Auctions and Brokerage
The delightful 1959 BMW 600 offered here is a very fine example of these remarkable and highly collectible microcars. Retaining matching numbers and benefitting from caring single-family ownership – lasting over two decades, beginning in 1990 – this outstanding example clearly continues to benefit from a restoration completed during 1996, thorough mechanical servicing, and excellent care. Consistent with his usual practice, the long-term owner played an active role in the vehicle’s restoration, enthusiastically seeking out parts from Germany, the UK, and the US. Additionally, he corresponded with marque experts, restorers, and parts and service suppliers to ensure the 600 was authentically and properly restored.
During the restoration, the body was removed from the chassis, the vehicle was completely dismantled, and both were stripped and refinished. Among the many items addressed was the re-enameling of the vehicle’s demanding and difficult-to-restore emblems; installation of a new interior; professional rebuilding of the engine and transmission; and the application of the innumerable new and restored detail items that ensure a proper, functioning classic vehicle, separating a truly caring, high-quality restoration from lesser works. Once completed, the 600 helped anchor an impressive classic BMW collection. It is now offered for sale nicely accompanied by a dossier containing invoices, work orders, and a wealth of correspondence demonstrating the care lavished on it over the past 23 years.
Despite its disarming simplicity and compact dimensions, the BMW 600 was in fact, and remains today, quite a sophisticated automobile. It even pioneered BMW’s use of the semi-trailing arm rear-suspension design that eventually appeared on the “Neue Klasse” 2002 model and continued through the more recent Z3 Roadster of the 1990s, contributing to their stellar handling characteristics. To this day, the 600 remains a highly engaging and attractive model with room for four and plenty of BMW style to boot.
The BMW 600
BMW’s Isetta 300 debuted at an ideal time; not only did it help propel German reconstruction and become a fashionable cult car, the Iso-derived “rolling egg” also helped sustain BMW’s financial strength, thereby avoiding a potential Mercedes- Benz takeover. After several years of successful sales on both sides of the Atlantic, BMW sought to bridge the wide gap between the diminutive Isetta and its much larger and more costly luxury models with a new Isetta-based interim model while the more conventional-appearing 700, already under development, was readied for production.
Though quite similar in layout and retaining a front-opening door, the 600 was considerably larger than the Isetta 300 with seating for up to four and featuring an additional side door for the rear passengers. Its air-cooled 582 cc two-cylinder engine was derived from that of BMW’s motorcycle line and provided much better performance with a factory-quoted 64 mph top speed. Produced briefly from fall 1957 to 1959, the 600’s strong initial sales were fostered by economy-minded consumers, fuel shortages, and Middle Eastern instability.