Burkard Bovensiepen, the founder of German performance marque Alpina, passed away last week at the age of 87.

Alpina is still not widely known in the U.S., but for BMW diehards the brand is synonymous with performance, luxury and craftsmanship.

Based in the state of Bavaria, the same as BMW, Alpina was founded in 1965 as a tuner of BMW cars, making it older than BMW’s own M division, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

Bovensiepen was involved in the manufacturing of typewriters early in his career, but he had a passion for fast cars and in the early 1960s started tinkering with the carburetors and revising the cylinder heads of a BMW 1500 he owned. It quickly turned into a business, and that business quickly produced vehicles that were winning on racetracks.

2023 BMW Alpina B5 GT2023 BMW Alpina B5 GT

By 1983, Alpina had become an officially recognized producer of automobiles and both BMW and Alpina have enjoyed a lasting relationship centered on the creation of potent machines.

That relationship become much closer last year when BMW acquired the rights to the Alpina name. The deal puts BMW in charge of Alpina vehicle production beginning in 2025, while Alpina itself, today run by Bovensiepen’s son Andreas, will focus on vehicle development as well as the service, parts, and accessories side of the business.

Alpina vehicles are highly sought after, but the company’s limited capacity means it only builds a few thousand vehicles annually. As a result, its products tend to sell out quickly. With BMW set to take over production, it’s likely volumes will increase and possibly more models will be introduced.

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