Alpina Automobiles turned 50 last week - and the manufacturer of exclusive, faster BMWs threw a string of parties at its base in Bavaria to celebrate.
Still controlled by the Bovensiepen family that founded the firm (its first product was a twin-carburettor kit for a BMW 1500), Alpina produced more than 1700 vehicles in 2014, the biggest annual figure in its history.
Alpinas sprawling factory site (which still includes the home of its founder, Burkard Bovensiepen) was littered with classic cars from the firms own collection and private enthusiasts. You can see some of the finer examples in our gallery above; our particular favourites were the sharply styled B10 V8 S Touring (based on the E39 5 Series) and the 8 Series-based B12 5.7, equipped with a manual gearbox.
Its worth remembering that Alpinas relationship with BMW - built on a fundamental basis of trust, according to Bovensiepen - is still unique in the car industry. Alpina gets CAD data on forthcoming BMWs 49 months before they enter production. It spends around 7 million developing each new model, its cars still go down the same production lines as regular BMWs and all models are supported by a BMW-backed warranty.
Alpina expects the switch in generations of 3 Series and 7 Series this year to cause a slight reduction in production figures this year, although it hopes that improved efficiencies will allow it to partly compensate for this by making more examples of its recently launched SUV, the XD3.
Blog - When Jaguar tried to buy Alpina
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