By the end of the 1950s, BMW was in financial shambles. The German market had turned away from motorcycles, and the marque’s cars were struggling to turn a profit. The 501, 503, and 507 were simply too expensive, and the Isetta – BMW’s “economy car” of the day – didn’t have the margins to support the company. To bring the company back into the black would take a “hail Mary” of sorts, and luckily for us, the BMW Neue Klasse was born.
Amongst the BMW history gurus, it’s well-established that BMW’s Neue Klasse (New Class) saved the brand following World War II, and established its still-defining brand identity as a manufacturer of sports sedans. While the ’02 lineup is inarguably a crowd favorite, it’s the four-door counterparts that deserve the initial credit.
I found myself tracing the brand new Kugelfischer injection lines as they hovered over the infamous red Alpina velocity stacks. Engines like these don’t come around often; their parts are rare; their components, valuable. Each nut and bolt is torqued to specs chosen decades ago, proven correct by an era of winning races, and ensured by time. To encounter an engine like this is, in the simplest of terms, truly special to any BMW fanatic.