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BMW in the 1960s - the first "sporty sedan", BMW 1500

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By July 1960, 20.000 BMW’s 700 are produced. It had the engine of the R67 motorcycle and was mounted in the rear. The styling of the 700 model was provided by the Italian Giovanni Michelotti. It came as a 2+2 coupé and as a 2-door sedan. A racing version called the 700RS was also used mostly in German hill-climb and rally events.
From 1960 onwards, the top BMW motorcycle is the R69, with 42 bhp.
After BMW withdraws from track racing, the company turns its attention to collecting a plethora of cross-country victories and titles in the sixties. The results: twelve German championships wins between 1960 and 1966, no less than five of them by Sebastian Nachtmann and four going to the team efforts of Ibscher/Hintermaier and Ibscher/Rettschlag.


It’s the year when BMW launches the BMW 1500, developed by Hofmeister, Fiedler, Wolff and von Falkenhausen. It is the first BMW “sporty sedan” marking a turning point in the Bavarian company. The excellent suspension and striking design for its time, employing a low waistline with a low-slung engine compartment and rear lid characterized the 1500. It is the first modern BMW with a four-cylinder engine developing 80bhp.
Wilhelm Hofmeister introduces the forward curve at the base of the C column: this feature today bears his name. Along with the front air grille, it is one of the unmistakable characteristics that define BMW automobiles.
Paul G. Hahnemann joins the BMW board of directors. The talented head of the sales department introduces professional marketing strategies at BMW and restructures the company's product range to appeal to promising market niches. Under his leadership, BMW undertakes systematic expansion into markets outside Germany.


Alexander von Falkenhausen, a motorcycle design engineer at BMW from the mid-Thirties on, founds the motorsport brand AFM after WWII. Upon his return to BMW, he develops the engine of the New Class, unveiled in 1962. Later, as head of BMW engine development, he is the man behind BMW engine's legendary successes in the world of Formula Two racing.


BMW 1800 comes as an evolution for the 1500 model. It is ten horsepower stronger. High-performance models produced many racing victories.


Different versions of the original 1500 are launched. BMW 1600 used the 1500 engine and the 1800s pistons to produce 83bhp. The 1800ti (ti stands for touring international) has a power output of 110bhp. Hubert Hahne wins the German Circuit Championship driving an 1800ti.


BMW's engine plant in Allach, founded in 1955, is sold. BMW withdraws from jet engine construction for 25 years, focusing instead on car and motorcycle production.


BMW buys the crisis-ridden Hans Glas GmbH with its factories in Dingolfing and Landshut. Both plants are restructured, and over the coming decades the world's largest BMW plant takes shape in Dingolfing. Frameless side windows, two doors and smooth, unadorned surfaces: the hallmarks of the BMW 1600, unveiled on 9th March 1966 to mark the 50th anniversary of BMW. This will form the basis for the 3 Series.
Head of BMW Motors, Alexander von Falkenhausen, creates a new engine: based on the 2 litre engine of the BMW 2000 TI, the 16-valve powerplant produces 260 hp.  Known as the Apfelbeck engine, it propels a modified Brabham Formula Two car through eight world records in 1966 alone. This engine is the Formula Two ticket for BMW and drivers such as Hubert Hahne, Dieter Quester, Jacky Ickx and Jo Siffert.


BMW decides to make a convertible version for the 1600 model. They were built by Baur and only 1682 were ever produced. Very few were exported to the United States.


BMW launched its large "New Six" sedans, the 2500, 2800, and American Bavaria, and coupés, the 2.5 CS and 2800 CS.
At the wheel of a BMW Bergspider Monti, Austrian racing driver Dieter Quester claims several victories in Formula Two racing. He also wins the European touring car title three times: in 1968, 1969 and 1977.


BMW follows up the 1600ti and 2002ti with the 2000tii. The second 'i' stands for injection and the engine now develops 130bhp.
Car production needs more space in the Munich plant, so in 1969 BMW transfers motorcycle production to Spandau in Berlin. This plant becomes the new home of BMW motorcycles.

The first BMW "sporty sedan" - the 1500

The first BMW "sporty sedan" - the 1500

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