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HCOTY 2016 Nominee: Grandpa’s BMW 315

Kamil Kaluski December 27, 2016 Featured, Hooniversal Car of the Year 3 Comments


This is my grandfather and his 1930s BMW 315/1. The picture was taken around 1952, some years after World War II, in Radom, Poland.

My father told me that after the German Nazi invasion of Poland, the Nazis took away all private cars from Polish citizens. In order to avoid having his car taken away, my grandfather, a small business owner and a car nut, cleverly converted his roadster into a pickup truck and turned it into a commercial vehicle. As per their own rules, the Nazis did not take his car away and he was able to hold on to it throughout the war.

Good job, grandpa!

Grandpa converted it back into a proper roadster after the war. I was also told that grandpa had an affinity for convertibles and preferred the BMW brand. It’s funny how things happen – I owned seven BMWs in my lifetime without being aware of grandpa’s vehicular shenanigans. Although I don’t really like cabrios unless they’re Jeeps, which I’ve owned two of.

I should mention that there were not many cars in Poland before the war and certainly very few of them were BMWs. I don’t how and where he obtained his bimmer but he kept until the end of the 1950’s, when he traded it for a Czechoslovakian Aero, a two-stroke roadster.

This is the only picture of my grandfather and his BMW 315 roadster/pickup that exists. The car, the man, and the story is what make this my 2016 HCOTY nomination.

  • roguetoaster

    That’s a good story for the first day back at work after the break. Heartwarming in the way that only the story of another automobile enthusiast can be.

  • Sjalabais

    Great story – I can imagine it wasn’t all easy to keep the car in the first years of communist rule either; particularly as a small business owner in a hostile, ration-based system. It’s small stories and desires like that which eventually brought a system to its knees.

    • mseoul

      I agree amazing. Marek Hlasko, the famous 50’s Polish writer, summed it up in an essay he wrote. When foreigners watched Roman Polanski’s breakout film “Knife in the Water” they saw a great movie. When Poles saw it they wondered where the protagonist got the Mercedes, according to Hlasko.