The coolest cars and motorcycles at the BMW Classic Center in Munich

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Marc Vaughn

While attending the IAA Mobility fair in Munich, we had the chance to see the BMW Group Classic Center not far from the BMW headquarters. This is where real BMW technicians lovingly restore the brand’s great classics.

“The BMW Group Classic Center ensures that your vehicle is in the best hands,” the motto reads. “Not only are our employees passionate about classics and modern classics, but they are also recognized experts in the fields of complete restoration, repair and maintenance of vehicles. We take meticulous care in all aspects of our preservation and maintenance work, and the emphasis is always on originality and the perfect fit, because unique classics deserve unique service.

Some of them are even for sale. Or, you can ask them to find the car or bike you are looking for and have them buy it for you. Then they will be happy to restore it to BMW factory specs. The Classic Center also certifies the authenticity of the cars.

The best cars they get are put in a museum in the field. You never know what’s going to be in the store on any given day. This is the luck of the draw. That day there were three white M1s on elevators in the store and a 507 with its engine idling in the other store. The museum is located in a third building. It has all the BMWs you’ve ever loved.

Normally, instead of cars and coffee, they have “Wheels und Weisswürscht”, but this event is suspended pending the end of the pandemic. You can still take a tour of the museum part of the Classic Center, and you can even get one in English. You need to buy your ticket at the BMW Welt in front of the famous four-cylinder building next to the Olympiastadion.

In case you can’t make it to Munich on your own, here are our 10 favorite cars and bikes from the museum and workshops.

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1

BMW 507

In Jackie Jouret’s founding book, BMW in the 20th century, the author says of the 507, “(Albrecht von) Goertz’s design is obviously magnificent, and the car represented the peak of BMW’s capabilities in the 1950s.” He could hit 137 mph on the highway, and he was said to be quite sporty on a road course. The only problem was that his sticker price exceeded $ 10,000, putting it beyond the reach of most buyers in post-war Europe and even the United States. Thus, only 254 were built. Most now sell at seven figures, with F1 champion and motorcycle champion John Surtees’ staff 507 worth $ 5 million. You should have bought one when you had the chance!

2

Bmw r32

The 1925 BMW R32 motorcycle helped put BMW on the map as a manufacturer of motorcycles. Competed across Europe by the great Rudolf Schleicher, the model was continuously improved over its lifetime, with better cylinder heads and more horsepower. This led to the R37, R47 and R57, all successful racers. Look at that front fork!

3

BMW 328

Schleicher was instrumental in developing the engine for what many consider BMW’s greatest sports car, the 328. The 80-horsepower four saw Ernest Henne claim victory on his Nürburgring debut in 1936 in a race for cars under 2,000 cc. He beat an Alfa 6C by two and a half minutes. The car won hundreds of races until World War II put an end to motorsports around the world.

4

BMW 2002 GT4 Frua

This 1970 2002 GT4 Frua is one of only two ever made, both having debuted at the 1970 Paris Motor Show. Designed by Pietro Frua, the car was based on the hugely popular and iconic 2002, with a stretched and shaped bodywork in the fastback you see here. Powered by a 120-horsepower inline-four, it looks like it would be fun to drive, besides being stylish. Unfortunately, no place was offered to us.

5

Bmw 1600 gt

This cute and beautiful fastback has all the lines of a classic. There was no ID tag on it but I’ll say it’s a BMW 1600 GT, which would be the same as the Glas 1600 GT. There was also a Glas 1300 and 1700 GT. Either way, it sounds like fun. Hans Glas GmbH was located in Dingolfing, where BMW had a factory (still today). BMW bought Glas and put their 1600 engine in the fastback.

6

BMW RS54

The 1954 RS54 was a factory racing bike with a 45hp 500cc boxer-twin and shaft drive. He has won numerous victories in Tourist Trophies and even sidecar races. Only 24 of them were made.

7

BMW Isetta 250 Export

The 1959 Isetta 250 Export came with a 250cc single-cylinder engine that produced 12 hp, enough to move you and a lucky passenger through all of post-war Europe in style. The orange color is a plus. These are so cute that a modern company has appropriated the design and brought it back as an EV.

8

BMW 700RS

While the 700 Coupe and Convertible was a popular car at the time, selling almost 200,000 units when BMW really needed a big seller, there were only a few of those 1959 700RS ever made. Doesn’t he look cool? This one was raced in Europe in 1960 and ’61. One of them was raced by Hans Stuck – the first Hans Stuck – in hill climbs all over the continent. It was based on the 700 coupe but had a lightweight tubular frame and a mid-rear mounted engine. Said the director of the BMW Classic Center, which drove it, “He’s a beast!”

9

BMW 2002 Wagon

Imagine having this 1969 2002 wagon as a parts transporter for your workshop. If your store is the BMW Classic Center, that would be perfect.

ten

Victoria KR1

Before BMW made its own motorcycles, it made engines for other manufacturers. This 1921 Victoria KR1 was the first motorcycle to benefit from BMW power. In this case, it is a BMW M2-B15 flat-twin. Look at the transmission chain, it’s leather. On the other side is an exposed “baloney slicer” flywheel. The 494cc flat-twin made six and a half horsepower, good for 48 mph.

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