Rapp Motorenwerke BMW

Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH was one of the first aircraft engine manufacturers in Germany. At the beginning of World War 1, Rapp Motorenwerke was one of the most significant Bavarian companies for the war effort. The new company was set to design, build and sell internal combustion engines for aircraft and motor vehicle engines in all makes and sizes.

Before WW1 Rapp Motorenwerke produced both straight-in-line-6-cylinder and V8 water-cooled aero engines. Early into WW1, the Rapp III was manufactured, producing 162 hp @ 1400 rpm, which weighed 295 kg which was a six-cylinder aero engine. The V8 engine developed by Rapp, was a 1970cc, producing 200 Hp. All of the Rapp designs were engines manufactured with an overhead cam, with forged steel cylinder liners, bolted to cast steel cylinder heads.

When World War I broke out, the German military authorities placed orders with Rapp Motorenwerke. With the influx of capital, the company expanded rapidly and employed 370 workers by 1915. Karl Rapp increased the output of his Rapp III engine to 175 Hp. Original Rapp designs were also worked on to create a "high altitude" aero engine that would give the Imperial Army strategic air superiority.

Rapp Motorenwerke registered the documentation for the construction design for the new engine, dubbed "Type III" Friz' design which was based on Karl Rapp’s original design. The design was laid out as an in-line six-cylinder, which guaranteed optimum balance eliminating vibrations.

In 1917, Friz integrated a basically simple throttle body with a butterfly into the "high-altitude carburetor housing", enabling the engine to develop its full power at high altitudes never seen before. This is the reason why the engine, now referred to "Type IIIa", which demonstrated unique aerial combat superiority.

The aero engine developed by Friz had turned Rapp Motorenwerke into an essential contributor to the WW1 efforts. The recognition that Max Friz gained with his engine made it clear that Rapp’s engines were inadequate designs and had held the company back from becoming a success.

Friz was recognized as an excellent chief designer and were no longer dependent on Karl Rapp. On 25 July 1917 the partners in the company terminated Rapp’s contract. On 21 July 1917, Rapp Motorenwerke GmbH was renamed Bayerische Motorenwerke GmbH, hence the abbreviation “BMW” and the new company was formed and today stand out as one of the world’s most successful car manufacturers.


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