Tuesday 2nd October 1945
BMW’s assets were seized and the US Army declared it subject to reparations. Production ceased, machines and equipment dismantled and the board of management forced to resign. The Spandau engine plant was destroyed, and the Eisenach factory, now in a Soviet-controlled region, was expropriated. BMW were 20 million marks in debt. The company was effectively frozen until 1948, when the US authorities finally lifted its production ban and allowed BMW to start making a new motorbike. The single-cylinder R24 restored the firm’s fortunes, and enabled it to invest in a further programme of development. The first new car to emerge was the 501, presented at the 1951 Frankfurt Motor Show.