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BMW’s Italio-German concept cars

Beautiful concept cars

From the mid 1960s – mid 70s BMW commissioned a series of beautiful concept cars, penned by contemporary Italian designers of the age.

BMW’s automotive design direction

These highly stylised cars formed the foundation the BMW’s automotive design direction for the next several decades.

Italian flair & carisma

The concepts exude unmistakable Italian flair & carisma, along with the aggressive futurism that was characteristic of that era.

60 years since these cars were first shown

Looking back over the 60 years since these cars were first shown, it can be easily seen how the stylistic themes have served BMW very well. These ideas, combined with bullet-proof German engineering helped to establish BMW as the world-leading marque it is now.

BMW’s future ‘design-DNA’

Eventually BMW decided to go it alone, they took the body of work presented by the Italian styling houses and diluted the concepts with businesslike German efficiency. Even so, many recognisable visual elements (like the now ubiquitous front-end “angry face”) have been comprehensively adopted by BMW across subsequent generations and can still be detected in the ‘design-DNA’ of it’s range today!

1967 BMW/Glas 3000 V8 Fastbackcoupé

In the 1960s, Italian automotive designer Pietro Frua was recognised as one of the worlds greatest. He produced designs for Maserati and the small German car company, Glas. In 1966 BMW took over Glas and continued to manufacture some of the Frua-designed models, re-badged as BMWs. During this period, the 3000 V8 Fastbackcoupé was shown at Frankfurt Motor Show, it was undoubtedly a major influence in the styling of the iconic BMW e9 coupé, which was produced from 1968-75.

1968 BMW 2000 ti Coupé by Frua

A very similar model to the Fastbackcoupé designed by Frua and powered by the 1,990 cc engine from BMW’s 2000SA. The car was conceived as a Monteverdi 2000 GTI for the March 1968 Geneva Motor Show. A disagreement between Monteverdi & BMW meant that the car was never shown at Geneva, and went on to be re-badged as a BMW at Paris Motor Show in October ’68.

1969 BMW 2002 GT4 (by Frua)

Gorgeous Frua-designed coupe built on BMW’s 2002 floorplan, beautifully sculpted to be longer, lower and wider. Fitted with the “Ti” engine & running gear  as well as various ancillary elements from the 2800cs coupe. The rear lights where from Alfa Romeo’s 1750 Berlina Mk1 and wheels courtesy of Campagnolo… stunning!

1969 BMW Spicup by Bertone

Presented at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show, the “Spicup” name was an combination of “spider” and “coupe”. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the concept was a futuristic take on the BMW 507 spider from 1950’s. The front headlamp treatment is very reminiscent of Alfa Romeo Montreal by Marcello Gandini (1967).

1970 BMW 2200 ti Garmisch (Bertone)

In 1970 Bertone Design Centre produced this elegant yet sober mid-range 4 seater realisation for BMW. Visually, this design is quite clearly the forerunner of BMW’s E12 mid-size 5-series saloon (1972-1981) – the original backbone model of the BMW range. It’s styling cues can also be read in the evolution of the next in the series – BMW’s E21 compact 3-series saloon, (1975–1983).

BMW 3.0 Si Coupé by Frua (1975)

What can be said here… could this car have been the front-end inspiration for BMW’s 8-series coupe of 1989?

1976 BMW 528 GT Coupe by Frua

Hmmm. The plot thickens. This Frua coupe concept of 1976 was based on the BMW’s E12 5-series platform… indeed so was the E24 6-series coupe, also launched in 1976. 

BMW Italio-German concept car gallery

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Invaluable source of information about BMW concept cars, post war onwards:

Excellent BMW 02 information resource – including 2002 GT4:

Comprehensive car-styling blog, including info on the BMW “Spicup” by Bertone:

Retro dream cars. Classic prototypes. Blog featuring BMW 2200ti:

#BMW #German #Italian #AutomotiveDesign #ConceptCars #Frua #Bertone

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