Saturday, January 28, 2017

One of the prettiest BMWs ever made

I was walking in the recently recognized micro-neighborhood of Wallabout when I noticed a fin slicing through the waters. Shark attack!
1971 BMW 3.0 CS in what might be Island Blue. Interestingly BMW offered something like 12 or 14 different shades of blue in this era, each prettier than the last.
BMW stands for Bayerische Motoren Werke which translates to Bavarian Motor Works. Their cars are ubiquitous in the States today but during this era there was one single person named Max Hoffman was responsible for BMW importing. Mr. Hoffman is the rarest of rare in that he was an automobile dealer who was responsible for several automotive legends. He suggested the development and production of the Porsche 356 Speedster, the Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing, and the BMW 507. He is in the Automotive Hall of Fame as a result.
I find this design to be one of the most beautiful of the '70s, and indeed it looks fresh today. 
The small details like this vent grill lend lots of class to the design.
This is what's known as a Grand Tourer; seating for 4, a powerful engine, luggage space, and killer good looks. To think that 15 years before this ride was built BMW was selling 1 cylinder microcars where the entire front end was the door is remarkable. It's safe to say no other car company leapt so quickly from postwar diminutive transportation to producer of world class automobiles.
Pardon my super fuzzy pics! This thing puts every other vehicle on the block to shame with its mere presence.
This beat-down industrial block is the last place this car probably thought it would be parked.
We can just barely make out the 4 speed manual gearshift through the windows in this pic (I didn't want to press my phone up to the glass on a block with warehouses full of workers looking on). These rides are unique in that the power window, heating, and windshield wiper controls are all on the console surrounding the gearshift. A truly bizarre fact is that the turn signal stalk is located on the right side of the steering column! I couldn't even get used to that in New Zealand when I was driving on the opposite side of the road. The stalk on the left side controls the high beams only.
Well that's where I'll leave this unexpected cruiser. These cars remain popular with collectors who really like to drive. The fact that this thing is 46 years old and looks as good as it does it incredible. In many ways BMW owes its future success to this model which was the harbinger of the company look for the next 2 decades. If you see one in good shape at or under $10,000 I would grab it quick! It's not  uncommon for nicer examples to cross the 30 thousand dollar threshold these days.

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