BMW 700 Coupé – Love at first sight

This little 1961 BMW 700 Coupe is a cracking little car. Beautiful, and very small. Photo by Johan Åhlund

The first time I saw her, it was love at first sight. She was a tiny red BMW 700 Coupé. A small sports car, with a tiny engine. Although her small engine did sound pretty nice, in general she seemed to be in good condition. Someone had taken care of her. Despite the fact that she was made in Germany back in 1961. That’s a long time ago.

Well, it’s time to start talking about her as a car. Of course, this BMW 700 Coupé has got some new parts and guessingly a whole lot of love during its 55 year life. And it has earned them. The 700 Coupé was designed by the now legendary Giovanni Michelotti, and it impressed a lot of potential buyers in early 1959 when they saw photos of BMW´s new replacement model for the tired old BMW 600.

Nice and tidy, with a Blaupunkt and a patinated look. Photo by Johan Åhlund

BMW 700 Coupé also seemed to fit as a race car. Not only as a daily driver. And it was a success on in rally’s and on the racetracks. The RS-model had an impressive 70 horsepower, and it was light, weighing just 1,323 lb.

As you can see, the lines are very beautiful. Especially in red, with red and beige interior. The dashboard is just right patinated and contains only the absolute essentials. The seats are small and thin. The steering wheel as well, and its floor-mounted four-speed gear selector and the fully independent and improved suspension made it a fun car to drive. No wonder that the owner seemed to be very happy when he stepped out of the little car.

Well, the little BMW 700 is a really beautiful little car

The rear also looks nice. Photo by Johan Åhlund

The engine was a normally aspirated 697 cc (43 cui) twin cylinder petrol engine with carburetors and four valves. It was placed in the back and the car was had rear wheel drive. BMW had earlier used the engine in their motorcycles, but found it a perfect fit for the 700 Coupé.

Is was available in either 30, 32 or 40 HP. However, 40 HP was only found in 700 Sport Coupe.

The car in this article is an ordinary BMW 700 Coupé. With 32 horsepower (24 Kw), it’s not a Ferrari competitor. But thanks to small dimensions, light weight (only 640 kilos) it actually was quite fast. And fun to drive. There is no problem to reach 70 mph/h. You just need to wait a little to get there, 0-60 took at least 32 seconds. But who cares about performance when it comes to this little beauty? It’s a little gem, and in fact the 700 saved BMW from bankruptcy when it was new. These days it’s a true and rare little car. It makes me glad when I see it. Although it’s a very rare sight.

Text and Photo : Johan Åhlund
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