The world’s best athletes are making headlines in the 2012 Olympics in London, and they have company. Some of the world’s best, fastest and most unusual vehicles are joining them, in special displays.
Jaguar and Land Rover are in a starring role in the ‘Make it in Great Britain’ exhibition at London’s Science Museum, which aims to dispel the myth that Britain doesn’t make anything anymore, and educate visitors about the value of manufacturing to the UK economy. The exhibition runs through September 9, 2012.
Jaguar Land Rover beat competition from hundreds of UK companies to a place at the exhibition. That’s an interesting turn of events, since the two iconic British brands now are owned by the Indian congolomerate which includes Tata Motors, which made worldwide headlines in 2009 when it launched the Tata Nano, at $2,500, the world’s cheapest car, for India. However, JLR as it’s now called, is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer, with three advanced manufacturing plants and two state of the art engineering & design facilities in the UK.
The other display is the BMW Pavillion at London’s Olympic park, showing off a combination of current BMW models and concept cars, including the drop dead gorgeous BMW i8 Concept sedan electric car and its smaller i3 sibling.. The pavilion itself is an architectural wonder, designed to seem as though it floats on the Waterworks River while water flows down the sides of the structure to create a façade that’s always in motion.
Also on display are prototype models including the BMW E-Scooter and the BMW i Pedelec concept, a recently announced concept electrically-assisted bicycle, and a new-look MINI Rocketman Concept, a revised version of the original Rocketman concept, first seen at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Inspired by London 2012, the new MINI Rocketman has a Union Jack-inspired color scheme.
BMW owns the British icon Mini, and Volkswagen owned Land Rover briefly, and currently owns British icon Bentley.
The famous BMW Art Car Collection also is on display, with an exhibition of BMWs hand-painted by artists including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and David Hockney. It’s the first time these unique vehicles are on display in the UK, in a landmark car park in Shoreditch, through August 4th. Admission is free.
The collection, initiated over 35 years ago, features BMW cars transformed by some of the world’s leading artists including Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein, Ernst Fuchs, Robert Rauschenberg, M.J. Nelson, Ken Done, Matazo Kayama, César Manrique, Jeff Koons, A.R. Penck, Esther Mahlangu, Sandro Chia, Jenny Holzer. And each is unique, of course. The Rauschenberg car incorporates photographic transfers of Ingres paintings, while Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein used the canvas of the car to portray the essence of speed.