UK’s rarest cars: 1967 and 1969 BMW 2000 Neue Klasse, two of only 35 left on British roads

Some cars we have previously featured owe their rarity to age and/or banger racers. Others were models that never seemed to appeal to the British motorist, while Paul Hill’s white 1967 BMW belongs to a third category; the vastly expensive. A price of £1,777 10s 6d meant it was over £400 more costly than a Rover P6, but enthusiasts regarded it as worth every penny. Equally importantly, the 2000 was part of a dynasty that saved one of the world’s famous marques.

In the late 1950s, BMW lost money on its imposing “Baroque Angel” saloon, while the profit margins on producing its Isetta bubble cars were narrow. The Deutsche Bank even considered selling the company to Daimler-Benz. However, the industrialist Herbert Quant took control in 1959, which funded a crucial new model. For many years BMW had lacked a medium/large saloon that would rival the Borgward Isabella and appeal to Aufsteigers (social climbers) seeking more prestige than a Ford or Opel could offer

When the 1500 “Neue Klasse” (New Class) debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt motor show, BMW’s sales team received thousands of advance orders before the event closed. According to the brochure, the SOHC 1.5-litre engine would be “up to the minute for the next ten years” and the 1500’s appearance was another selling point. 

Hill regards the Neue Klasse as possessing “very clean lines, with its double kidney grille and  ‘kink’, in the rear window, to compensate for a potential weak point on the C pillar”.

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