Author Topic: BMW 700  (Read 2999 times)

Mr Rhubarb

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BMW 700
« on: July 19, 2017, 08:28:15 PM »
Hi Guys, new to this forum but have been recommended to RUM as I have a 1964 BMW 700 mechanically and bodily restored just needs the interior completing for which I have all the necessary parts to complete except for the carpet and possibly door rubbers which can be purchased from Woollies Trim.  Just wondered if anyone can advise me of the best place to advertise it as you probably know this is a very rare and unusual BMW that during the 50s/60s saved BMW from collapsing and possibly being taken over by Mercedees.

Bob Purton

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 12:15:36 PM »
I thought it was the Isetta that saved the company although BMW would never admit that..

Rusty Chrome (Malcolm Parker)

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 07:20:04 PM »
You're wrong Bob. The Isetta was bought in to fill a niche which as we all know wasn't really there. The company had the Isetta and a range of luxury cars that weren't selling and nothing inbetween and was losing money hand over fist. The 700 was a hit from the start and sold more in 5 years (188,000+) than the Isetta managed in 7 (161,000). I'd guess BMW probably made more money on each 700 they sold as well.
Malcolm
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Bob Purton

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 09:52:13 AM »
I must have been misinformed by over zealous Isetta enthusiasts.
Thinking back to my youth though, Isetta's were everywhere but I had never seen a 700 until getting into microcars decades later. Is it a case of them not selling well in Britain but doing well elsewhere?

Bob Purton

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 10:05:41 AM »
Just found the answer to my own question.  "Although the 700 was popular with the British motoring press, it was always going to be rare here. Today, surviving UK 700s barely make it into double figures."

Mr Rhubarb

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 09:40:29 PM »
Hi Bob for full BMW700 info log onto conceptcarz

Bob Purton

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 08:29:48 PM »
Thanks Mr Rhubarb.
Just been discussing it at length on classic microcars FB group. Some contributors are still of the opinion that the Isetta  kept things going long enough for the 700 to be developed. It sounds to me like the 700 made the company a much better profit though.

Mr Rhubarb

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2017, 08:43:43 PM »
Hi Bob, The Isetta definitely was a big help to BMW but unfortunately the general public really needed a modern saloon car to compete with  the mini and the Imp etc as the 60's progressed. Regards Mr rhubarb

DaveMiller

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 01:23:47 PM »
Careful ... A BMW 700 is not a BMW 7-Series.  (Google a pic of a BMW 700 and you'll see what I mean.)  Good luck with the 7-series, though.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 02:17:33 PM by DaveMiller »

Boxertwin

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2021, 12:20:41 PM »
Intrerresting start, with a bit of mis-information here and there. As an owner of an active 700CS perhaps I can add to the thread.

The BMW 700 was designed by Micholotti (who designed the Triumph Herald) and put on sale and shown at the 1959 Geneva Motor Show. It was an immediate success. the big question is 'WHY'? 

So to history: - As the standard Isetta 250/300 production progressed in post war Germany, the company realised it needed a replacement and a more family friendly car with more space than the standard Isetta. BMW therefore designed and put into production in I believe 1957, the BMW 600, as a a 'super' Isetta. This used a modified version of the BMW R69 Motorcycle engine which had been developed to power a portable generator for the German/Nato Forces. The 600 used a 'Ladder' type Chassis, a custom transaxle similar to a small VW unit, an a beefed up version of the Isettas 'dubonnet' front suspension. However, it retained the Isetta's front opening door, but added a side door for access to properly sized rear seats.
The 600 was not particularly well received by the public since they were unsure if the car was a 'proper' car or a 'Bubble Car'. Sales were slow and I believe that only about 22000 were built in about 2 years of production.
At this point BMW's classic, and expensive, coach built cars were significanly out of date, and were no longer selling well to the public. The Isetta - a Design Liscenced from ISO, although built in considerable numbers, was really an 'at cost' sale and returned no profit to the company for re-investment in either plant or designs. Thus by the late 50's Glas (manufacturers of the Goggomobil) were approached to see if they were interested in taking over BMW! (consider David taking over Golliath!). Glas declined, but by the mid 60 (I believe 1964) were themselves taken over by BMW, when Glas failed to increase sales of their larger car designes, and Herr Glas the founder decied it was time to retire. (an interesting note here is that one of the quintesential BMW Classics (pre-New Classe) was the the BMW 1500/1600 Coupe - actually a Glas Design!).
So, at the dawn of 1959, BMW was near backrupt. Its classic designs would not sell, Isetta sales were starting to decline, and the BMW 600 had failed to capture the Public imagination. Action was needed! At this point the main Viennese agent of BMW took the chassis and running gear of a '600' to Michilotti, with the instruction 'what can you design with this'! The result was the short wheelbase BMW 700 Coupe and Saloon. The coupe actually being the first to market at the end of 1959. To be fair, the separate Chassis/Body Desing of the original Michilotti prototypes were scrapped during tooling (actually paid for by the Bavarian government!), and the BMW became the first Monocoque desing that BMW produced. The standard 600 engine was 'stretched and tuned' to give 32bhp, and the cars flew off the shelves. However, to be honest, very little of the 600 was carried forward to the 700, The Engine and Transaxle were developments from the 600, the front suspension was much more massive and stronger than the 600, the steering was by 'rack and pinion', and essentially everything else was new!
The cars were lightweights which helped with material supply, and weighed in at only 550kgs. The Coupe establishing itself as the German 'Club Racer' by the end of 1960, and available in CS guise with a tuned 42 BH twin carb engine - The CS cars handled well and were easily on a par with the much heavier BMC Mini Cooper and Cooper S. If you wanted to go racing the company would even supply a 'Sport' version to special order, which, depending on the depth of your pockets could be supplied with tuned engines, stealing form the R69 parts bin, with reputedly up to 65 BHP.
By 1962 the short wheelbase cars were felt to be a bit too small and the long wheelbase Saloons and Coupes were produced by adding about 6 inches or so to the monocoque in front of the rear swinging arms, and a further 4 inches to the rear, giving more room within the engine bay. (rumour has it it that this was to allow for a 'twin 700' i.e. a 1.4 litre boxer 4 to be fitted to the cars, and it is believed that one was actually built, but was so fast in the light weight 700 body that it outperformed the prototype 'New Classe' cars, and was hence shelved).

So, the history, as I understand it, is that by the end of the 50's BMW was more or less bankrupt, the Isetta had only provided minimal cash flow to keep the BMW Car Company alive. The coming and popularity of the BMW 700 in all of it's guises stabilised production at BMW, and provided both cash flow and some profit - reinvested in the designs of the 'New Classe' cars of the mid 60s, which lead to the BMW company we know today.

Alexander1981

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Re: BMW 700
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2021, 05:51:55 PM »
Wow! Not that's incredible someone owns this rare BMW 700. Just as I like Isetta, the 700 is something special and haven't seen for many years already. It seems pretty much forgotten from what I can tell. I had a chance to be a passenger in this car and I'd love to be in it again.

Is there any chance you could post some pictures of your 700? I think everyone would like to see it!  ;D