BRABUS: Bodo Buschmann's Journey

BRABUS: Bodo Buschmann's Journey

The most well-known Mercedes-Benz tuners in the 80s and 90s were undoubtedly AMG and BRABUS, and they probably still are today. In those days, the general rule of thumb was that if you wanted an extremely fast yet elegant Mercedes-Benz, you’d go to the mad scientists from Affalterbach. If you wanted an absolute fire-breathing autobahn monster, Bottrop was the place to go.

This Storytime story doesn’t start with a man in a small town starting a tuning company, as they often do. This one starts with a young boy named Bodo running around in his parents Mercedes-Benz dealership in the town of Bottrop, Germany. This was most likely the place where this young boy developed his passion for cars, powerful cars, Mercedes-Benz cars. So when Bodo Buschmann, now a young man, showed up at his father’s prestigious Mercedes-Benz dealership with a Porsche 911, his father was less than amused. He outright refused his son a parking spot and told him that if he drove a car with a star on the hood, he’d get a parking spot.

As we mentioned in the previous Storytime, all the legendary Mercedes-Benz tuners started with a 911. But Buschmann decided that his father might be right, so he traded in his Porsche and ordered a W116 S class. However, he had already decided his W116 should be at least as fast as a 911. He started tuning the car, gave it a set of sporty rims and tires, and lowered the suspension, and it could indeed rival a 911.

Some of the clients of his parents dealership who saw the car parked there started informing him about it. It wasn’t long before Bodo hatched a plan to turn these car modification skills into a real business. While still in law school, he convinced his friend to join him in this venture because, back in those days, it was mandatory to have two individuals when starting a company. The men decided on using the first three letters of their last names to form the name of their company. Klaus Brackmann and Bodo Buschmann started BRABUS in 1977. Brackmann wasn’t really interested in the business and sold his shares for DM100 to Bodo when the company was registered.

At first, Bodo and BRABUS focused on the S class of the W116 and W126 generations, a logical choice because the people buying these cars could actually afford the high-quality products that BRABUS was offering. But there was another reason. The services offered by BRABUS were probably the most extensive of any tuner. Everything could be changed or adjusted. The engine, obviously, but also the complete drivetrain and all the components connected. The same goes for the interior and exterior. If you really started ticking the boxes on the option sheet, the price would quickly skyrocket. But if you were able to afford it, BRABUS would make it happen.

Business was going extremely well for Bodo, and in 1983 he opened his first BRABUS showroom and garage. Up until then, the company was conveniently located behind his father’s dealership. By then, BRABUS also offered modifications for the W201, W124, R107, and W460. The W201 190 in particular became a game changer for BRABUS when, in 1984, they teamed up with rental company SIXT and built 200 BRABUS W201’s for them. You can read about this genius move in a previous storytime titled “The Success Story of BRABUS and SIXT,”, which you can find on our website and Instagram page.

Things were still going great, so in 1986, BRABUS opened up another dealership. In 1987, an association of German tuners, the VDAT (Verband Der Automobil Tuner), was formed. By that time, there were many players on the German tuning market, and quality control was lacking. During the election for chairman of the newly formed VDAT, Bodo Buschmann was chosen, a position well-deserved according to many industry specialists.

BRABUS kept growing as a company and brought us many amazing cars, boats, planes, and motorcycles. Bodo Buschmann unfortunately passed away on April 26, 2018. We will definitely put the spotlight on some of BRABUS’s greatest creations in future Storytimes. If you can’t wait, check out our Storytime “Mercedes-Benz W210 190E 3.6S”.

Back to Last Page