BMW has long been associated with sporty cars and even its well known advertising line – The Ultimate Driving Machine – emphasises that. To give the young generation an idea of how sporty BMWs were like in its earlier years, Regas Premium Auto is displaying a BMW 700 Coupe at the new Heritage section in its flagship dealership in Kuching, Sarawak.
Powered by a motorcycle engine
The BMW 700 is a legacy of Wolfgang Denzel, an automotive engineer and a distributor for the brand in Austria. Denzel worked with Italian auto-stylist and designer Giovanni Michelotti to design the vehicle concept based on the chassis of a BMW 600 at the time. Carrying over the proven chassis and suspension from the BMW 600, the all-synchromesh 4-speed transmission, as well as the bevel gear differential were also carried over, along with the flat-twin power unit – originally used on BMW motorcycles – that was increased in size from 600 to 700 cc. The concept model was approved in October 1958, which led BMW to produce both a Coupe and a Sedan variant.
On June 9, 1959, BMW revealed the new 700 Coupe in Munich, Germany. It drew attention from enthusiasts for maintaining the top speed and acceleration as its legendary predecessor – and this was even with more space but not extra weight.
The following year, BMW delivered more than 35,000 vehicles, with the BMW 700 accounting for some 58% of the brand’s overall revenues. Deliveries of the model totalled 190,000 units by 1965. It was in production for just 6 years but in the years that followed, it would become an iconic model in BMW’s history.
A model that saved BMW
“The BMW 700 Coupe is a timeless classic from the history of the BMW Group, and we are thrilled to be able to showcase this remarkable vehicle here at Regas Premium Auto. Interestingly, the BMW 700 Coupé features the brand’s first monocoque construction, and it helped drive BMW out from near bankruptcy in 1959. In turn, this model created a legacy in the automotive world for small, sporty premium vehicles that continues to be well-loved by many BMW enthusiasts, even 50 years after it was last in production,” said Gavin Tay, Dealer Principal at Regas Premium Auto Kuching.
Kuching, incidentally, is where the first BMW (the first generation of the 3-Series) was assembled in Malaysia in the early 1980s. It was assembled at the Sarawak Motor Industries factory until 1988 when the distributor and importer changed to Sime Darby, which established Auto Bavaria to handle the German brand. The BMW 700 Coupe on display, if not imported privately, was probably sold by Asia Motors, which handled BMW at that time before taking on Peugeot and Mazda.