Classic cars

This barn find BMW 1800 is dying for a second chance

by Jon Benfield
30 March 2022 2 min read
This barn find BMW 1800 is dying for a second chance
Photos: eBay

A barn-find BMW 1800 saloon, kept off the road for five decades, has come to market in Northamptonshire. Priced at £12,995, the Michelotti-styled ‘Neue Klasse’ on offer is a rare right-hand-drive survivor that was placed into storage in 1972, when it was barely eight years old.

Its storage was dry and kind – albeit dusty. Trailed away as found, it was duly sent to the recent Classic Car and Restoration show at the NEC in Birmingham, where it appeared on the dusty and hay-strewn barn find display.

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Vendor, Turn Two Classics in Northampton, reports that under the grime there’s very little rust. Aside from surface corrosion on the roof, repairs will primarily be needed on the boot lid edge. It appears highly original – complete with an inner wing badge from supplying Essex dealers, Harold Webb Motors of Romford, which registered the car in August 1964.

The 38,825 miles recorded seem genuine, and the car, effects of storage aside, is much as it would have been when put away in 1972. The factory slide-on headrests are intact, there’s a period Blaupunkt Frankfurt radio, and even an old Feu Orange air freshener in-situ. There’s no word on whether the aroma has survived intact…

Turn Two got the car running with some light recommissioning: brake and clutch master cylinders were replaced, along with some brake hoses. A new battery, coil and spark plugs went in, and, after draining and refilling the fuel tank with fresh fuel, the car drove back to its premises. An old (RF60) logbook and current V5, issued on 15 February, come with the 1800, along with few old brochures.

The second in the ‘Neue Klasse’ (new class) series of BMWs, the 1800 got the company back on its feet after a rough post-war decade, providing the firm with a stout legacy. Its M10 four-cylinder engine proved an invaluable asset to the company; with a forged crankshaft and five main bearings, it lived in various forms until the late Eighties, and provided the basis for the legendary Formula One Brabham/Arrows/Benetton M12 turbo unit. [The significance of that engine is captured in detail here. Ed.]

What could await the 1800 with its new owner? Neue Klasses are popular in historic racing (in fact, a homologation special, the 1800 TI/SA, was built for track work) but seldom seen as road cars; this would serve as an excellent shell, or as the quiet star of a classic car show when fully revived. A nut-and-bolt restored left-hand-drive 1971 car made £8960 at Historics in 2017.

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