The BMW Art Car Project was introduced by the French racecar driver and auctioneer Hervé Poulain, who wanted to invite an artist to use an automobile as a canvas. Hervé Poulain commissioned American artist Alexander Calder to apply his talents to a BMW 3.0 CSL. Poulain drove the car at 1975 Le Mans. While he failed to finish the race, a creative tradition was started.
In the 43 years since, BMW has commissioned sixteen more from a list of notable artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons. Their work has appeared on vehicles as varied as the M1, 635 CSi, Z4, and even the V12 LMR prototype. So far, there 18 Art Cars have been created.
British designer Sean Bull has reimagined some of the past BMW Art Car designs on F1 racers.