Designer Paul Bracq has a long and storied past with automobiles that started back in the early 1950s. His resume includes automakers such as Citroen, Peugeot and Mercedes-Benz,. For Bracq though, some of his most crowning achievements came while he was the head of design for BMW from 1971 through 1974.

During that time, he penned the 7 Series, started the design for the 5 Series, and completely designed the award-winning BMW Turbo concept, BMW’s first ever concept car.

“The 1970s at BMW mean a lot to me,” Bracq says in the video above. “I created many designs as visions of the future for BMW.” Many of his design contributions can still be seen in current BMW models. The elongated line running along the lower windowsills can be traced back to his early works.

“A car must have a signature,” he says. “My signature is the guard strip,” referring to the side of the 528 on display at BMW headquarters. The prominent door guards were not only functional, but also served as a key design statement for the car.

Those design statements were and still are a big deal for Bracq. “A car is a moving sculpture.” Words typical of someone who’s spent the last 40 years concentrating on automotive design. “But our job is still quite difficult, he concludes. “You’re forced to fight against time, as time is your enemy.” Nothing could be more true in days where some designs come and go as quickly as pop culture fads while other somehow beat the game, becoming true icons that last.


Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
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