1965 BMW 1800

The BMW 1800 was the successor to the 1500 saloon. It was launched in September of 1963 and came equipped with a 1773cc, 90 horsepower engine. The BMW 1800ti (Turismo Internazionale) version continued the company's trend towards sporting motoring by delivering 110bhp, courtesy of twin side draft Solex carburetors and an increased compression ratio of 9.5:1, while the chassis featured stiffer suspension. The 1800ti enjoyed success in motorsports, clinching numerous victories, including Hubert Hahne winning the German Circuit Championship in 1964.

BMW 1800 Ti/SA 'homologation specials' were campaigned successfully by the works team in the mid-1960s, most notably by Hubert Hahne and Rauno Aaltonen. The BMW Ti/SA was introduced in 1961 and was based on the 1800TI (Turismo Internationale). Power was supplied by a four-cylinder, overhead-camsahft engine with cast iron block and alloy cylinder head, which would evolve into one of the foremost competition units of its era.

Built to meet the then current touring car race regulations, the limited edition 1800Ti/SA (Sonderausführung – special edition) came with a 130bhp engine (20bhp more powerful than that of the stock 1800TI) incorporating a counter-weighted crankshaft, larger valves, 10.5:1 compression ratio, competition camshaft and two twin-choke Weber carburetors. There was also a five-speed gearbox, the latter relatively rare on road cars at the time. The running gear was up-rated appropriately to cope with the increased performance, featuring larger front hubs and bearings, larger brake discs, stiffer anti-roll bars and quicker steering. The interior features Restall-Masterfit seats, central rev counter and special wood-rim steering wheel. Tested by Auto, Motor und Sport magazine in 1964, a BMW 1800 Ti/SA achieved a top speed of 192km/h (119mph) a quite exceptional figure for an under 2-litre saloon.

Intended to raise BMW's international sporting profile, the 1800Ti/SA succeeded brilliantly; Hubert Hahne won the German national championship in 1964 and with co-driver Rauno Aaltonen disputed the lead of the Spa 24-Hour race with a Mercedes-Benz 300SE, eventually finishing second. BMW went one better the following year when Pascal Ickx and Gerald Langlois' 1800Ti/SA secured the first of the Munich manufacturer's string of victories in this prestigious event. The roll call of Ti/SA drivers also includes Dieter Glemser, Josef Schnitzer (Schnitzer Motorsport), Willy Mairesse, Jacky Ickx, Dieter Quester, Freddy Kottulinsky, Gijs van Lennep, Helmut Kelleners, Clemens Schickentanz and Wim Loos, among others.

Just 200 factory-built Ti/SAs were built.

In its ultimate, turbo-charged, Formula 1 incarnation this extremely versatile little engine produced up to 1,500bhp in qualifying trim, powering Nelson Picquet's Brabham to the Drivers' World Championship in 1983.

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

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