By on April 29, 2012

It’s pretty rare that I’m completely stumped by an old car in a self-service junkyard, but at first glance this car looked like some sort of mutant Renault Caravelle, or maybe a member of the Glas family. Then I saw the (somewhat melted) air-cooled boxer twin in the back and knew that those crazy Bavarians must have had something to do with building this car.
Sure enough, it’s a BMW 700, which occupies a place in the BMW family tree somewhere between the not-really-cars Isettas and the high-admission-price Neue Klasse machines.
It’s weird to imagine BMW competing head-to-head with the Type 1 VW Beetle and the Renault Dauphine, but that’s what the 700 was for.
There can’t be many usable parts left on this charred hulk.
Maybe the front suspension and brakes are salvageable. If you’re restoring a 700, any parts car is a treasure trove.

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22 Comments on “Junkyard Find: Toasty 1965 BMW 700...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    That front end looks like it was inspired by Amphicar.

    • 0 avatar
      old blue

      Not so much.

      When I was in school in Kansas City, there was a GAS STATION that had formerly been the Rolls Royce dealership, and which had 6- 10 Ferraris and Maseratis partially disassembled and waiting for parts.

      Funny thing though [and not looking like Amphicars] the two sons at the station had a track running around the station, down in the gully by the disassembled Ferraris and back up the hill where they raced each other in BMW 700s. It was wild to see them tearing after each other. I don’t suppose that if the gulch flooded that they would have been able to ford it like an Amphicar.

      The 700 s saved BMW, followed by the 1800. I had one of those.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        You can gather from my earlier post that we have a difference of view about whether the 700 had a positive effect on the health of BMW. I think we agree on the 1500/1800 sedan.

        The 700 was only in production for five years, with an average of 38,000 units built each year. If you subscribe to the theory that it was supposed to compete with the VW Beetle and its close profit margins, it’s easy to see why it lost its obvious uphill battle with VW.

        By comparison, the ’02′/Neuwe Klasse(sp) coupes enjoyed production for 11 years, with higher margins of profit each. I think the rate of production for them, including the 2002 Turbo but excluding the 1500/1800 sedans, averaged a little less than 79,000 each year, i.e. double both the length of production and the amount of cars, compared with the 700.

        BMW did the right thing by ending production of the 700 and producing the ’02′ models, and to my mind, they did it in the nick of time.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Only rear engined, air cooled Porsche prices are crazier than BMW 700 prices. Chances are that they could have gotten at least 10 times scrap rate for this. What’s ferrous scrap value for 1,200 lbs anyway?

    • 0 avatar

      This car failed to sell at auction (for barely more than scrap price) for six straight months, according to my friend who hits all the Denver car auctions.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The right people have to know about the car. I think craigslist is regularly searched for these carcases and ebay goes nuts for 700s. I’ve a friend that has been looking for a 700 project car for at least 5 years. This is a CS coupe, identifiable by the roof line. I’ve found these cars for my friend to look at that only need everything except windows and have owners that insist they’ve got standing offers of $7,000 that they find resistable.

  • avatar
    arbnpx

    When I traveled to Munich and visited the BMW museum, I stopped at the 700 they had, and admired it for a solid 5 minutes, for this is the car that saved BMW from getting acquired by Daimler-Benz in 1959. Back then, the motorcycle marketplace was drying up, and they had hedged their bets on the 507 roadster selling well in export market, which it didn’t. Only 252 BMW 507s were built, according to Wikipedia. The 700, however, sold insanely well, led to investment from the Quandt family, which led to the Neue Klasse, the 3, 5, and 7 series, and a legacy of “Freude am Fahren” or “The Ultimate Driving Machine”, depending on your locality.

    About 40 years later, BMW built the Z8, which was a modern interpretation of the 507. It sold a bit better, but was still very niche compared to the sales of their bread-and-butter 3 and 5 series.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I see a lot of Triumph Herald in the styling. Pre-Hoff kink BMW’s I wonder how many of these made it to the states.

