1963 BMW 700 Coupe

1963 BMW 700 Coupe

After yesterday’s mega M6, I’d like to take a look at another favorite BMW coupe of mine. In many ways, it is the antithesis of the M6; simple, under-powered, rear-engine and decidedly ’60s while the M6 was oh-so-’80s. The 700 Coupe developed through an interesting route, as I described in an article for The Truth About Cars. While air-cooled power was associated with VW and Porsche, NSU and BMW also flirted with rear-engine designs of their own, and in their own right they were fairly successful.

From the diminutive Isetta grew the oddly-shaped 600, which then bore the 700 run. Available in 2-door sedan, Coupe or rare convertible, the 700 developed some 30 horsepower from its .7 liter twin in the rear. The handsome Michelotti design signaled the direction for the new BMW designs, with (for the time) modern lines penned to the standard 3-box formula. A total of nearly 200,000 700s were produced, but the Coupe version sold in much smaller numbers – only about 30,000 total Coupes produced. The departed from the more traditional 2-door sedan’s look with a sharply cut greenhouse and pronounced tail fins. While the combination of all these things seems like an odd recipe, it somehow worked very well and looked beautiful:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 BMW 700 Coupe on eBay

1963 BMW 700 Coupe

1963 BMW 700 Coupe

When one thinks of classic air-cooled, rear engine German cars, BMW does not come to mind. The much more famous relatives from the Western side of Germany do, of course, and Volkswagen is obviously linked therein too. How about tail fins on a car from the Vaterland? Again, the most recognizable car to sport them is the Mercedes-Benz 220s – the so-called “Heckflosse”. And super-minis from the 1960s? Well, you might even be more inclined to think of DKW rather than the Roundel. But in the 1960s BMW nearly failed as a car company, and the automobile that helped to keep it afloat was the versatile 700 series. The answer for the company was not to launch expensive luxury cars into a depressed economy, but instead to look at alternative economical platforms. Based upon the company’s roots of motorcycles, the 700 incorporated new technology for the company which would later be seen across the board and help to point the company in a different styling direction that the Neue Klasse would continue and expand upon. To me the most attractive of the 700s by far is the Coupe. We’ve looked at a handful of these diminutive and distinctive two-doors over the years, but two clean examples popped up this week and it was definitely worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1963 BMW 700 on eBay

Motorsports Monday: 1960 BMW 700 Sport

Motorsports Monday: 1960 BMW 700 Sport

Though Germany has gained a reputation as a nation of drivers, the reality is that in both pre and post-World War II periods, the average German couldn’t afford many of the cars that are synonymous with German engineering. However, the “German Economic Miracle”, in part assisted by the Marshall Plan as an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of what had created World War II in the first place (thanks, Versailles Treaty!) put Germany at the forefront of European economies as the 1960s got rolling. It was then that we saw the growth of the German automobile industry into what we associate it with today. BMW also grew during this period, from near collapse in the 1950s to a viable – albeit small – company in the 1960s. At least part of that success is thanks to the development of the 700. Rear engine, air cooled and powered by a BMW motorcycle “twin” flat-2, the body was penned by Giovanni Michelotti – responsible for some of the most celebrated designs from Ferrari, Maserati and Triumph. However, he’s probably better known by BMW fans for developing the Neue Klasse designs including the venerable 2002. To my eye, though, the simple BMW 700 in Coupe form was the best looking of the Michelotti BMW designs:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1960 BMW 700S on eBay

Heap of the Week: BMW 700 Collection

Heap of the Week: BMW 700 Collection

When considering a restoration project, many things factor into one’s decision. You need to first pick a model that you find particularly interesting or intriguing. For me, that includes choosing something a little outside the mainstream interests. It’s why I prefer the Audi V8 to the S4/S6, for example. It helps if it’s something that you can afford, as well – for example, you could decide to restore a very early 356 Porsche rather than a 911, but if you can’t afford to buy one it’s no good. Then you need to weigh parts availability and cost along with your restoration goals; will this be a driver, a survivor or a 100 point show car? The costs vary for each, as will the amount of detail work involved. For me, while I love to see pristine 100 point show cars, I prefer something that can be driven to the show and home. My Audi, for example, is certainly not pristine – but it also doubles as a track car, and with nearly a quarter million miles on the clock I’m proud of some of its battle scars even if they make me sigh from time to time. So, when something very unique pops up that has potential to be different, special and really stand out from the crowd, I take notice. The 2002ti turbo from Monday is a perfect example of this; a car that needs a tremendous amount of restoration but it really different than everything else out there. In that vein, here’s a collection of the rare, rear-engined BMW 700s in various configurations and states along with a WW2-era 321 chassis. Why limit yourself to only one project when you could have six?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: BMW 700 Collection on eBay

