BMW 1800

BMW 2000
BMW 2000
BMW 2000
BMW 2000
BMW 2000
Those manufacturers that had found a niche in the marketplace to survive the Great Depression were forced once again to figure out how to stay in business after World War II. BMW stayed successful with its affordable and efficient bubble car, named the Isetta. They also produced luxury cars such as the 507 and aircraft parts.

In 1959, BMW was on the brink of bankruptcy. Their Isetta vehicle had sold well for a period of time but it was quickly losing ground to the VW Beetle. A vehicle that had similar features such as excellent fuel economy and practicality, but offered more room for passengers.

Harald and Herbert Quandt provided financial backing to BMW to produce a four-door car which came known to be Neue Klasse or 'New Class'. This happened to be the savior for the struggling company. In 1962 the vehicle was debuted and dubbed the 1500. It featured a four-cylinder engine. In total, 24,000 of the 1500's were produced.

The 1800 was introduced near the end of 1963. It had a four-cylinder, 1773cc engine that was capable of producing 90 horsepower. Variants such as the 1800 Ti and 1800 Ti/SA soon followed.

In 1964 the 1600 replaced the 1500. The 1600 was a responsive, four-door sedan that received excellent reviews from automotive tests all over the world. The 1600-2 was soon introduced. It was a sportier, two-door version of the four-door 1600 that offered more horsepower and sat atop shorter 98.4 wheelbases, thus decreasing the overall weight of the vehicle and improving performance. The 1600-2 featured a 1573cc (1600) cc engine. The additional '2' represented the number of doors. A 105 horsepower 1600Ti soon followed. BMW was once again inching closer to its sports-car roots; a heritage it had not visited since the 1930's.

Helmut Werner Bonsch and Alex von Falkenhausen, both employee's of BMW's, had independently experimented with a 2.0-liter engine in the 1602 body. The combination was a success.

In 1966, the sale of 1600's in the United States began to escalate. The press had done much to stimulate a desire for this small and responsive vehicle. The problem was that the sportier version, the 1600ti, was unable to pass the US Federal exhaust emissions regulations and thus, unable to be sold in that market. This was due to its twin-carburetor engine. The solution was to sell the 2-liter version which was able to pass the emissions regulations. So, in 1966, the 2002 was introduced.

During the life span of the 2002, which ranged from 1968 through 1976, there were three generations. The first generation was from 1968 through 1971. The second generation was built from 1971 through 1973. The third generation was built from 1973 through 1976.

From 1968 through 1976, BMW produced around 80,000 vehicles for the US market.

The vehicle produced from 1968 through 1973 can be identified by their round taillights. Vehicles built after that and through 1973 had larger bumpers and sat atop a wider track.

A turbo version of the 2002 was introduced but due to safety concerns, only produced in limited numbers. Less than 2000 were made; all were left-hand drive.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011Beginning in 1962, BMW introduced their New Class (German: Neue Klasse) line of compact sedans and coupes. The first was the 1500 and continuing through the last 2002s in 1977. Besides the power train, this new line shared little with the rest of the BMW line-up. They featured a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in the front and powered by a four-cylinder M10 engine.

BMW introduced the 1500 at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show and produced 23,807 examples during the production lifespan, lasting from 1962 through 1966. These were followed by the 1800, which was produced from 1964 through 1971. The 1800 was powered by a four-cylinder, 1.8-liter engine. The 1600 was introduced in 1966 and remained in production until 1975. These had a 1.6-liter four-cylinder powerplant. These sports sedans model 1600 were promoted by US importer Max Hoffman, who convinced BMW to produce an attractive 2-door version of the 1500. BMW tasked Giovanni Michelotti, a talented designer who had designed the Triumph Spitfire and TR4, to create the design.

In 1966, BMW introduced their pillarless coupe body named the 2000. It was designed by Wilhelm Hofmeister and was based on the 'New Class' chassis. Karmann assembled the cars at their Osnabruck plant in northern Germany. Powering the car was an enlarged overhead-cam four-cylinder engine that displaced 121.4 cubic-inches and produced 100 DIN (113 SAE) horsepower. The two versions included the 2000C which had the 100-DIN engine with the single Solex carburetor, available with either a four-speed manual gearbox or ZF three-speed automatic. The 2000CS had a more powerful twin carbureted engine, rated at 120-DIN horsepower. It was available with only a four-speed manual gearbox.

Many consider the design of the coupe rather controversial due to the design of its front grilles and headlights. In 1969, the front of the coupe was completely changed with the introduction of the 2800CS by modeling it after the 2500 and 2800 sedans.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2011

BMW 1600
BMW 1600
BMW 1600
BMW 1600
During the crisis of the '50's, the 1500 was introduced and with its excellent suspension and striking design, became part of BMW's saving grace during that time period. A total of 334,165 models were produced during its two years of production. Following the 1800 series, a whole New Class sedan was launched during the Spring of 1964, the 1600.

The most legendary series ever introduced by BMW, the 1600 Series was introduced in the late 1960's. A total of 10,278 models were produced. Considered to 'the best small sedan we ever drove' by the February issue of Car and Driver, the 1600 was reasonably priced and affordable to most at the time. At $2,500, the 1600 series was extremely economical with up to 30 mpg highway.
Beginning with the 1600-2, the two-door model, rolling off the runway, it was an instantaneous hit.

Derivatives of the 1600 were almost immediately introduced, a total of fourteen in all. Unfortunately, the 1600 was unable to import, due to the 1968 twin-carb engine and regulations from the U.S. Emission controls. The result was the largest four-cylinder engine being installed into the smallest body coupe. The pistons from the 1800 were used in the 1600 to enlarge the 1500's engine. The improvement updated the engine to 1.6 (1573 cc) and 85 hp (63 kW). The four-door 1600 model was originally introduced in 1964 and continued to be produced until 1968.

In 1966, the 1602 or 1600-2 was introduced and continued to be sold until 1975. The 1602 came with an increased output of 96 hp (71 kW) and was sold at $2,676. The 1600ti was introduced from 1967 to 1971 and was a limited-production cabriolet that was produced by Baur and showcased the same dual Solex PHH side draft carburetors as on the 1800TI. The 1600ti boasted 105 hp. A total of 1,682 models were produced during it's four years of production. Produced from 1971 for one year, a hatchback 1600 Touring model was introduced briefly.

The 1600ti was discontinued soon after the release of the 2002, and the Cabriolet version ended in 1971.

By Jessica Donaldson

BMW 1800
BMW 1800

Total Production: 164,989
BMW introduced a new series of vehicles beginning in 1962 with the 1500. It made its debut at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show and produced until 1966. It was powered by a four-cylinder BMW M10 engine that would grow in size of the years, and the naming scheme would change along with it.

The BMW 1500 four-door sedan was a popular vehicle, and helped secure BMW financially. The car brought with it front disc brakes and a MacPherson strut setup in the front.

In 1964, the 1600 was introduced which brought with it an engine that increased horsepower to 80. The 1800 was introduced in 1963 and horsepower rose to 90 from the 1.8-liter engine. A 'TI' option, meaning Touring International', was offered and featured components by Alpina. Upgrades included two Solex PHH side-draft carburetors and higher-compression pistons resulting in an increase in horsepower to 110.

In 1964, a TI/SA option was introduced, which was intended as a racing option. It was equipped with dual Weber DCOE-45 carburetors and increased horsepower to 130. The car was created to qualify for the touring car racing regulations. The 'SA' portion of its name represented 'SonderAusfuhrung meaning extraordinary sporting special. The car had a five-speed gearbox and only two-hundred genuine factory-built 'Tisas' were ever created.

The 1800 TI/SA enjoyed much racing success with drivers such as Hubert Hahne who won the German national championship in 1964. Hahne and co-driver Rauno Aaltonen entered a 1800 TI/SA in the Spa 24-Hour race, where they finished second, nearly capturing the victory from the winning Mercedes-Benz 300SE. In 1965, Pascal Ickx and Gerald Langlois drove a 1800Ti/SA to a victory at the Spa 24-Hour race and many other racing events.

The 1600 was introduced in 1964, and used the 1500 engines with the pistons from 1800. The resulting 1.6-liter engine produced 85 horsepower and produced through 1968. In 1966, it was joined by a two-door version of the 1600, commonly referred to as the 1602. This version was sold through 1975. By this time, power had risen to nearly 100 horsepower.

The 2000C/CS was produced from 1965 through 1969. The 'CS' versions were only fitted with manual gearboxes, while the 'C' came with a manual as standard and automatic as options. The coupe body's were designed by Karmannn, and by many people's opinion, was a rather odd design. The front grille and headlights give the car a distinct look that has been termed as 'controversial' in appearance. In 1969, the front-end was changed.

The 2002 was a financial victory for BMW and was a very popular automobile. It was based on the four-door 1600 and became the fore-runner for the BMW 3-Series.
By Daniel Vaughan | May 2007

Model Production *

* Please note, dates are approximate

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