1972 BMW Bavaria

I have a soft spot for the Bavaria. It’s not because it’s the best looking BMW from the 1970s, nor the fastest. It’s not the most collectable, either – but as a result, the Bavaria might just be the rarest of the 1970s BMWs. To me, I can appreciate this coming from a background of loving Audis – most of which are quite rare today. The look of the Bavaria is even very similar to the Audi 100, and like the 100 very few examples are left kicking around. Also like the Audi 100, people will always be glad to see it, and I’m sure many have stories involving Bavarias. As with the old Audis, it’ll be a mix of people who smile and immediately start to tell you their wonderful BMW story and the balance of the masses who simply ask “What is that?” But the Bavaria was nonetheless an important move for BMW, taking on the larger executive market with an upscale big-body 4-door and that famous M30 power:

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1967 BMW 2000CS

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:

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2000Tuesday: 1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

With only 1,672 produced now some 45 years ago, your odds of coming across a 2002 Turbo today are fairly unlikely. Yet over the past few years I’ve taken a look at a steady stream of the legendary hot E10. While the M5 is often credited with being the first real ‘super sedan’, a decade before that model launched BMW’s fledgling Motorsports division breathed heavily on the diminutive 2-door sedan, creating a pint-sized sports car killer. I covered what made it so special back in 2017:

1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

The third 2002 we’ve looked at in three weeks, this is one that definitely ticks the right boxes as the collector car left out of the EAG Legends collection. But what will it take to buy today?

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1968 BMW 1600

BMW’s long road to recovery in the postwar era was interesting to say the least. Before the war, BMW had a moderately successful series of luxury and sports cars with its 326, 327 and 328 lineup. However, the market for those cars in Germany didn’t exist in the early 1950s and the technology was quite dated, so BMW found itself reliant upon an Italian-designed and licensed bubble car — the Isetta — to sustain early sales. Of course, with their motorcycle expertise, the air-cooled twins that found their way into Isettas were reliable (though not sprightly) units.

Though economical, a family sedan the Isetta did not make, so starting in 1957 BMW stretched the two seats into four and created the 600. With just shy of 600cc from an enlarged rear-mounted engine borrowed from a R67 motorcycle and a four-speed manual gearbox driving a new semi-independent trailing arm rear end, the 600 was a serious step forward for the company. The improvements were masked behind a familiar face (which still served as the primary door, as with the Isetta) and the 600 was not a sales success, with just shy of 35,000 produced. Intended to compete with the Beetle, it offered little respite from Volkswagen’s steamrolling sales success.

1959 BMW 600

To remedy this, BMW continued to develop the 600 chassis into the larger and more conventional 700 model. Launched in 1959 as BMW skirted attempts by Daimler-Benz to purchase the Munich-based firm, the 700 heralded BMW’s first true postwar sedan. Yet in spite of the conventional sedan proportions, the 700 retained the motorcycle-based air-cooled flat-twin in the back, driving the rear wheels. Back when BMW’s naming conventions matched their engine sizes, the eponymous sedan’s power was upgraded to nearly 700cc and 30 horsepower — 50 percent more than the 600. Styling came from Italian Giovanni Michelotti, who would go on to pen the next generation of BMW sedans.

1959 BMW 700

The 700 was available in three configurations — the conventional sedan, a sporty-rooflined coupe, and a convertible, each sporting era-correct tail fins. True to the company’s history, BMW even raced the 700 in rally, circuit and hill-climb events. The 700 would go on to be a relative sales boom for the company, bridging the gap between the borrowed Isetta models and the company’s first postwar conventional sedan: the water-cooled, front-engine Neue Klasse you probably remember best in the form of the legendary 2002.

1962 BMW 1500

The Neue Klasse launched with quite a splash in 1961 at the Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung in Frankfurt, and signaled a new direction for the company. Badged the 1500 due to its 1499cc M10 water-cooled inline-4, the 1500 was later joined by larger displacement models, some with fuel injection; the 1800 in 1963 and the 2000 in 1966. In 1964, the 1500 was replaced by the enlarged 1600. The M10 was punched out to 1573cc and now produced 4 more horsepower for a total of 84. While the 1600 wasn’t the first Neue Klasse, it was the first commercially successful model; between the beginning of 1966 and the end of 1968, BMW produced nearly 70,000 units of this model alone. This particular 1600 is a 1600-2 (the 1602 badge didn’t appear until 1973) from late in the ’68 VIN run, one of the 17,702 produced in this batch:

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1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

Porsche pioneered turbocharging for the mass market, right?

Well, wrong, as it turns out.

Certainly, when you think Germany, turbocharging, and 1970s, Porsche’s name is intrinsically linked with any associations therein. But it was BMW, not the Stuttgarters, who first brought turbocharging to the German public. Back in 1973, BMW’s fledgling Motorsport division breathed new life into the 2002 by force with the addition of a KKK turbocharger to the Kugelfish-injection M10. Little on the 2002tii motor went untouched, and the result was 170 horsepower and 181 lb.ft of torque. That’s a pittance in today’s numbers, but in 1973? It was pretty outrageous. Consider, for a moment, that the base Corvette at the same time had the L48 5.7 liter V8 cranking out 190 horsepower in a car that weighed the best part of two 2002s.

The Turbo came to market with a penchant for fuel and a high sticker price at a time when the world was on the verge of a oil crisis. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t much of a market success, and only 1,672 were made for the 1974 and 1975 model years. There were only two colors (Chamonix White, and Polaris Silver Metallic like we see here) and they came fitted standard with 13″ steel wheels. This recipe would be the basis for some later, greater sleepers from BMW, including the M5:

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1973 BMW 1600 Touring

A few weeks ago I looked at a quite rare 2002tii Touring that was available for import from Europe. Uniquely styled and a very late production tii Touring, the seller was looking for around $35,000 plus importation fees – which, truth told, can get pricey. So, what about a resto-mod 1600 Touring that has been thoroughly upgraded with a 2 liter motor, 5-speed transmission, air conditioning and a helping of Alpina details for a few thousand dollars less?

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1974 BMW 2002 Turbo

What was the first M car? Many would instantly say the M1 – first to carry the magical badge of engineering prowess. But of course BMW Motorsport existed before the M1 came to be, and indeed had already tipped their hat to the market with two now legendary cars in their own right. The first was the 3.0CSL a stripped out and lightened racer for the road. The next capitalized on BMW’s early turbocharged technology. Though the inline-6 would be the staple of the road-going lineup until fairly recently, the performance side of BMW took their inline-4 racing virtually everywhere, from Le Mans to Formula 1. And they won virtually everywhere, too – thanks to adjustable boost, in qualifying configuration the development M12 was reportedly capable of 1,400 horsepower – from 1.6 liters. In the 2002, the more pedestrian M10 was turbocharged, resulting in 170 horsepower. That may not sound like a lot, but consider for a moment that small performance sedans up to that point had considerably less. Take the Lotus Cortina, for example, which only a few years earlier was the hot shoe with 105 horsepower. The 2002 Turbo was really a revelation in performance, then, and BMW never looked back. Produced only in Polaris Silver Metallic or Chamonix White like this one, a scant 1,672 were made and are very collectable today:

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1976 BMW 2002

$_57
While I’m an 80s fan myself, it doesn’t take much imagination to see why the classy Bimmers of the 70s have so many fans. From the E9 to the Bavaria, this was the era that really saw BMW gain worldwide acclaim as the people’s sports car. The 2002 is one of the main reasons BMW is still cashing checks on their reputation for sports sedans, bringing great handling and smart styling to the world, along with some delightfully funky colors. Today’s Golf Yellow example features one of the hues that might be maligned on most cars, yet seems playful and fitting on these machines that seem to perform so many duties well. Quite clean at first glance, this example is not without its share of needs, but none severe enough to keep it from being a fun driver immediately. A 5-speed from an E21 helps perk it up from the original slushbox, along with headers and exhaust. There are many tasks to be completed if you want this to be among the super clean Neue Klassen, but the tinted windows will help hide the inside while the attractive exterior distracts.

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1967 BMW 2000

Do you want to stand out in the vintage German crowd? There are plenty of expensive ways; drop a couple of million on a barn find 300SL Gullwing and everyone will be talking about you. But, say you don’t have a few million? Well, even for the modest budgeted enthusiast, many of the classics are heading out of reach. In the world of BMWs, vintage 3.0s are heading towards six figures for the best examples and even the 2002 – the car that started the craze of BMW’s sport sedan heritage – can be an expensive proposition for an average enthusiast. If you want a really nice example, you’ll be spending between $25,000 and $30,000 for a good carburetor example. Tiis are even more highly sought, pushing $50,000 for the best examples. Even a top condition lowly Isetta can run over $40,000. That doesn’t mean you’re pushed out of the classic BMW market if you’re not made of money; witness the BMW 2000, the semi-forgotten sports sedan that shared much of its architecture with the 2002 but offers 4-door sports sedan practicality:

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1970 BMW 2000

If the 2002 has developed a following far outside of the cult-status of many of the other BMW models, it’s sister is still relatively forgotten. Add two doors to the 2002 and you got the BMW 2000; with slight styling changes to the front and rear in addition to the 4 doors, these often-overlooked sedans are nonetheless equally stylish and neat to see. However, because they’re not in the limelight, a clean 2000 sedan will set you back significantly less than the nearly identical 2002; mid-range values on good examples of a 1970, like this one, are around $12,000 while the 2002 pushes closer to $18,000 or more. For my money, I actually prefer the look of the 4-door like this Granada Red survivor example:

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