Bonn Bimmer: 1964 BMW 700 Luxus LS

050616 Barn Finds - 1964 BMW 700 - 1

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This little game-changer is in Königswinter, Germany, about 20 minutes southeast of Bonn. This 1964 BMW 700 Luxus LS is on eBay with a price of €9,900 ($11,289) and it looks to be mostly original. It originally came from Belgium so it’s actually a Belgium to Bonn Bimmer.

050616 Barn Finds - 1964 BMW 700 - 3

The front 3/4 view looks a lot like a VW Type-3 notchback to me, but the rear doesn’t look like one at all. It almost looks like a mini-pickup with a tonneau cover from this photo. The 700 is partially possible for saving the BMW brand in the early-1960s after BMW picked up 25,000 orders for them at the 1959 Frankfurt Motor Show. Harald Quandt, who’s family owns about 45% of BMW, is said to have given his support to the company in no small part due to the success of the 700, right as BMW was in the midst of a threat to sell out to Daimler-Benz.

050616 Barn Finds - 1964 BMW 700 - 2

This is a Lexus LS version, a stretched version of the regular sedan/saloon and there’s “no rust”, according to the seller. BMW sold more than 188,000 of the 700 cars in coupe, sedan, or convertible form. I’m a huge fan of these little cars, although compared to an Isetta or a 600, they were “big” cars, relatively. And, they looked like regular automobiles, not microcars. Of course, the engine is in the rear and the trunk/boot is in the front.

050616 Barn Finds - 1964 BMW 700 - 4

This can’t be the original seat material or pattern, unfortunately. but I guess that could be changed back to something more like what would have been original spec. This is a 4-speed manual car, but a Saxomat semi-automatic was available in late-1960. Manual shifting is usually preferred in these small cars, especially with this small amount of power on board.

050616 Barn Finds - 1964 BMW 700 - 5

Here’s where the scoot comes from, although it’s not a lot of scoot. This is a 700cc (697) twin-cylinder boxer engine with 32 hp! Believe it or not, that’s an upgrade from what the pre-1962 cars had, but less than the convertible, which received the 40 hp “Sport” engine with twin-carburetors. That would be the one to have, but you most likely won’t find a convertible in this condition for anywhere near two or three times this price. I would love to have one of these cars, are there any other tiny-BMW fans out there?

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  1. wagon master

    Omg, I’ve got to have one Scotty! Would it not be for my resistance to my perceived bureaucratic navigation in the foreign maize of securing payment, transport, ocean carriage and import hassles, I would own it already! Great find!!!

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    • Brakeservo

      Relatively easy to arrange shipping and probably not nearly as expensive as you expect if you do it right. If the seller will bring it to the port, you’re halfway there.

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    • corn362

      It is not that difficult to ship a car like this to the US. First look at the RO-RO (Roll-on—Roll-off) ships on youtube and you get some idea. 6500 car on a boat! The car should have a 1/4 tank of gas and be driveable. This is much cheaper than a container shipment. There are weekly shipments from f.e. Zeebrugge, Belgium.
      I have brought over this way an Alfa GTV a couple of years ago. LEVACO, a broker in Antwerp, arranged pickup in Holland, all paperwork and boat transfer. In Elisabeth NJ, I picked up the car without any hassle and drove her home. Hope this helps somebody. This is a great little BMW and should get looks of attention here in the States.

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  2. grant

    Never seen one of these before. Thanks Scotty.

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  3. derrylw

    I owned a 1960 BMW 700 SC as my first car! Unfortunately with Canadian winters it didn’t last long before rust took it’s toll. This is the first one I have seen high school! Thanks for the memories!

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  4. Grr

    I wonder how big a BMW flat twin motorcycle engine would fit back there. What did the racing versions have?

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  5. DolphinMember

    These 700s are special cars for lots of reasons in addition to helping save BMW from being bought and picked clean by Mercedes Benz. That did not happen because the Quandt family stepped in to help keep BMW independent.

    Thankfully BMW remained independent, otherwise we would have had more bloated sedans for captains of industry instead of the M3, the M5, and now the M2, M4, Z series, and all those great handling small sedans powered by what were sometimes detuned race engines.

    Altho it doesn’t seem likely, famous German race car driver Hans Stuck (the elder) won the German hillclimb championship in a 700 in the 1960s. The 700 also won other championships over the master builder of tiny supercars, Abarth. There was also a real race version with a streamlined body called the 700 RS. The 700 racecars helped groom various drivers who became famous after moving up a few classes.

    I’m not sure who designed the VW Type 3, but if it was Michelotti then there is more than a visual similarity that Scotty noted, because Michelotti did the initial design drawings for the 700, which must have looked pretty good to lots of people who couldn’t afford a Mercedes but could afford a 700 back decades ago.

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  6. Chris K

    I had the pleasure of owning one of the (3)(I believe) full race versions that were imported to complete at Daytona in (I believe) 1960. I purchased the car and raced it in one SCCA driving school at Salina KS in 1968. Engine failed and I eventually sold car here in the Kansas City area to a fellow who planned to convert it to hand controls for a person with special needs. Fun little car – at that time it was a D Sedan in SCCA competition and was outclassed by the 850 Fiats.

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  7. Matt Tritt

    These were quite plentiful in Germany in the mid-60’s. They were in the same class as the NSU Prinz, VW bug, Fiat 850 coupe and the DKW Junior. I’m sure there were others, but those were the “sporty” crowd at the time. The BMW was really nimble and quick, but to my eye, they were a bit like a mini-American car, as was the Deeke. Those were fun days for me!

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  8. Paul B

    I would love one of these but will never own one; not enough lives or time available. I admired them from the time they came out. The buyer of this one will have an agile, fun, handsome survivor.

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  9. Geoffrey Stein

    I had a used BMW 700 CS 1963-1964 in Germany. I wanted something faster than a VW Beetle. It was faster but an evil handling machine with the engine hanging out in the back. At the first fast turn the rear end wound up leading down the road.

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  10. Bullethead

    Delightful, nimble little cars, though the Luxus (not Lexus) are a little frumpy compared to the styling of Sport Coupe, Cabrio or Coupe LS models. Of course, sedans were designed to fit four adults so the roofline is boxy. The seat material on this one looks correct, or close enough… sometimes they have button tufts, sometimes not, and simulated leather (vinyl) or velour were available.

    The engine is based on the R50 but isn’t the same… you can’t swap a BMW Bike engine without reversing rotation.

    The 700RS specials mentioned earlier are what Stuck Sr. drove to win the Bergmeister, just two were built. Bimmer magazine featured one a few years ago, here’s a link to a recent story:

    Their engines made about 80 HP, and featured two tiny shaft-driven overhead cams per cylinder, operating one valve each. One of those cars is in the museum, the other in private hands here in the USA. There were about 40 factory 700 Sport racers, but hundreds more were flogged by privateers like Jackie Ickx and could be tuned up to 60-70 HP. Willi Martini probably did more with the 700 platform than anyone else, Google him and you’ll be amazed at his efforts.

    I own a ’63 barn-find cabrio with 24,000 miles, and a ’62 factory Sport that someday will get a deserved restoration and return to the track. They are a blast and like driving any old Porsche fast, never lift in a corner. Das Whippen.

    Like 0

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Barn Finds