Stepping even a bit further back in BMW’s timeline, today we have a Neue Klasse Coupe. The E120 was as evolution of the Bertone 3200CS design from the early 1960s, but BMW’s design head – one very famous Mr. Wilhelm Hofmeister – certainly added his own distinctive flair. However, he wasn’t alone – some of the most famous car designers from the period had influence – from the aforementioned Bertone, Giugiaro, and of course Michelotti (designer of the 700 series as well) all had a hand.
While the lines looked exotic, underneath the chassis and drivetrain were borrowed straight from the more pedestrian Neue Klasse sedans. Power came from the venerable 2.0 inline-4 M10 fed by twin Solex carbs. The CS had the higher compression (9.3:1) 120 horsepower version, while the C and CA made due with 100. This was still a huge step for BMW, who lacked the capability to produce the complex body structure on its normal assembly lines. As a result, like its successors the E9 and early E24 models, the 2000C, CA and CS Coupes would be produced by Karmann in Osnabrück. A total of approximately 13,691 were produced between its 1965 launch and the takeover of the 2800CS introduction in 1968.
So, they’re old, a bit quirky-looking by BMW standards, and rare. That certainly makes for the potential for a collector car! And this one is claimed to be a mostly original survivor, to boot:
If you like the classic BMW E9 coupe, odds are that you also think the earlier New Class Coupe is pretty awesome too. Granted, some don’t appreciate the more delicate look of the 4-cylinder big pillarless coupe, but most of the design features that Wilhelm Hofmeister penned into the 2000C and 2000CS were directly translated into the E9 coupe. That means, of course, that the design language was effectively the same for over twenty years until the last of the similar designs – the E24 – finally left production in 1989. Even then, the “Hofmeister Kink” remained a styling cue that was incorporated into the new designs from Munich. The 2000CS, though, held some unique details such as the front end which looked distinctly different than the models that followed. Shared with some of the New Class sedans, the dual beam lights hid behind a glass cover – something that wouldn’t occur again until the 1990s. But the profile was classic BMW coupe; a long hood and delicate A and C pillars with plenty of glass along with a sharply cut tail. Squint, and you can still see some details that are incorporated even into modern BMWs:
While BMW was a well-known name throughout Germany in the 1960s thanks to their prolific motorcycle history and pre-War exploits in the Mille Miglia and other sports car races with the 328, outside of Germany they remained fairly unknown in the 1960s. Indeed, in the late 1950s or early 1960s, if you asked someone to identify where the kidney grills belonged in Britain, they’d probably point you towards the BMW-derived Bristols of the day – straight copies of some of the first post-war BMWs, right down to the grill. So in the 1960s and 1970s, BMW went racing to try to spread the reputation of their engineering out of motorcycles or perhaps some veiled World War airplane references with their “New Class” sedans. It was independent tuners like Schnitzer and Alpina that first really started to get the small sedans noticed in Touring classes. While the large coupe based upon the New Class design wasn’t raced much in its day – efforts instead focusing on the smaller, lighter and similarly powered sedans – it’s none-the-less exciting to see a 2000CS that has been modified in the style of the period racers: