Of all the historic BMW’s you can own, this is the one you really should want in your collection. Why? Well, because it is the first BMW of the modern generation. And because it is the BMW that actually saved the brand. But most of all because it is the very first BMW to have the famous ‘Hofmeister Knick’.
BMW has been searching for its identity as an automaker for years. The firm started building cars in Eisenach, in their first years they turned to building Dixi-cars under license and later constructed airplane engines.
During the thirties they did well, producing luxury sportscars but after Worldwar II, when they had lost their main factory in Eisenach, things became difficult for the Bayerische Motoren Werke.
They tried building luxury cars again, but the 508 convertible was too expensive for the market and the 502/503 ‘Barockengel’ was too eccentric.
BMW almost lost it, and in their misery, they started production of a little Italian scootacar, the Isetta. The Germans managed to make it a success, and after the three-wheeled Isetta came the four wheeled 600 and on top of that the charming Michelotti-designed BMW 700.
But on small cars, you can only make small money, and in the early ‘60’s things looked again pretty grim for BMW. Basically, BMW’s small cars were too small and their big cars were too big. They needed something in between.
Then they launched the new BMW 1500, the legendary Neue Klasse, or New Class. The looks of this car were a sensation in 1961. Chief of design Wilhelm Hofmeister gave his name to the kink in the C-pillar, which is caused by widening the base of that pillar.
This ‘kink’ in German is ‘Knick’, but don’t forget that in German the K is pronounced. So it’s not Hofmeister’s Nick, understand?
Of course, BMW was not the first automaker to use a shape like this, but they did make it their trademark, using the ‘knick’ on practically every model they make until this very day. In fact, the Hoffmeister-kink together with the kidney-shaped grilles is the essence of a BMW.
This fiveseater upper middleclass sedan (or compact executive sedan, whichever way you want to look at it) turned out to be an instant success. The car was introduced in 1961 but sales did not start until the autumn of 1962. The BMW 1500 was the first one, but soon there was an 1800 and a more sporty 1800 Ti.
In 1966 the BMW 2000 was introduced as the top-of-the-line model.
To distinguish it from the other models it had wider rear lights and rectangular headlights instead of the round headlights of the 1500 and 1800 models. The last car of this generation was built in 1972, it was followed by the BMW 5-series a year later.
This light-yellow BMW 2000 is on offer in Portugal.
It has done less than 90.000 kilometers and is, according to the seller, in original condition. The website does not give very much extra information, but the foto’s show the Neue Klasse in all it’s glory. Seller wants EUR 11,000 for it. Not a bad price, for such an early example of Hofmeister’s Knick.