Welcome back to Friday at Jalopnik which means it is time for Ask A Car Nerd once again, our weekly series where you send in your burning questions and we answer them. Or at least, we try, albeit most times poorly.

This week the question came to us from reader Randy about a subject near and dear to all of our cold, dead hearts: BMW. He asked:

Where did the three colors for M-series BMW come from? I thought it had something to do with the Italian racing team Hertig Team Libra from their 1970s 3.0 CSL.


A fantastic question, Randy. The endless mystery of why BMW M has its famous blue, purple (later blueish-purple), and red stripes has perplexed us forever. One quick google search would prove that we have not been alone.

For this, we called on our last-standing in-house BMW nerd, Raphael Orlove, who had previously written this probably too-long history of BMW M’s sneaky origins.


I have never met anyone as intrigued and giddy to conduct some serious research. When I asked him to answer this for us on the Ask A Nerd series, he was steam of consciousness messaging me on slack every one of his thoughts or reactions. As well as sending me a works cited for all of his sources. I told him to save it for the camera. Watch above to find out what he found.

If you, reading this now, have a question you want answered on camera, please email us at AskANerd@jalopnik.com!



According to Hemings and a few other sources over the past decade, the story is that the Texaco partnership was short-lived, and, once it ended, BMW bought the rights to the stripes (or maybe even that particular red.)