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Tag: Frua

1966 Glas 1700 GT

Continuing with some 1960s vintage BMW history, we have to of course look at BMW’s major acquisition follow its successful staving off of Mercedes-Benz takeover. That company was Hans Glas GmbH. In the 1960s, this company briefly moved away from its bonds as constructor of sewing machines and licensed Goggomobils to produce some seriously pretty coupes; the 1300 GT and 1700 GT were the first and better known, but the 2600 and 3000V8 were no less striking. Glas employed same tactic as most major manufacturers for the designs, hiring an Italian to pen the lines. It was Pietro Frua who was responsible for the GT’s design, and while neither his name nor that of Glas resonate with the same authority as Pininfarina, Bertone, Ghia, Italdesign and Giugiaro, Gandini or even Michelotti (who produced a very similar design in the Triumph GT6), the combination was nonetheless a beautiful outcome for the German firm.

BMW purchased Hans Glas GmbH outright in 1966, gaining access to their Dingolfing plant and engineering team (incidentally, one of the first to use timing belts!). In the process, BMW’s technology and Glas’s designs merged, giving us the BMW 1600GT. The upgraded Glas 1700 GT offered 100 horsepower, and about 5,400 Glas-branded GTs were produced before the nameplate was eliminated in 1967. BMW produced a further 1,200 1600GTs before retooling the Dingolfing plant for E24 production in the mid-1970s.

Some fifty years on, that makes any of these cars quite rare, so even though this particular Glas isn’t the most pristine out there, it’s worth a look:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Glas 1700GT on eBay

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1967 BMW Glas 3000 V8

Two names appear in this post that aren’t nearly as widely recognized as they should be. The first is Andreas Glas, the proprietor of Hans Glas GmbH. In the 1960s, this company briefly moved away from its bonds as constructor of sewing machines and licensed Goggomobils to produce some seriously pretty coupes; the 1300GT and 1700GT were the first and better known, but the 2600 and 3000V8 were no less striking. That’s because of the second name involved in this post; Pietro Frua.

Frua isn’t nearly as well known as the other great Italian designers of the 1960s, but he had a unique style all his own. Well before Gandini and Giugiaro capitalized on the angular wedge era of automotive design, Frua’s low, long and flat lines stood sharply apart from the rounded arches that dominated Pininfarina, Ghia and Vignale. Glas used the designs, along with the pioneering use of timing belts, to offer a slightly different vision of German transportation. It was more emotive, more flowing and, frankly, more pretty than just about anything else in period from the major manufacturers. Indeed, many compared Frua’s work on the 2600 to the Maserati Sebring – exotic company, indeed, and fitting given that the designer went on to work on several of the Trident’s designs.

But Hans Glas GmbH was bought out outright by BMW, mostly for the procurement of the Dingolfing plant and engineering crew. Before BMW closed the chapter, though, they updated a few of the Glas designs with new Munich power, stuck some BMW badges on them and Viola! A new catalog of cars! This 1967 BMW Glas 3000 V8 is an example of the seldom seen period of BMW history:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 BMW Glas 3000 V8 on eBay

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1967 BMW-Glas 3000 V8 Fastback by Frua

There are always automotive “what ifs” that are really entertaining to consider. What if Audi had continued its Group B development mule which moved the turbocharged inline-5 to the middle of the car in order to better combat the likes of Lancia, Ford and Peugeot? Might the R8 have become a reality two generations earlier? What if Porsche had fully sussed out the Audi V8 in the back of the 964 instead of sticking with the flat-6? What if Mercedes-Benz hadn’t bought Chrysler and made a conscious decision to make their cars worse? These are but a few of interesting plot developments that could have spawned a Watchmen-esque alternate reality. The automotive landscape we look at could be entirely different. And to add one more potential to the plotline, what if BMW’s traditional design language was completely different? It’s pretty easy to spot the influences of the E9 and E10 in today’s car even though there have been massive changes. BMW even went to great lengths to try to convince consumers of today that there is lineage between the 2002 and the newly renamed 2-series. But what if BMW relied on Italian designer Pietro Frua to design their cars? Well, we would have gotten the 1971 Mustang a few years early, for one:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 BMW-Glas 3000 V8 Fastback by Frua

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Practical Saint: 1973 Volvo P1800ES

There’s a running joke here at GCFSB regarding Volvos and SAABs. Without exception, every time we post one someone comments either here or on our Facebook page that those two manufacturers aren’t German. It doesn’t really matter that we explain nearly every time that though we know this, we still enjoy to look at a super Swede from time to time since – let’s face it – a majority of people on Facebook don’t actually read the articles that are posted, but rather just react to the headlines. Now, we could actually get into a discussion about how the Swedes are actually a Germanic based tribe if you go back far enough, or how many of their engineering principles fall in line with those of their Southern neighbors. We could mention that many of the newer Volvos and SAABs actually utilized German derived chassis from either Ford Europe or GM’s Opel division. But that would be pointless since those arguments don’t apply to today’s example, the P1800ES. You see, Volvo is mostly regarded as builders of very slow moving, very safe and very conservative boxes – but go back a few generations, and Volvo threw a few curve balls as the plate. None were more curvy than the P1800, a pseudo-sports car with stunning looks available in coupe version or the more rare 2-door wagon:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1973 Volvo P1800ES on eBay

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