A few posts earlier, I had shared a picture of my friend's BMW.
The snap here again.
A reader commented on the same referring to the BMW as beamer. But few don't agree to this slang, or rather to the spelling. These are those staunch BMW enthusiasts who would call the BMW as bimmer and anything else is an offense.
I read about the so called obsession with calling with a specific name couple of years back and being a car enthusiast, it was interesting to know the story behind it. Read it if you are interested; else skip it :-)
So why is a BMW called a Bimmer and not a Beamer or a Beemer?
Firstly, its a US centric thing. Special pains have been taken to see that distinction is made between using Beemer or Beamer to refer to BMW motorcycles and using Bimmer to refer only BMW cars. The Canadians prefer Bimmer as well.
So to summarize;
Beamer/Beemer - slang for BMW motorcycles
Bimmer - accepted slang for BMW cars
So how did it all start?
Post World war 2, BMW started big in motorcycles. They were very active in motor sports then, one of their rival at the racing track was BSA who was also a big name in motor sports. BSA motorcycles were called Beesers and so BMW motorcycle fans started calling the BMW motorcycles as Beemers. It was eventually mis-spelt and came to be called as Beamers as well.
Eventually BMW went on to manufacture cars; which overshadowed their motorcycles. The car guys did not want to be associated with the motorcycles. BMW car enthusiasts now wanted a new term for BMW cars that was different than the terms for BMW motorcycles and hence coined Bimmer by replacing a vowel.
As told, its just a US centric thing. In UK, they still refer BMW as Beamer or Beemer. In its homeland Germany, the terms bimmer/beamer/beemer is not familiar. They call it Beh Emm Veh for BMW in German and its either the BMW sedan or the car or the motorcycle.
There's an annual Bimmerfest held in Santa Barbara, CA when all BMW car enthursiats meet. Held since 1999, this is one of the largest brand specific gatherings in the US. It was held in May this year, at Rose bowl in Pasadena. Over 3000 people participate and 1000+ BMW cars are exhibited. - here
The confusion of names was kind of resolved in 2003 when Google
search for Bimmer yielded 10 times more hits for BMW as compared to
Phew!! So much for a slang!!