Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: BMW 1800 (Neue Klasse)

At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking this is the iconic BMW 2002 (0r 1602), as from the front, this larger 1800 “Neue Klasse” looks very similar, except for its headlights being set a bit more inboard. The larger four-door Neue Klasse cars preceded its smaller sibling by some four years, and was of course the critical product that allowed BMW to finally turn the corner and become a viable automaker.

xiao car caught this 1800 coming down the street in Germany, where of course these cars had their biggest success.

I considered myself very lucky to find one of these, in the driveway of the house my son and his GF were then looking at to buy in Portland. That was back in 2010, and my more detailed write up is here. Their sales in the US were tiny compared the huge hit the 1600/2002 quickly became after its arrival in 1966.

These first arrived in 1962, as the 1500. But it wasn’t long before buyers were clamoring for more of that delicious BMW power, and the 1800 was the result. Then came the 1800Ti and the more luxurious 2000/2000Ti. But the 1800 was by far the most popular version, as it gave the best bang for the buck. The 1500 was replaced by a 1600 in 1964 (not the two door, commonly referred to as the 1602).

The wheels on this one do not look original to me; they came with unventilated steel wheels and hubcaps.

These and the Alfa Romeo Giulia were the two hot sedans in Europe in their day, having both arrived in 1962 and offering similar levels of performance, depending on the engine.The 1800 had 90hp; the 1800Ti upped that to 110.

The Giulia came in a bewildering array of versions and engines, but the most common versions had between 90 and 100 hp too. The Giulia did have a slick 5 speed.


Related reading:

1964 BMW 1800 Neue Klasse  – The Car That Saved and Made BMW