BMW recommenced car production in 1952 with the introduction of the upmarket 501 saloon, a strange choice for an impoverished country still recovering from the ravages of war. The 501 had been announced in 1951 and first appeared with a development of the company’s famous six-cylinder engine of pre-war days, gaining a much needed performance boost, in the form of a 2.6-litre overhead-valve V8, in 1954. Subsequently enlarged to 3,168cc, this advanced all-aluminium unit was used to power the successor 502 saloon, the 503 coupé/cabriolet and the legendary Albrecht Goertz-designed 507 sports car. While the latter is universally recognised as an all-time classic, Goertz’s 503 looks ponderous in comparison, although with 140bhp on tap it was certainly no slouch, boasting a top speed of 115mph.
With BMW redirecting its efforts towards the medium-size market sector, on which its future prosperity would be founded, the days of these large, fast and luxurious motorcars were numbered. Their last glorious flowering was the 503’s replacement, the 3200 CS Coupé, for whose body the German manufacturer turned to the Italian Carrozzeria Bertone. The company’s flagship model, the 3200 CS debuted at the 1961 Frankfurt Motor Show and was one of the first BMWs to be equipped with front disc brakes. The V8 engine now produced 160bhp, which was good enough for a top speed of 125mph. Approximately 540 examples of the 3200 CS Coupé were produced between 1961 and 1965, and today this rare model remains one of BMW’s more under-appreciated classics.
This left-hand drive, manual transmission BMW 3200 CS was first registered in 1964 and has had a well-documented history from new. Mechanically in very good order it was restored in the 1990’s. Rarely do these beautiful Bertone bodied cars come for sale on the open market. Delightfully presented it certainly appeals to the BMW cognoscenti.