Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1967 BMW 2000CS

When I was a kid, my parents would drive me up into the Oakland hills to visit my grandmother. One house on a curve had a strange old car in the driveway, a very tired-looking white coupe with wraparound flush-mount headlamps and a BMW twin kidney grille and roundel logo. At my young age I knew old BMWs as having four round sealed-beam lights on the larger cars and two round lights on the 2002 coupes, but never had I seen one like that. Little did I know it was a New Class series coupe, a precursor to the E9 coupes I love so much today.

The 2000CS is the more sporting version of the New Class coupe, with a twin-carburetor setup on its 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine and a four-speed manual transmission only. Regular 2000Cs could be had with just one carb and an available automatic. The CS was good for 120 horsepower. Styling was quite handsome from most angles but I cannot get past the front end. It just doesn't work for me. In my opinion everything wrong with the 2000CS was fixed on the later E9 coupe, which gained a larger engine, longer fenders and a front end taken from the E3 New Six sedan. Only 11,720 New Class coupes were built, of which 9,999 were 2000CS coupes like this one.

This car is, I believe, a 1967 model and possibly a grey-market import unless the owner retrofitted Euro-spec headlamps. The US-market lights for the 2000CS would be four sealed beams poking out of a chrome surround and they look awful. The black on black color combination with BBS-style lace wheels and wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel are beautiful together and really make the most of the car. One benefit of the black color is it downplays the awkward grille design while making the rest of the car look sleek and upscale. The fender mirrors appear to be stock items that serve to set the car apart from most vehicles of the era, even among German cars. As far as the New Class coupe is concerned, this is about the finest example I could ask for. Not bad for an accidental find while driving to my friend's place.

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