BMW 1600 GT convertible
BMW 1600 GT convertible

Survivor Bimmer 50 years in the making

Riley Riley

This 1967 BMW 1600 GT convertible had a protracted 50-year birth.

It’s the only surviving example of two prototypes commissioned from Italian designer Pietro Frua in the ’60s.

The cars left the production plant in Dingolfing for the first time in the autumn of 1967, but disaster struck when one was involved in a catastrophic accident.

The second car was then quietly handed over to BMW AG’s then major shareholder, Herbert Quandt and remained in the hands of the Quandt family for many years.

A string of owners followed that included a fashion model from Munich and businessman from Fürth in Franconia, before the car found a new home at the Munich-based Allianz Centre for Engineering.

It was here that major restoration work was undertaken for the first time, to ensure the car was preserved for posterity.

When BWM Group Classic acquired the car, it came up with a plan to return the convertible to its original condition at the very place where it first saw the light of day.

The resto project at the Dingolfing plant formed part of the training for apprentices who aspired to become bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics.

BMW Classic supported the project in a number of ways, with the supply of original parts while components that were no longer available were painstakingly remanufactured.

When the BMW 1600 GT was originally built, the company had just taken over the Dingolfing plant from car maker Glas, a company that had successfully produced the Goggomobil since 1955.

The compact sports car was fitted with the rear axle, the seats and the 77kW engine from the BMW 1600 TI, along with a BMW kidney grille for the front end and round headlights from a BMW 02 Series.

The idea of placing a convertible alongside the sporty coupé came from the USA.

A proposal was made by importer Max Hoffmann to develop a new version of the coupé with a 2.0-litre engine and an open-top.

In October 1967, Frua delivered a convertible body mounted on a strengthened floor assembly.

This was then painted in Dingolfing where all further assembly work took place.

On November 16, the BMW 1600 GT convertible was finally entered in the plant’s production book as being completed.

However, plans for series production and export to the USA never came to fruition.


CHECKOUT: BMW’s forgotten funsters

CHECKOUT: Struggling BMW talked takeover with Benz

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *