1976 David Agnew’s BMW

David Agnew with the ex-Warmbold BMW at his Co Down home.

David warms to Achim’s super BMW.

This article is reproduced from Ireland’s Saturday Night 20 August 1976.

A familiar car in not so familiar surroundings. This magnificent and distinctive BMW was last seen in Ireland powering its way to victory in the memorable 1975 Donegal International rally in the hands of Germany’s Achim Warmbold.

Now it is the property of former Ulster Rally Champion, David Agnew, who hopes to drive it in the Belfast Telegraph Ulster Rally (1976) in two weeks time.

David, along with regular co-driver Robert Harkness, made it to the Ulster Rally just fine and finished in 6th place overall. Photo Les Ashe.

The car, reputed to be one of the most powerful ever to appear in an Irish rally, disappeared from view in the latter half of last year but Agnew, a director of the local BMW distributors, managed to keep tabs on it.

“Warmbold drove it in the TAP rally in Portugal after Donegal (1975) but retired with a broken half shaft” recalls David. “Then he took it off to somewhere called New Caledonia and, I think, was leading a rally out there when he put it off the road damaging the radiator.”

“His mechanic repaired the car and eventually got it on a boat back to Germany. But the ship broke down and was towed into an Australian port for repairs. It was only quite recently I heard the car had made it back to Germany and arrange to buy it” he added.

The car in the hands of Achim Warmbold and John Davenport on their way to victory on the 1975 Donegal Rally. Photo Bryce Sands.

He still isn’t quite sure of the superb machine and it’s green and white stripes will appear on the Ulster rally. “Warmbold didn’t have any extra wheels so I’m having to have some made up – 8 and 10 inch rims – but they may not arrive on time.

“If the wheels don’t arrive, then I will drive my Porsche Carrera but once the BMW is ready, the Porsche will be converted to right-hand drive and will either be sold, or used by Reggie McSpadden.”

Meanwhile David’s new Porsche-engined Volkswagen is nearing completion at Robert McBurney’s workshop in Ballymena and is expected to make its first appearance in the Newry Club round of the Belfast Telegraph Special Stage Championship next month.

David Agnew and Robert Harkness ended up using the BMW on the Newry Round of the Belfast Telegraph Special Stage Championship, seen here in Rostrevor Forest.
Photo Derek Smyth.

Post Script: Having read the post above, Robert Harkness recalls his experience in the car: “Amazing starting sequence. No key, just four buttons to be pushed in a timed sequence. 24v starting. Started instantly with frightening ear splitting whack noise. Only two ever built by KWS in Cologne. I understand the other one was destroyed at Le Mans.”