Noted for its space efficient design

BMW 600 - 1959

The  

BMW  

600  

is  

a  

four-seat  

microcar  

produced  

by  

BMW

from  

mid-1957  

until  

November  

1959.  

Partially  

based  

on

the  

BMW  

Isetta  

two-seater,  

it  

was  

BMW's  

first  

postwar

four  

seat  

economy  

car.  

It  

was  

not  

a  

sales  

success,  

but  

it

began    

the    

design    

process    

for    

its    

more    

successful

successor, the BMW 700.

Concept, design, and engineering

BMW   needed   to   expand   its   model   range,   but   they   did   not   have   the   resources   to   develop   an   all- new   car   with   an   all-new   engine.   Therefore,   it   used   the   Isetta   as   starting   point   for   a   new   four seat economy car. As   a   result,   the   600   used   the   front   suspension   and   front   door   of   the   Isetta.   The   need   to   carry four   people   required   a   longer   frame,   a   different   rear   suspension,   and   a   larger   engine.   A   new perimeter   frame   was   designed,   using   box   section   side   members   and   straight   tube   crossmembers. The   rear   suspension   was   an   independent   semi   trailing   arm   design;   this   was   the   first   time   BMW had   used   this   system.   The   chassis   had   a   wheelbase   of   1,700   millimetres   (67   in),   a   front   track   of 1,220 millimetres (48 in), and a rear track of 1,160 millimetres (46 in). The    600    was    powered    by    the    582    cc    (35.5    cu    in)    flat-twin    engine    from    the    R67 motorcycle/sidecar   combination.   This   engine,   which   delivered   19.5   horsepower   (14.5   kW)   at 4,500   revolutions   per   minute,   was   mounted   behind   the   rear   wheels.   A   four-speed   manual gearbox   was   standard,   while   a   Saxomat   semi-automatic   transmission   was   available.   The   600   had a top speed of approximately 100 km/h. Access to the rear seats was by a conventional door on the right side of the vehicle.

Reception

The   sales   figures   for   the   600   did   not   meet   BMW's   expectations.   During   production   from   August 1957   to   1959,   about   35,000   were   built.   This   is   attributed   to   competition   with   more   conventional cars, including the Volkswagen Beetle.

Legacy

The   600   played   a   direct   role   in   the   design   of   its   successor,   the   BMW   700.   Wolfgang   Denzel,   the distributor    of    BMW    cars    in   Austria,    commissioned    Giovanni    Michelotti    to    prepare    concept sketches   based   on   a   lengthened   BMW   600   chassis.   Denzel   presented   the   concept,   a   2-door   coupe with   a   slanted   roof,   to   BMW's   management.   The   concept   was   generally   well   received,   but objections    were    raised    about    the    limited    passenger    space.    BMW    decided    to    produce    two versions, the coupe, and a 2-door sedan with a taller, longer roof. Another   legacy   of   the   600   was   its   independent   semi-trailing   arm   rear   suspension. This   was   BMW's first   use   of   this   suspension   system   and,   with   the   exception   of   the   BMW   M1,   it   was   used   on   every BMW production automobile until the 1990s. It was eventually supplanted by the "Z-axle"   multi-link   suspension   introduced   with   the   BMW   Z1   in   1988. The   last   BMW   cars   with   semi- trailing arm suspension were the BMW Compact and the BMW Z3.

Space efficiency

The   BMW   600   was   noted   in   magazine   and   journal   articles   as   an   example   of   space   efficient design. It was noted for carrying four people within a shorter length than that of the Mini.

1959

Engine 582 cc 2 cylinders Top speed 100 km/h Lenght/width 2,9 m/1,4 m Weight 515 kg The collections BMW 600 was completely restored between 2001- 2003. It was registered also with BMW-600 license plate.
Photos mainly by Matti Kreivilä. Historical facts and technical details of the vehicles provided by Wikipedia. Movies YouTube.