Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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The BMW 700: The car that saved the company at the end of the 50

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was rapidly approaching the final collapse and closure was imminent, because although motorcycle production reached a record in 1952 in the following years the numbers fell dramatically.

was ending the 50's and BMW, one of the most prestigious car brands in West Germany, was undergoing a deep crisis, caused by significant economic losses and a significant decline in sales. To this point came the problem, which was raised as a possibility to transfer to Daimler-Benz AG, maker of Mercedes Benz and historical rival of the Bavarians.
Without But when the sale seemed to be sealed, a group of shareholders opposed, hoping that a new model focused on the middle class could get them out of the fund. That car was the 700 Coupé, a car that was presented on June 9, 1959 in the town of Feldafing, near Munich.
Trying hard to find a solution, Development Division first tried for economic reasons, to build a conventional small car using as many possible parts of the BMW 600. The wheelbase was extended to 1900 mm by adding additional sections forward and back and front seats were taken back to provide convenient access to the car from behind the wheel arches. But it soon became evident that without a further extension of the wheelbase, the rear-seat space was very narrow. At the same time, the rapid increase in weight due to the longer wheelbase was another problem, along with poor seating configuration.
The attempt to modify the chassis and structure of the BMW 600 responding to modern requirements and it was impossible - or at least not without compromising other aspects. So BMW decided to find a radical solution to reconfigure the entire design and body structure.
Despite of this decision, engineers would not completely rule out the parts and components 600. So they decided to change the front axle with longitudinal wishbones and move the concept to a new car.
also took the rear suspension, with its modified wishbones at an angle slightly higher, supported the direction of the car as a function of the acceleration curves and counter any tendency to oversteer.
In July 1958, Wolfgang Denzel, an automotive engineer and importer of BMW in Vienna, proudly presented its new model designed by Michelotti in Starnber south of Munich. In October 1958, it was decided in favor of this conceptual model that allowed BMW to create both a coupe and a sedan at the level of mass production as a development 'in house'.
The reason to do so in the company was that the prototype, although very attractive, with excellent handling qualities, would not have been economical in its production. Thus, working hard on all the details, the designers created the BMW 700, a dynamic small car and had nothing to do with the design of BMW before.
In its design, the BMW 700 was a trapezoidal line of the roof structure and the basic body car opposite each other to form two counter-bodies. The concept came from the United States as a more streamlined interpretation of the former bridge structure and refined by the Italian car designers. Under the guidance of Wilhelm Hofmeister, the designers made this sketch in two models, a two-door sedan and a coupe.
Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, the BMW 700 marked distance from its conception, because although it was based in the 600 (which in turn stemmed from the Isetta) was distinguished by its monocoque structure, that is, including a piece with the chassis body. It was the first BMW to have this structure.
This proved that with a monocoque body could save about 30 kilos in weight, lower the entire order of 60-70 mm and streamline the production process with appropriate cost benefits. Boasting
these dimensions, the BMW 700 had grown up and overcome the kind of small cars that still dominated the market at that time and offered a relatively high standard of freedom to offer more space. The designers and engineers were particularly proud of the light technology used uniformly reduced the dry weight less than 600 kgs., Although the total length of vehicle 3,540 mm, thereby providing features that are required for good performance in acceleration and climbing.
Compared with the BMW 600, extending the wheelbase by 25 percent came with an increase in Weighing only 1.45%. And despite its low height of only 1,270 mm, the Coupé offering a reasonable space for the head as a good measure of the doors, with 93 cm wide offering convenient access, unusual for a car of this class .
Mechanically had a 697 cc engine coupled with a four-speed manual gearbox that developed 30 horsepower. According to the German mark, the block, which was taken from the BMW R67 motorcycle, "offered the same top speed and acceleration than its predecessor as six cylinders and two liters of capacity."
precisely, the acceleration was one of the things that stood out in the car, he was able to reach 100 km / h in 30 seconds with a top speed of 125 km / h, an excellent figure for size and for vehicles of the time.
Other features that were preserved were the BMW 600 four-speed transmission and bevel gear.
With this background, the BMW 700 immediately became one of the most anticipated models of the 1959 Frankfurt Motor Show, where the coupe version was added a four-door variant. then would add a cabriolet.
When it began selling in 1959, success was immediate, to the extent that some people had to wait several months for your model. In its first year enrolled more than 35 thousand units, which became the 58% of company revenues.
The second generation car appeared in 1962. The most significant change was in the more interior space for passengers, it rose 320 mm long, while the wheelbase grew by 160 mm.
The first to adopt these changes were the sedan, receiving LS and LS designations De Luxe. In 1964 he joined the Coupé.
The BMW 700 was the direct competitor, initially cheaper, VW Beetle and, due to high demand, customers had to wait several months before receiving the car. BMW sold more than 35 thousand units in 1960, representing about 58 percent of total company revenues for 1965 and had already sold 190 000 units.
Despite the great consumer acceptance since it began to assemble in other countries Belgium, Italy and Argentina, the 700 was discontinued in that year. With the economic boost the company recovered and walked away from the small car segment. That is, until 2001, when the brand was reinserted in this segment with the new Mini.

F eltiempo.com


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