1964 BMW 700 LS
The 700 marks an odd chapter in BMW history, but it was also a lifesaver for them.
Like a bunch of European cars in the post-war era, the 700 featured a rear-mounted engine that powered the rear wheels. Only one engine was used: a tiny 697cc flat 2-cylinder. Fortunately, with the balance and handling that a rear-engine provides, coupled with a relatively low curb weight of just 1,500 lbs., these were capable little cruisers, and were also used in motorsport racing.
Styling is courtesy of Giovanni Michelotti, who would later design the iconic 2002. Although the grille-less front is slightly off-putting, the overall shape is nicely handled. Note the ever-so-slight tail fins, rare from European cars, who were never keen on the American styling cue. The compact "bathtub" proportions, thin pillars and plentiful greenhouse glass are signs of good things to come from BMW, however.
Inside, the interior has a minimalist deco-mod vibe, with a matching body color dashboard and neatly detailed steering wheel.
The seller is up front about this being a meticulous restoration. They say the engine was given new cylinders, pistons, rings, valves, heads and gaskets.
Cosmetically, they sandblasted the body to rid it of any rust. Where new metal was required, they used similar same-gauge metal to match the original. Untouched cars with patina are all the rage these days, but a complete restoration is still nice, especially if it means life or death of the vehicle. I wonder how bad this one was when they found it.
The 700 rescued BMW and provided much needed sales of 188,000 units, breathing new life into the company and guaranteeing them a future in the auto making business. Building upon the microcar 600 chassis, the 700 was actually BMW's last economy car before they produced the Mini Cooper, and the last one with their name on it. The New Class cars of the late 60s had a better profit margin and moved the whole brand upscale. The rest is history.
Available here on ebay in Miami Florida with 1 bid at $7,000 and reserve not met.