Paul Bracq: A Modern Vision From The Past

December 4th, 2014 by


In 1970, Bracq was hired to lead the BMW style center, which only comprised of a dozen people. In 1972, his team presented The Turbo concept car for the Munich Olympic Games. It was the 1st ever concept car for BMW and is undoubtedly Paul’s best known work. It combined both solutions for safety concerns and the desire to be aesthetically appealing. The bumpers were made of molded synthetic rubber tinted in the mass and symbolised this search perfectly. The car also had spectacular “gullwing” doors inspired by the Mercedes 300SL. Unfortunately, The 1973 energy crisis prompted BMW to freeze this ambitious program, which never came into reality. But the project clearly influenced the design of BMW’s only Supercar, the M1.


BMW Turbo concept, with design and bumper sketches.


But the Turbo wasn’t Bracq’s only design and his team would create more iconic BMW’s. The 1st Generation 5 series (E12) was launched in 1972 too and inaugurated the principle of “series” for the Bavarian maker, which still exists to this day. One can say that this design would become the template for all future BMW’s since. Bracq again took certain themes already sketched during his time at Mercedes, in particular the horizontal character line, and applied them to BMW. Paul’s team created the E21 3 Series, which would become the most important car for BMW in becoming the brand’s best selling car with over 1.3 million car produced. The E21 was probably the 1st luxury sports sedan produced. In 1976, BMW launched the iconic shark nosed E24 6 Series and in 1977, the E23 7 Series. All these cars were launched after Bracq’ departure from Munich in 1974, but were the fruit of his design team. Paul even designed an evolution of the 6 series with a flat nose that looks eeringly siilar to the future 8 series… During his short 4 years at the head of that department, Paul, unlike at Mercedes, had a free reign on the design language and direction for the company and he said ”I could express with complete freedom my ideas concerning automobile style while respecting the image of BMW of the Seventies”. Paul Bracq has undoubtedly created THE template of the modern BMW as we know today and his influence on the design language of the company has lasted to this day. When we imagine what the “classic” BMW design is, it is probably one of Paul Bracq’s…


The “Shark Nose” E24 6 Series, with concept drawings and final render. The last drawing is a “Flat Nose” evolution for this model looking a lot like the nose of the future 8 Series.


The E21 3 Series, with concept drawing


The E23 7 Series


The E12 5 Series


In 1974, Paul Bracq returned to france to lead the Interior Style for the French brand Peugeot and was responsible for designing the interiors of the 305, 505, 205, 405, 106 and 406, as well as Quasar, Proxima, Oxia concept cars. Interior Style, although a priori less noble than Exterior Style, demanded the know how to create something comfortable, intimate and that was able to withstand time with adequate materials. When in 1994, Murat Günak took control of the Peugeot Style department, Paul Bracq retired.

In addition to his professional career, Paul has never stopped drawing, painting and sculpting, paying close attention to the achievements of Bugatti, Talbot, Rolls Royce … He is not afraid to distort, Lengthen the shapes of his models according to his inspiration of the moment. It is considered one of the best contemporary automotive painters. He regularly participates in exhibitions on the theme of art and automobile. Paul is also a judge of automobile elegance concours such as Pebble Beach…


Some of Paul Bracq’s paintings


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