At the IAA 1961 in Frankfurt, BMW – in the shadow of the Neue Klasse – presents the BMW 3200 CS. The belated successor to the 503 Coupé will be built from 1962 to 1965. The last BMW without a self-supporting body is actually a co-production. The body is built at Bertone in Italy, the assembly takes place in Munich. The BMW 3200 CS marks the end of an era and visually represents the harbinger of a new generation of BMW coupés.
Pininfarina was indirectly responsible for the history of the carriage. Or rather: Helmut Werner Bonsch was marketing manager of the slowly recovering BMW in 1960. He discovered that the Pininfarina-designed body of the Lancia Flaminia Coupe was compatible with the separate BMW chassis without too many modifications. That chassis had been in service for ten years with the great fifties models from Bavaria. The marketing manager launched the idea to provide the carriages with a BMW grille, in order to easily create a successor for the 503. The BMW management did not want this, and engaged Bertone to design the body for the new luxury coupé.
Signature from Italy
The Italian design house presented a completely new designed carriage by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The sharp lines of the seventies were still far away. Nevertheless, the bodywork was decisive for the designs of the later (CS) coupes. The frame line, the sharp marking in the waist and the sloping back came back in those versions. The bodywork of the BMW 3200 CS was modern and cast its attractive shadow ahead. Also within the interior, attractive style features (including the dashboard design) and high-quality finish (beautiful materials) were found to go together perfectly.
Technically based on old reads
In the meantime, BMW had taken the decision to technically still have the BMW 3200 CS on the old model. The engine was still the V8 according to old familiar specifications and construction. The valves were operated by push rods. The transmission (four gears, all synchronized) was also united with the Bertone BMW according to old-fashioned specifications. The attachment – to the tubular chassis fitted with cross members – took place at the height of the front seats. The connection to the 3168 cc power source with 2 double Zenith 36 NDIX downdraft carburettors was made via a short drive shaft. The undercarriage consisted of triangles and torsion bars at the front and a rigid driven axle with torsion bars at the rear. The braking system consisted of discs at the front and hydraulically operated drums at the rear, to curb the speeds to be reached (top: 200 kilometers per hour).
Little built, rare beautiful
The BMW 3200 CS, of which one convertible version was built for BMW rescuer Herbert Quandt, was considered a Luxus coupé that united old and new. A beautifully styled car, which is perhaps one of the most beautiful cars that was built in the 1960s. According to BMW's specifications, 538 units rolled off the tire. The BMW 3200 CS could not be called a commercial success in life. It only gives the look of the really rare coupé today extra cachet.