What The Hell Is Going On With This BMW M Coupe Brochure

Photo Credit: BMW, or rather Richard Avedon, or rather Richard Avedon for BMW.
Photo Credit: BMW, or rather Richard Avedon, or rather Richard Avedon for BMW.

The clownshoe BMW M Coupe is one of the greatest cars the company ever produced. Also, apparently, it had one of the strangest brochures I have ever seen.

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I personally love the 1998 to 2002 “M-shoe” as it is affectionately known. It was a straight-six breadwagon engineered after hours away from prying eyes of bosses who might have thought it looked abhorrent. Somehow, the ugly duckling got put into production and has become a bit of a cult classic, even sitting in the hallowed halls of the Jalopnik Fantasy Garage.

Also, somehow, this brochure, which I spotted on this lovely repository for old brochures, exists.

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Now, in addition to making sweet, straight-six performance cars (like the M-shoe), BMW produces art cars, which got kicked off when Calder painted a buddy’s 3.0 CSL for Le Mans in the ‘70s.

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BMW made the M-shoe. BMW wanted to promote the M-shoe. BMW liked art. BMW used art to promote the M-shoe.

The artists: Anton Corbijn, Bettina Rheims, Michel Compte, Richard Avedon.

The art makes up the brief brochure.

Corbijn:

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Rheims:

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Compte:

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Avedon:

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There is also a behind-the-scenes page, detailing the shoots:

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As there is also a page showing at least just a little tiny bit about the M-shoe’s stiff structure, at least, its structure that was stiffer than the open-topped roadster version from which it was derived.

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And that’s it.

Each artist’s set got its own promo film as well. BMW also liked films, making the lovely BMW Films series of short films focusing on BMWs.

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Corbijn:

Rheims:

Compte:

Avedon:

I say all of these things as if they explain this brochure, but really it’s not something that I really can explain. It remains inexplicable. It’s art? It’s art.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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