In Memoriam Mr ALPINA – Burkard Bovensiepen, A Visionary Pioneer of Performance
The automotive world has lost a true visionary with the passing of Burkard Bovensiepen, the founder of Alpina. Mr. Bovensiepen, who was 87 years old, leaves behind a legacy of innovation, precision, and an unwavering commitment to excellence in the realm of high-performance automobiles.
Born in 1936 in Chemnitz, Germany, Bovensiepen’s journey into the automotive world began with a toolmaker’s apprenticeship and later, a foray into mechanical engineering and business administration. However, his true passion lay in improving automotive performance, and it was BMW that captured his heart.
In 1963, Alpina unveiled its first performance carburettor for the BMW 1500, a groundbreaking modification that garnered approval even from BMW itself. Bovensiepen’s ingenious marketing strategy of placing Alpina brochures under the wipers of BMW 1500s in a parking lot marked the genesis of a legendary brand.
Alpina, named after his father’s typewriter factory and the nearby Alps, ventured into racing towards the late 1960s. It became a haven for celebrated drivers like Derek Bell, James Hunt, and Niki Lauda. In 1978, Alpina introduced its first in-house cars, including the iconic B7 Turbo. By 1983, it officially registered as a car manufacturer, setting the stage for a string of remarkable vehicles.
Bovensiepen’s commitment to innovation yielded a spectrum of Alpina cars, from the B10 biturbo to the first V8-engined 3 Series, and even a foray into the world of diesel vehicles. His legacy reached a pinnacle with the Alpina Roadster, derived from the BMW Z8, which marked Alpina’s entry into the American market.
In 2002, Burkard’s sons took over the company’s management, allowing him to focus on his wine business, which he had established in 1979. In a significant development in March 2022, BMW acquired the rights to the Alpina brand, securing the future of the iconic marque while preserving the current Alpina lineup until 2025.
Burkard Bovensiepen’s indomitable spirit, tireless pursuit of perfection, and unparalleled contributions to the world of high-performance automobiles will forever be remembered. His legacy lives on in every Alpina car, a testament to a life dedicated to precision and excellence.