Ryan Aghdam

Interesting Car: The Bilenkin Vintage

For the modest amount of $140,000, a Russian coach building company, Bilenkin, will turn your E92 BMW M3 Coupe into a 1960’s era vintage GT car. Bilenkin boasts that they combine 1960’s styling and elegance with modern comfort and reliability.

A conceptual sketch from Bilenkin. The dapper owner of this Vintage packs his trunk with stylish luggage for a trip with this fetching lady. His neighbor, a lonely man in plain clothes, trailers his black 1970's BMW to the back of his grey X5.
A conceptual sketch from Bilenkin. The dapper owner of this Vintage packs his trunk with stylish luggage for a trip with this fetching lady. His neighbor, a lonely man in plain clothes, trailers his black 1970's BMW to the back of his grey X5.

1960’s automotive styling is revered and considered to be the peak of automotive design because it was, well, the peak of automotive design. It was the end of the era where cars were designed only by artists instead of artists and bureaucrats. Automotive regulations constrained artists in building what they truly wanted. They had to consider requirements for bumpers and other nonsense.

Front three quarters view of the Bilenkin Vintage
Front three quarters view of the Bilenkin Vintage
Rear three quarters view of the Bilenkin Vintage
Rear three quarters view of the Bilenkin Vintage

Does the Vintage capture that elegant 1960’s design? Kind of. It looks like it’s from that era, but it isn’t elegant like the stand-out cars of that era.

That’s because it seems to have been styled by a Russian James May.

Yakov May (left) showing off his creation to the media.
Yakov May (left) showing off his creation to the media.

The interior is garish. It’s a hodgepodge of 1960’s (and 1950’s) materials and trends stuck on top of a modern BMW. There’s a lot of burled walnut (which I like), lots of teal and cream colored accents, mother of pearl trim, crystal, and a lot of Paisley.

Here's what your passengers will be looking at.
Here's what your passengers will be looking at.
Yes, the seats are paisley.
Yes, the seats are paisley.
The HVAC controls aren't that bad.
The HVAC controls aren't that bad.
The gauge cluster
The gauge cluster

The Bilenkin Vintage looks very well made. However, combining every single design element from an era of elegant design does not result in an elegant design.

See?
See?