PR Win: BMW Designs 4-Year-Old’s 19-Engine Dream Car

One look at the photo of the over-the-top vehicle at left, and you might think, “Whoa. Was that designed by a car-crazed kid, or something?” Why yes, yes it was – a four-year-old named Eli, to be precise.

The one-of-a-kind design features 19 engines, 42 wheels, three steering wheels (to be controlled by three different drivers simultaneously) and, of course, a large trunk dedicated solely to transporting toys.

So how did this epically equipped piece of machinery make it from the brain of a toddler to a detailed BMW design? Like so many other magical things in childhood, all it took was a kid’s limitless imagination–and a particularly cool, dedicated adult invested in encouraging that creativity–to get things moving. It all started when Eli’s uncle posted on car enthusiast website Jalopnik:

“Last night my 4-year-old Jalop of a nephew Eli and I had a serious conversation about the car he wants to build. I know there are a lot of talented artists out there in the Jalopnik commentariat, and I would like to ask them all if they would consider drawing up their ‘Artist’s Conception’ of the car according to the carefully considered specifications he came up with. I would just love to give him a tangible expression of what his awesome imagination came up with.”

Pretty awesome idea. But what’s even more awesome is the response from fellow car enthusiasts and, ultimately, BMW itself.

The post caught the attention of other Jalopnik readers, who submitted their own designs. Then came BMW’s tumblr pledge to create its own version. The company kept its promise, revealing its sketch of the 4219 Eli on BMW USA’s Facebook page.

While the 4219 Eli will probably not be rendered into piston-and-metal life and become BMW’s next big seller anytime soon, there’s always something to be said for the positive PR power of making a kid’s dreams come true.