THE UBER RARE ALPINA steering wheels by MOMO

Steering wheels for a handpicked group of BMW ALPINA customers

Momo is not only recognized for its own line steering wheels but also for its collaborations with various esteemed brands. Since its inception, Momo has been delivering exceptional products. Momo’s collaboration with Ferrari for example has resulted in iconic steering wheels that embody the spirit of the prancing horse. Ferrari, Porsche, Alfa Romeo to name a few, but Momo also made steering wheels for a number of smaller coach builders and tuners – just like ALPINA.

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There are moments in life when we come across a subject that ignites our passion and sparks an insatiable desire to delve deeper. For me, that subject has been ALPINA for so long, almost as long as collecting Momo steering wheels in general. I was captivated by the look of the ALPINA BMW 2002 and since I first saw it, I wanted to own one. Decades later, I still have two ALPINA steering wheels for a car that will probably never arrive. But anyway, now I am going to at least present them along with some information about ALPINA, the cars, the brand. Momo made a number of ALPINA steering wheels over the years, the first one that comes to mind is the four-spoke with the almost round horn pad. But here are some more rare ones.

ALPINA 380mm flat wooden steering wheel by Momo

beautiful ALPINA 380mm steering wheel

engraved ALPINA logo

In the 1960s, 380mm steering wheels were very popular, Momo for example manufactured a number of models in that particular size. The Momo Montecarlo (before the Momo company was founded), the first Momo Prototipos, the Formula 1 Enterprises Real Wheel and a number of others. Wooden wheels were among them two, like the Momo Daytona for example, which was the design that Momo used to produce the ALPINA wooden wheel that we see here.

This particular model was made in 1966/1967. Back then, these wheels that were available in black as well and came in 1500/2000 and 1502/2002 models. Not only wooden ones, Momo made 380mm steering wheels with leather rim for ALPINA too at that time. Another thing they’ve had in common, besides the diameter of 380mm, they were all flat.

back of the wooden ALPINA steering wheel

PAT. MOMO ITALY, made 1966/1967

And in case you’re wondering if the steering wheel always looked like new, of course not. I found a very talented carpenter who did the restoration and brought it back to it’s former beauty. Here you can find the story and before/after photos.

ALPINA 350mm semi-dish steering wheel by Momo

350mm ALPINA leather steering wheel by Momo

silk-screen printed ALPINA logo

back of the ALPINA leather steering wheel

MADE IN ITALY, M20340, Made 1974-1976 

Next one that I’ve kept for a project is a 1974-1976, 350mm semi-dish version of the ALPINA steering wheel. It actually came in a number of cars, Alpina 02s as well as ALPINA E21s. A nice wheel that I’ve had in my 02 for a while, but I don’t like it when you pretend it’s something when in fact it is not. So back on the shelf. Excellent condition, ready to go into an ALPINA 02 or ALPINA E21 (or any other ALPINA if you like).

ALPINA Models – from inception to the 1980s and beyond

ALPINA has been synonymous with exceptional BMW tuning since its inception, continuously pushing the boundaries of performance, luxury, and craftsmanship. Let’s take a brief journey through the various ALPINA BMW models from their earliest days up until the 1980s, and catch a glimpse of the exceptional cars that define the ALPINA lineup today.

1. ALPINA 1500/2000

The ALPINA story began with the development of the Weber dual carburetor for the BMW 1500 in the early 1960s. This innovation laid the foundation for ALPINA’s expertise in enhancing BMW performance. The ALPINA 1500/2000 models showcased the brand’s commitment to precision tuning and set the stage for future successes.

2. ALPINA 02 series

The ALPINA 02 Series, including models like the 1600 and 2002, became iconic representations of ALPINA’s tuning prowess in the 1960s and 1970s. These compact sports sedans underwent engine upgrades, suspension modifications, and aerodynamic enhancements, transforming them into thrilling driving machines that captivated enthusiasts.

3. ALPINA 3.0 CSL

The ALPINA 3.0 CSL, based on the legendary BMW E9 platform, emerged as a racing-inspired masterpiece in the 1970s. With lightweight construction, powerful engines, and aerodynamic advancements, the ALPINA 3.0 CSL dominated the tracks and garnered numerous accolades, solidifying ALPINA’s reputation for performance excellence.

4. ALPINA E21

The ALPINA E21, based on the first BMW 3 Series platform, captured the spirit of sporting excellence and showcased a perfect blend of performance enhancements and refined design. With upgraded engines, optimized suspensions, and distinctive styling elements, the ALPINA E21 became a legend and favourite among BMW enthusiasts and garnered a reputation for its dynamic performance and timeless appeal.

5. ALPINA B7 Turbo

In the 1980s, the ALPINA B7 Turbo made a lasting impression. The ALPINA B7 Turbo featured a turbocharged engine that delivered exhilarating power and acceleration, propelling the car to impressive speeds. With refined suspensions and aerodynamic enhancements, the B7 Turbo offered a smooth and controlled driving experience, effortlessly combining comfort and performance.

ALPINA today

Looking to the present day, ALPINA continues to redefine automotive excellence, captivating enthusiasts with their modern lineup of extraordinary cars. Today’s ALPINA models, including the B3, B5, B7, and XD3, represent the pinnacle of performance, luxury, and exclusivity. These vehicles boast powerful engines, state-of-the-art technologies, and bespoke craftsmanship. ALPINA cars seamlessly integrate high-performance enhancements with refined aesthetics, offering a driving experience that surpasses expectations.

The exhilarating history of the ALPINA brand

In 1962, a guy named Burkard Bovensiepen developed a highly regarded Weber dual carburetor for the BMW 1500. This innovation caught the attention of BMW and received praise from both automotive journalists and BMW’s sales boss, Paul G. Hahnemann. Recognizing the quality of his product, BMW awarded full factory guarantee to vehicles equipped with the new system.

On January 1, 1965, the “Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen KG” company was officially established in Kaufbeuren, Bavaria with a small team of eight employees. Initially, Alpina ventured into the typewriter business, but the original Alpina brand dissolved in the late 1960s when the company attempted to transition into the textile industry.

Burkard, having achieved success through investments in the stock market, redirected his focus and founded a BMW tuning business in 1965. Alpina’s tuning operations commenced in a building adjacent to the former Alpina typewriter factory. The company specialized in tuning carburetors and modifying cylinder heads, techniques that would eventually become iconic elements represented in Alpina’s logo, established in 1967. Throughout the late 1960s to the early 1970s, Alpina honed its expertise in improving the performance of BMW engines. With a workforce of 70 employees, Alpina relocated its facility from Kaufbeuren to Buchloe by 1970, solidifying its presence in the industry.

During the period from 1968 to 1977, Alpina achieved remarkable success in motorsports. In 1970, their cars triumphed in multiple racing disciplines, securing victories in the European Touring Car Championship, the German Hillclimb Championship, rally and track racing championships, and the prestigious Spa 24 Hours. Due to capacity limitations and restrictions, Alpina officially withdrew from racing in 1988. This decision coincided with the company’s focus on producing a new line of BMW Alpina automobiles, shifting their attention from the track to creating high-performance road cars.

Today, Alpina continues to be a prominent player in the automotive industry, renowned for their exclusive and refined vehicles that blend luxury, performance, and distinctive design. However, worth mentioned, it is not an independent company anymore. It has been acquired by and integrated into the BMW group. With a rich history rooted in innovation, motorsports success, and a commitment to precision engineering, Alpina stands as a symbol of excellence in the world of automotive tuning and manufacturing.

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