Little Bitty Bimmer: 1961 BMW 700 Coupe

David FrankBy David Frank

Remember the Isetta, that funny little Italian micro car with a door on the front? They were built by several companies in several countries, including BMW in Germany. The BMW version had a BMW single cylinder, 12 HP four-stroke, 247 cc motorcycle engine. BMW’s 600 was a stretched version based on the Isetta, but had a 19 HP 582 cc flat twin as well as conventional doors and a back seat.  The 700 evolved from there with a monocoque body in a rear engine configuration and the 30 HP R67 motorcycle engine. This coupe is listed on eBay  with an opening bid of $1500, but no bids yet. It’s been sitting for decades and is a bit rusty.

The inside looks mostly complete. The gear knob is there but not the window crank or door handle. Some missing bits might be in the pile of included parts. Some new upholstery and a good cleaning would make this a nice interior.

There’s the 697 CC motorcycle 30 HP engine. It’s not seized. There was also sport version, the 700S  with a pair of Solex carburetors and higher compression that had 40 HP. The 700S was raced and was very competitive in it’s class. Because of the popularity of vintage BMW motorcycles, parts for this engine should be available. There are also sites like oldtimereile that have lots of parts for the 700.

Here’s some of the rusty under bits. This will take some work. Is that a patch panel of some kind in the middle? It doesn’t appear to be welded into place. There is likely also rust hiding in other less obvious places.

Those fins look like they could be from the same sketch book as the Triumph Herald. This little car looks solid but has a long way to go to even be a driver. The coupes are less common than the sedans. It will be interesting to see what this one sells for. These little BMWs are almost rare, certainly uncommon, but so are the folks that appreciate them. Perhaps this will be restored to stock. It would be tempting to coax a little more than 30 horsepower out of that little BMW engine.

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Comments

  1. Tony S

    OFF TOPIC
    I think I saw an ad like this on Barn Finds.

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    • Tony S

      Just kidding. It was an ad for flipping real estate. I added the Porsche lol.

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  2. scottymac

    David,
    A few corrections, please. The 600 did have a rear door, but only on the right side; the driver and front seat passenger still entered through the front of the car. As far as I know, there are very few, if any BMW boxer motorcycle parts that will interchange. I think someone once described the 700 engine as “…more robust.” Oldtimerteile told me years ago they had sold all their 700 parts, so unless they’ve uncovered a new stash? These have a central tunnel that routes the accelerator, choke, and heater cables as well as the shifter linkage to the back. The pan you mentioned covers the bottom of the tunnel, but isn’t easily removed. Many of the Triumph models and the 700 Coupe were initially styled by Michelotti of Italy, hence the family resemblance. Mine sat outside for decades, the window seals dried out and leaked, car rusted from the inside out. Check the floors and spare tire well in the front. Let the buyer be aware that BMW was on the verge of bankruptcy and hostile takeover by M-B when these cars were produced, and the quality of materials in them is not one expects of the brand today. Very few of these cars remain on the road, but every owner I’ve spoken to say they’re a hoot to drive. So I keep plugging away on mine.

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  3. Horse Radish

    Looks like a dry desert car (top of car’s paint burnt off)
    …… and then ended up in NY to pick up some rust on the bottom too…

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  4. doug6423

    Most likely this is bait for the Porsche in the background. Nothing like making a rare car visible in the background so people contact you about it instead, so you avoid the ebay fees…

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    • Adam Wright

      There is nothing I love more about the internet than it’s ability to bring out the really big brains with their clueless speculations. For the record, the Roadster in the background sold months ago and arrived in Holland last month. Also, when selling six figure cars one doesn’t get too caught up on ebay fees.
      But again, I love the internet, never a dull moment!
      Hope everyone checks this car out, it would be a lot of fun for not a lot of money, stringing two words together you don’t often hear anymore, cheap and German. There was one of these BMW’s racing at the Monterey Historics this year, if you’re good with the wrench there could be two next year!

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      • Dave Wright

        Where are the thumbs when you need them………I am sure we are related…………

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  5. John K

    A very interesting car that’s not too far away from me. Rust repair would put a big hurt on my wallet, but the remainder I’d be willing to tackle. Smart thing for me is to stay away, but…

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    • Dave Wright

      Actually, Rust repair is one of the items that can be done fairly inexpensively by an armature that wants to develop a few skills. Few parts to buy, it is an area ideal for building sweat equity in a project. It takes time so as long as you are not hiring it done it isn’t that expensive. Modern welders are easy to use and realitivley inexpensive to buy. The more work you do, the better you will get. We do a lot of it in my new shop, it is 90% labor.

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    • Adam Wright

      John, please come get it, I need the space!

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  6. Bob Hess

    That Porsche in the background is a ’59 356A Convertible D. Rare as hen’s teeth as it transitioned into the sought after B roadsters which had the same tub, wind shield, roll up windows, etc.

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  7. Michael thomas

    the two outside door handles will cost you a thousand dollars. They also fit the BMW 507 which is a 2 million dollar car and they are not reproduced. The same thing with the inside handles , they fit something else. Just the handles will cost you 3,000 and you have not even touched the car.

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    • Adam Wright

      Funny story about those. The guy I bought the car from bought it for the door handles. Apparently, the Cunningham used the same door handles, he needed some for his Cunningham so bought this car, drove it for awhile, then harvested the door handles. Jay Leno owns the Cunningham now, should I ask for my door handles back?

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  8. Bob Hess

    Correction…. That is a ’60 or ’61 B roadster. Bumpers too thin for an A. Been a long day……

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  9. Michael thomas

    that’s a cool story and worth the price of admission .I tried to buy a rough one just for the handles to try and make some replacements.

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  10. John b

    Does the 700 sedan have the same door handles?

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  11. Michael thomas

    I think so

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  12. Adam Wright

    It’s funny the cars that share parts. Did you know that a Porsche 904 uses tail lights from a SAAB Sonett. A friend clued me into this and I saved thousands, of course I had to buy a whole SAAB rear clip!

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  13. John b

    Is this ths LS 700 model?

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  14. scottymac

    According to Georg Seeliger’s book BMW KLEINWAGEN, the 700 LS became available in February 1962, so it would appear not.

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