What is a “genuine AC Schnitzer” car?

This is a question we get asked often, sometimes in relation to a car for sale or one that has just been bought. There is no simple answer to this question, but read on and we will try to explain.

AC Schnitzer is an aftermarket brand, albeit one with links to BMW (AC Schnitzer is part of the Kohl Group, one of the largest BMW dealer groups in Germany). However, unlike Alpinas, which are built at the BMW factory on a separate production line with a separate VIN, there are no AC Schnitzer cars built at the BMW factory. All AC Schnitzer cars are converted from standard BMWs either at the dealership when they are new, or at some point later in the car’s life.

Dan Wood’s 540i (E39)

Owners can choose from our range of products for each car, so there is no fixed specification for an AC Schnitzer car. Some owners want “the look” so will spend their money on aerodynamic parts and wheels. Others want enhanced dynamic performance so will prioritise suspension and engine upgrades. And true AC Schnitzer fans will buy the whole package – everything we offer – in their quest for a complete AC Schnitzer.

We regard all these cars as genuine AC Schnitzer.

Steve Hardy’s ACS3 (E36)

So, twenty years down the road, how do we know what has been done to an AC Schnitzer car?

The short answer is – we don’t.

AC Schnitzer parts can be fitted by AC Schnitzer importers, BMW dealers, independent dealers, or sometimes car owners, and of course AC Schnitzer parts can be fitted, removed or replaced at any time in the car’s life. So unfortunately there is no way to tell which AC Schnitzer parts are still fitted to a car, except by visual inspection.

If you’re lucky, the car will have a thick folder of paperwork with receipts for all the work done. This is rare though. More than likely you will have to do a little detective work.

Richard Falconer’s ACS6 coupĂ© (E63)

Genuine AC Schnitzer parts always (well, 99% of the time) bear our part numbers somewhere. AC Schnitzer wheels have a part number on the back starting with “36”. Spoilers start with 51, suspension with 31 or 33. We’ll be writing more about part numbers soon. Look for our part numbers wherever you see the AC Schnitzer logo.

Luke Barber’s ACS3 (E36)

You’re always welcome to send us photographs. Sometimes we’ll know the car, but more often the car will have been converted elsewhere using parts supplied by us or by BMW GB (who were the importers of AC Schnitzer in the UK from 1997 – 2007). In any case, we’ll be able to tell you what we recognise, and possibly spot some parts that we know are not from us.

We hope you find this page helpful. Call us on 01485 542000, email info@ac-schnitzer.co.uk, or contact us through our social media channels if you have any questions. Or leave a comment below! Someone will get back to you very soon.

Lorcan Parnell, AC Schnitzer UK.