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From digest.v7.n598 Sat Nov 15 22:45:23 1997
From: Marc Cohen <>
Date: Sat, 15 Nov 1997 18:52:29 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Bimmer vs. Beemer (or Beamer)

The issue about which pronunciation is "correct" cannot be settled phonetically -- the pronunciation came first, the spelling followed. But there are historical reasons for preferring one version over the other.

In the early days of BMW autos in America, when 2002's were the rule, aficionados referred to their cars fondly as Bimmers (rhymes with simmer)

  • -- and sometimes not so fondly as Bum Dubs. Later on, the nouveau-BMW set came along and started referring to their 320i's as Beemers (rhymes with schemers). Possibly they had simply made up their own nickname and were pronouncing it as they chose. But to the 2002 traditionalist, it seemed as if they were must making a mistake, and mispronouncing the "official" nickname of the marque. No 2002 owner would ever be caught dead referring to his car as a "Beemer" (or, even worse, a "Beamer")!

Thus, the "Bimmer" vs. "Beemer" dispute is connected to the 2002 vs. 320i rivalry, and both of those are connected, in obvious ways, to the enthusiast vs. yuppie image associated with those two early models. So, if you want to identify with the enthusisasts of the early (2002) years, say "bimmer"; if you're happier with a more refined (and sedate) image, say "beemer".

As for me, they will always be bimmers.

Marc Cohen
'70 2002 (original owner)

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