1962 BMW 700 Coupe

1962 BMW 700 Coupe

When you think BMW and engine behind the driver, you don’t immediately think of an economy car, but rather the iconic M1. But long before the M1 was even conceived, it was the BMW 700 that introduced the automotive world to a BMW with the engine behind the driver. That engine was effectively a motorcycle unit, so this mini-car was efficient if not particularly powerful. However, what it was good at was racing, so in some regards this car which seems at first glance to have little to do with other BMWs helped to solidify BMW’s reputation in the motorsport world and thereby helped to create models like the M1. On top of that, the 700 Coupe was a particularly neat looking little car, with plenty of 60s-spectacular tail fins and a smart-looking profile. Today there is a lovely light blue example on Ebay:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1962 BMW 700 on eBay

1991 Volvo 780 Coupe

1991 Volvo 780 Coupe

Swedish cars have always been a more esoteric choice in the United States. I feel that many of the models produced by Saab and Volvo over the years have that same Germanic DNA and build quality in them, if, sometimes, they are a bit more staid than their southern counterparts.

In the 1980s, Volvo was straining to get away from its literally square image and branch out into new and exciting projects. The 480 hatchback, which was never sold here, was a major departure for the company. Introduced in 1986, this four seat hatchback/coupe featured the all glass rear door made famous by the P1800E, the first transversely mounted engine in a Volvo and on top of that, was built outside Sweden at the DAF plant in The Netherlands.

One year earlier, Volvo also unveiled a very different take on the two door formula in the form of the 780 Coupe. This was a Volvo in the traditional sense, with a longitudinally mounted engine driving the rear wheels and had more boxy styling, if tailored smartly by Bertone. This model became available in the US by 1987 and featured the 2.8 liter Peugeot-Renault-Volvo V6 engine. Later on, Volvo introduced turbo four cylinder engines and by 1991, this was the sole powerplant offered. The 780 nomenclature was dropped as well, as the car was now known simply as “Coupe.”

These are rather rare cars and if they do come up for sale, it is rare to find one sorted quite as well as this particular example for sale in Philadelphia.

1991 Volvo 780 Coupe on eBay

RARE 780 Coupe Bertone! ABS and AIRBAGS! RUNS and Drives Great! Power EVERYHTING! CD Changer! Last production year of this model! THIS IS A TRUE COLLECTORS ITEM – ONE OF A KIND! The car has been inspected by our mechanic!

1963 BMW 700 Cabriolet

1963 BMW 700 Cabriolet

Following World War II, there was widespread devastation to German industry. This led to shortages for all kinds of products, including automobiles. BMW began filling the void in the market for small, efficient cars with the Isetta microcar in 1956. Later that decade, BMW introduced a larger car, the 700, powered by a two cylinder, rear mounted engine. There were three body styles, a two door saloon, two door coupe and a convertible, which is what we see here for sale.

1963 BMW 700 Cabriolet on eBay

THE 700 IS A SMALL REAR-ENGINED CAR PRODUCED BY BMW IN VARIOUS BODY STYLES FROM AUGUST 1959 TO NOVEMBER 1965. THIS WAS THE FIRST BMW AUTOMOBILE WITH A MONOCOQUE STRUCTURE. THE COUPE MODELS WERE POWERED BY A 696 CC, 2 CYLINDER, 4-STROKE ENGINE THAT PRODUCED 30HP. THE CONVERTIBLE MODELS WERE EQUIPPED WITH TWIN SOLEX CARBURETORS GENERATING 40HP. THERE WERE ONLY 2985 CONVERTIBLE CARS WERE PRODUCED BETWEEN SEPT. 1961-NOV. 1964.

THIS BMW SPENT MOST OF ITS LIFE IN CALIFORNIA. WE HAVE A CALIFORNIA PINK SLIP DATED BACK TO 1975 (SEE PHOTO). IT WAS SOLD TO A COLLECTOR IN GEORGIA IN MARCH OF 2002. WE ACQUIRED THIS RARE BMW COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO. THIS CAR CAN BE DRIVEN WITH ITS EXISTING CONDITION. HOWEVER, IT WILL NEED A FULL COSMETIC RESTORATION.

THIS RARE BMW 700 IS BY FAR ONE OF THE MOST ORIGINAL AND RUST-FREE ONES IN EXISTENCE. THE PAINT APPEARS TO BE ORIGINAL. IT IS VERY DULL AND CHALKY AT PLACES. IF THE CAR WAS RESTORED AT SOMETIMES IN THE LAST 48 YEARS, THEY MOST HAVE TAKEN IT COMPLETELY APART AS WE CAN NOT FIND ANY PAINT LINES. THE SEAT COVERS AND DOOR PANELS ARE ORIGINAL. WE HAVE A FEW OLD BROCHURES, MAINT. BOOKLETS, AND OTHER COOL PHOTOS FOR THE CAR. ONE OF THE PHOTOS SHOWS THE PICTURE OF THE CAR BACK WHEN IT WAS IN CALIFORNIA WITH A BLACK PLATE.