following interview, Christian Zschocke explains how the car drives and what exactly defines the spirit of the era that he wants to convey.
How does one come up with the idea of painting such a special car in such a special way?
Several ideas came together here. The first thing is the idea of making the world a better place, to look at new horizons. That was the starting point. And once you have that idea, you need something to help you express it. The E3 was a new horizon for BMW: the largest and fastest car, designed to take on the market leader. They really went out on a limb with this car. That seemed to me like a good foundation for the project.
What message do you want to convey with the project?
The project is called New Horizon because I want to encourage the people who see the car to think about their own new horizons. I want them to set new horizons, horizons of their own, the ones they see as right for themselves. And they should also try or at least be encouraged to achieve them.
Did the project work for you?
The whole thing was pretty much a new horizon for me. So it worked out great.
»The first thing is the idea of making the world a better place, to look at new horizons.«
How does the car drive? What does it feel like to drive it?
We completely took the car apart at first, replacing and revising everything down to the last bolt. The car is probably in better shape now than when it was first delivered. And it drives like it too! The six-cylinder, 2.5-liter engine produces 170 horses of power. The thing will easily do two hundred klicks if you want it to. A very pleasant car to drive.
Back in 2016 you said you made the car to create something positive, something to make the world a better place. Was the mission a success?
First of all, I am surprised at how much I struck a chord with people’s thoughts and feelings. At how many people I was able to reach with this project. That was completely unexpected. I thought people would say, “Nice art,” and leave it at that. But the car has garnered such an infinite amount of popularity – everyone has photographed it, and it was the topic of conversation at trade shows. You can’t plan that, that just happened. Secondly, the message from 2016 is more pertinent now than ever – in these coronavirus times, when we are asking ourselves if the world will continue to turn in the same way. Or if we have to change something. These are the goals you have to set for yourself. In this respect, I believe that the project came at just the right time.
»The car is probably in better shape now than when it was first delivered. And it drives like it too!«
The car was built in 1969 and conveys the spirit of the time. What was the world like back then?
People back then believed in technological progress – just look at the Concorde or the moon landing. Add to that the belief in human self-determination, the fight for more democracy. And of course the freedom in our personal interactions, sexual liberation from the somewhat inhibited post-war period. This spirit of optimism was everywhere, in business, politics and our private lives. Confidence in the future, the certainty of doing something, of venturing and daring. And indulging in certain freedoms. That was not only reflected in achievements like the moon landing but also in the fact that everything, from cars to wallpaper, was bright and colorful. Green, yellow, red, pink. Look at any parking lot today and all you’ll see is gray and white.
Do you sometimes wish the times were more colorful today?
I would like to see more courage, more positive endeavors, more freedom. And that everyone sets their own horizons and goals. Because if you set and achieve your goals, you’re satisfied and happy.
Would you like to have a time machine?
Are you asking if I would like to go back to the year 1969?
»The car has garnered such an infinite amount of popularity – everyone has photographed it, and it was the topic of conversation at trade shows.«
No. I’m totally satisfied with my life. I have the New Horizon – that’s my time machine. The New Horizon – at least that’s the plan – should transport the spirit of 1969 into our present time. And I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s caught the interest of so many people. Poems and songs have been written about it, it comes up in conversation, newspapers, articles. You wouldn’t believe it! Where does that come from? It touches on something and strikes a chord.
Why does it affect people like that?
I think that everything came together in this project somehow. The car isn’t too beefy – it is sort of friendly and seems to be smiling at you a little. The design is bright and cheerful. You could not take away anything without losing its spirit.
The theme "New Horizon" goes all out here:
A plea and symbol for a positive, cheerful attitude of optimism about the future. And because a wonder car understood in such a way feels so marvelously good right now, we spontaneously dedicated a whole special to it.