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Thread: BMW Emblem Changes

  1. #1
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    BMW Emblem Changes

    I heard years back at a BMW show, only the raised lettering and borders BMW emblems are sold by BMW and alternate vendors. You can no longer get new smooth emblems that came on BMWs from 1979-on. After much research, I found this to be true.

    When I see some 2002s and E9s at car shows for the past few years, I see the incorrect, modern raised emblems on the hoods and trunks. The borders and letters are raised/embossed. A family members’ brand new 2014 X1 had this emblem. This would include the 2013 debut model year also. After observing several 70s BMWs at shows with the newer style emblems, supports the statement you can't get the smooth ones from the dealer anymore.

    I noticed back in 2006, when I installed my new emblem from BMW, on the hood of my 1984 533i, it had a plastic base. I also noticed the blue was a lighter blue then the original emblem, as well as the other original emblems on the car (wheels, steering wheel). This new emblem had a smooth face, and other than the lighter blue and plastic base, I couldn’t see any other differences. Purchased for $15 with BMW CCA discount. Part 51148132375.

    In 2009, I purchased an emblem for my E34 from the dealer as the original hood emblem was not looking nice anymore. Like the E28, it was part: 51148132375. Paid $32.00.

    Today, BMW and several major vendors are asking between $38-48 for emblems. And they aren’t even the correct style that came on the car. A compromise/revision of the 1978 and earlier raised styles, so-to-speak, as a friend said. More details to follow.

    My original trunk roundel/emblem on my E34 needs replacing as the white section has chipped-off. This has inspired my research and this post. It has a slightly darker blue than the front 51148132375 emblem purchased in `09. The outer silver perimeter edge/border, I can feel sticks up more, than the newer hood emblem. Also the font is slightly different too. The newer emblem has letters that are a tiny bit fatter. It does not have raised borders and lettering, but is a lighter blue. It has slightly fatter letters, compared to the original 51141872324 and 51141866629 emblems that came on these cars originally. Compare the inner lines of the W - between the new and old.... the older one has narrower lines. Whereas the later one, has lines that are closer to the same width for the entire W. This is also true of the inner lines of the M, but not quite as prevalent.





    My friend, who is a BMW enthusiast, also observed the differences in the letters. He said, “The letters on the 375 are a bit taller and the legs of the M are slanted a bit more. The W, on the other hand is narrower than on the 324.”

    I observed there is slightly more black-space under the letters of my original emblem, presumably a 324 or 629, compared to the newer 375 emblem.

    It’s clear BMW wanted the letters to be more prominent and noticeable, for brand awareness/identification purposes. And this is even more the case with the raised-lettering versions of the 375 emblem.

    It’s my understanding, during the 375 emblem production, 9/92-onward, a plastic-base was used. Whereas, the earlier 324 and 629 emblems, an aluminum base was used.

    My friend has a collection of classic BMW emblems. Comparing the 324 and 375 emblems he said, “My 324 is more sturdy and heavier. It weighs 50g whereas the 375 weighs only 28.4g.”

    So the later 375 plastic base emblems weighed nearly half as much as the aluminum base 324 emblems. This clearly saved BMW money (oh and some weight).

    Parts 51145081747, 00095808103, 51145480181, 51141813833 were apparently the emblems used on the E3 and E9. Matte paint, no clear, raised lettering and borders, metal/aluminum base. Some of these emblems were also used on the E10, E12, E21, E23, E24 up to the 1978 US model year.




    Rear of this emblem.

    1979 is the US model year where the smooth emblems were introduced with clear-coat/enamel such as the 51141866629 and 51141872324.



    Note the different backs of these 324s:



    Says Bomisa Milano. Note the non-shiny finish backing, compared to the ones below. An earlier one perhaps? It’s a shame the exact year these emblems were made isn’t stated.





    Beware of fakes as far back as the 80s. The lettering is key. My friend told me the bottoms and tops of the letters, should properly mimic, conform to the curvature of the circle of the roundel/emblem. Fake ones will not. Their letters will look too straight at the tops and bottoms… they will have 90 degree angles at the base and top of the letters not conforming/curving with the curve of the circle. Such as this fake 324 in Germany:





    This one has the aluminum looking rear and appears very old looking. It says POC instead of PUC like Genuine BMW emblems from this era I’ve seen. Note the reverse side is more crude-looking and rougher than legit BMW ones.

    According to Real OEM and FCP Euro, all the following BMWs accept a common 375, rare 324, or super-rare 629 for the hood: E10, E12, E21, E23, E26, E28 E30, E32 E34 and various later cars.

    51141872324 emblem produced: 10/02/1978 — 08/03/1992

    51141866629 emblem produced: 06/01/1978 — 10/29/1985

    51148132375 emblem presumably produced: 9/92-6/2021.

    Most pre-E32 cars had more rounded trunk-lid mounting surfaces and required specific curved emblems that were different from the hood emblems.

    There are plenty of 375 emblems for sale. Some are the 2010-on raised lettering and borders ones; others are the earlier smooth styles. All have the lighter blue vs. what came on my E34 (9/92 production) and earlier cars. The 375s also have slightly fatter letters.


    This is a smooth 375, purchased in 2009.


    Some smooth 375 emblems will have backs that look like this one.

    I used to work with BMW North America until 2009. During that time, I never saw a modern (21st century) BMW with raised lettering and borders emblems.

    According to this emblem installation video by Bavarian Autosport, 2010 is when the most modern style, raised lettering and borders emblems were available. You can see the details of this emblem in this video:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T20R1jeC-S4

    The most recent 375 emblems have a black plastic rear, made from 2010 onward. Raised Lettering and Borders and Lighter Blue. Much fatter letters, and less black below and above the letters, making the letters very prominent.





    I have to give some credit to my friend for some photos, his sharp-eye, and knowledge. Glad there are people like me!

    I have purchased a couple 324 emblems on ebay (some photographed above) in very good shape, and know they will be hard to come by as time goes on. I am looking forward to removing both emblems on my E34, and installing the ones I just bought.

    There is virtually no information out there on the BMW roundel emblem style changes made on these cars especially from 1979-present. I figured classic BMW enthusiasts, especially the purists (like me), would appreciate this research I have done. I have shared this post on a few classic sub-forums, as it applies to so many models, and want to help educate people. Ebay is the main place to get period-correct, authentic emblems/roundels. Just make sure to use earlier part numbers when searching.

  2. #2
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    E28E34 wrote - There is virtually no information out there on the BMW roundel emblem style changes made on these cars especially from 1979-present.


    There is information now!

    Thank you.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverPuddle View Post
    E28E34 wrote - There is virtually no information out there on the BMW roundel emblem style changes made on these cars especially from 1979-present.


    There is information now!

    Thank you.
    Thank you for the appreciation!

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