The 700 story
On November 21st 1958, the BMW chief designer Wilhelm Hofmeister presented the adapted Coupé under the project code 107, after which the board decided to build the new BMW in this form. Meanwhile, the engine developers under von Falkenhausen had turned the 19bph horizontally opposed engine of the BMW 600 into a power unit with 700 ccm and 30HP. An initial roadworthy experimental version of the BMW 700 Coupé was completed by the middle of February 1959.
On the occasion of the 39th IAA, BMW presented the new BMW small cars to the general public, the 700 Coupé and Limousine.
Several versions of the sporty Coupé in various pastel colours and one Limousine were on display for public to admire and they could even be test driven in the grounds in front of the hall.
The 700 Coupé was not a typical BMW, but it was certainly well in line with contemporary taste. Even the obligatory "kidney grille" at the front was missing, but this would have been merely for show since the spare wheel and luggage compartment were located at the front, and not the engine. The technical components of the BMW 600 had mainly been used for this serial production Coupé. Apart from the improved engine, the chassis was also taken directly from the luckless front opening four seater. However, the car had a front axle with longitudinal members which followed the direction of the wheels, as in the Isetta, and as a particular delicacy the modern semi trailing arm rear axle features which ensured very sporty yet safe driving qualities with good suspension comfort. Improved brakes and agile rack and pinion steering contributed to the motor enjoyment provided by this BMW.
With the 700 Coupé, BMW conquered the hearts of a large number of motorists for the first time since the end of the war.