BMW 700. The most important car in the history of the brand

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In the 1950s, BMW faced many financial problems. It struggled with a completely incoherent model range. That included the Isetta and the V8 models (BMW 501 / 502). There was a gap between these model generations. While BMW made every effort in 1959 to keep Daimler-Benz out of doors, it was surprising with the arrival of the BMW 700. The model became an extremely important car in the history of BMW.

Michelotti's signature

The BMW 700 was technically partly based on the BMW 600. In a cosmetic sense, however, it was a completely different car. Giovanni Michelotti created a design that fitted perfectly into the fashion of the late fifties and early sixties. The BMW - the first of the brand with a self-supporting body - made entirely of steel - had the classic configuration. The engine found its way into the stern of the small BMW. The trunk space was at the front. Michelotti's signature was clearly recognizable from the subtle drawing of the 700 lines.

Two-cylinder boxer engine

The BMW 700 Coupé was launched first, followed by the BMW 700 (Limousine), the BMW 700 Sport (later BMW 700 CS), the BMW LS Luxus (1962 to 1965) and the BMW LS Coupé (1964 and 1965). All models were based on the air-cooled two-cylinder boxer engine with a light-alloy crankshaft housing (crankcase). The basis for the power source was derived from a motorcycle engine. The first version from 1959 had 22 kW (30 HP) at 5000 rpm. The sportier versions later got 40 HP. The BMW 700 also had a chassis with shock absorbers all around and wheels hung along arms.

Important in the history of BMW

The BMW 700 is considered the most important car in BMW history. He ensured that BMW set a recognizable course. He was an alternative to the novice luxury motorists, who formed an important target group in an era of growing prosperity. The 700 ensured financial peace in Bavaria and thus a good basis for BMW to properly develop the Neue Klasse - with which BMW finally broke through. A total of 700 units of the 1959 and LS models were built from August 1965 to September 181.411.


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  1. Nice picture of Klaas. We once had a thing like that with the dyno starter. it always felt like there were rubber bands in the rear wheels when you drove away with them. Those rubbers instead of CV joints
    often gave in, but you didn't know any better. The cart was way ahead of its time.
    It turned out to be totally bio-degradable, and tried hard to do so. In no time there was nothing left of it, and we didn't even live in Zandvoort. It reminds me of a kinder time.
    Thanks for the photo Klaas.


  2. Nonsense. The 1500 was decisive for the success of BMW in 1965. With the evolution to 1800, 2000 and more, BMW became a serious brand. People liked to forget the Barockengel, the Isetta and also the 700 very quickly.

    • Nice article, and I do believe that these types of models have been the 'salvation' of the German car industry. The alloy crankshaft seems unlikely to me, all the more because BMW with its higher-revving boxers suffered from fracture due to torsion or bad (read: no) support bearing between the 2 cheeks. (Otherwise a boxer will be too 'long'/cylinder offset too big)

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