  • avatar
    360joules

    Given the corrosion pattern, I wonder if the cause of death was fire? I never saw one of these as a kid, and in my family in late 1960′s-late 1970′s Illinois/oregon my parents and extended family had such oddballs as a Saab sonnet, many saab 99s, Volvo 1800 then a p1800 (still hurts to remember Chicago road salt killing those two beauties), fiat 124 coupe (that became mine) , mom’s Opel gt & later opel (kadet) 1900, Volvo amazon then 142, original Toyota 4 door land cruiser (50 series?) then 2 door 40, Land rover series II or III (fuzzy memories- died a lot but responded well to cheap/off beat fixes like beer can pulltabs), various BMW neueklasse coupes ( I passed on the rusted-out 2002 offered me for free for the $50 fiat 124 sport coupe in 1985), and ghastly VW squarebacks and microbuses/buses. What I remember most: the 2002 was a nice car, parts were cheap for the VWs that left us stranded often, the sonnet felt homemade and dangerous, the isseta was a perfect city car but felt like a total death trap, the opel gt didn’t drift in the lane when my mom was late for work on the freeway, and that my mom’s second husband was both an aeronautical and civil engineer with a penchant for ruining my mom’s cool cars (Wrecked 142 with illegal u-turn, tinkered-to-death both Opels, welded broken tie rod on VW bus, but wait-there’s more!!) But I never saw one of BMW 700s.

    • 0 avatar
      Hobie-wan

      I do believe Murilee was hinting at that with ‘toasty’, ‘somewhat melted’, and ‘charred hulk’. Maybe that drippy front left turn signal too. ; ]

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    Murilee, this has to be your best junk yard find to date.

  • avatar
    MrWhopee

    So, BMWs back then caught fire too, despite lacking turbos and auxiliary electric water pumps or complicated electronics… I guess you could say it’s in the blood!

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Were the front fenders really fiberglass, or is that some kind of patching job??

  • avatar
    CougarXR7

    Weirdest thing I ever encountered in a local Pick-A-Part was a BMW CS. The interior was stripped, the body shell primered, and the sawed-off roof laying on top of it.

  • avatar
    volksman

    Ah, one of those cars that’s on my bucket list if I ever happen to come into a large sum of money and can buy all of the frivilous things I desire.
    I have a deep sickness for nearly anything rear engined and aircooled.

  • avatar
    Mr Nosy

    My Dad,being a retired tool & die maker,always says heat treated steel is much stronger than regular steel….So then,I’m smelling(On top of that slight burned smell.)a new TTAC project car! Sponsored by WD-40,and a cable network without a car fix up show yet-AMC,BRAVO,or Lifetime(Don’t scoff,Lifetime is clearly seeking out more male viewers-what with that Jennifer Love Cleavage’s new show.). I didn’t see any of these ‘lil numbers for sale on ebay,however somebody is selling 10 yards of(nearly)original interior fabric for this model.C’mon,it’ll be fun!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I just toured the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville this weekend. They would love this little buggy.

  • avatar
    johannes

    I see a lot of Triumph Herald in the styling.

    That’s because both cars were designed by the same man – Michelotti – at the same time.

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Stripped of bumper , lights . etc . , front end is very reminiscent of pre- 1970 VW Type 3s . Did this car have the same front luggage compartment set -up as the Type 3 ? Even when these were new they were seldom seen , though I remember seeing them sometimes in the seventies but back then they were rare enough and unique enough to be noticed .

  • avatar
    snakebit

    I see a BMW 700, and I remember how close BMW came in the 1960′s to folding their tent.

    If this car were in showroom condition, and in a museum, it would have a narration placard explaining, this is the car that almost killed BMW. It would be next to an ’02′ BMW (1602,1802, 2002) whose placard would read, this is the car that saved BMW.

    Save for a handful of loyal 700 fans, there is nothing to me redeeming about the 700.

    CJinSD posted, “Only rear engined, air cooled Porsche prices are crazier than BMW 700 prices.” Honestly, with all respect due to CJinSD, that situation is truly ‘crazy’ if it’s true.

    And yes,BMW cars and I go back a ways. Out of high school, I worked for a dealership that was one of the first to sell BMW 1600 coupes and 2000CS coupes. In college in the early 1970′s, two of my mates and I drove 2002′s, one being a tii(not mine-sad to say), I still have my first 3-Series, a ’87 325iS, and my current DD is a 328Ci, each one better than the last, and the first one was outstanding to begin with.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      BMW sold 23,000 of their ‘big’ cars between 1952 and 1965. That includes all 501s, 502s, 503s, 2600s, 3200s, 507s, and 3200CSs. They weren’t competing on an equal footing with VW or Mercedes. The 700 was a sales-friendly version of the 600, which evolved from the Isetta. There were fewer than 35,000 600s sold over three years before the 700, and BMW was at death’s door when the 700 was released in 1959. BMW received 25,000 orders for 700s when it was revealed at the 1959 Frankfurt Motor Show, which is what kept them from being absorbed by Daimler-Benz and funded development of the 1500.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’ve not seem one of these in 30 + years , also at a Pick-A-Part but in near perfect sahpe it was at the time , sadly no one wanted it & it was crushed for scrap .

    -Nate


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