Thursday, 3 January 2013

BMW 2800 Spicup

BMW's New Six represented a new dawn for the brand in 1968 - a line of well-built, agile, luxurious saloons with creamy six-cylinder engines and aspirational quality of construction. From the E3 saloon spawned the E9 coupé, which of course gave us one of the most desirable homologation specials of all time, the 3.0 CSL 'Batmobile'.
...and as if that wasn't excitement enough, the base model 2500 found its underpinnings beneath this curious green spaceship, the 2800 Spicup. The name comes from its peculiar roof shape, in that it was designed to be both a spider and a coupé; the work of Gandini and Bertone saw this oddity hammered into life, resplendent in Jetsons detailing, an interior like a salad and, as far as I can make out, too many window switches.
The 2500 chassis was shortened, and a 2800cc straight-six was shoehorned into the engine bay. Interior-wise, just the dials and pedals of the original remain, with everything else being unique to the concept. The exterior was a jarring fusion of curves and straight-edges, with the eye being immediately drawn to the pointy pagoda roof.
The car debuted at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show, and was largely criticised for a) looking quite similar to (but less weird than) the Alfa Romeo Montreal of 1967, and b) just being too damned odd. It didn't fit in with BMW's New Six/New Class design direction either, so the concept was deleted from the company production sketchbook and quietly sold to a private owner. This owner, surprisingly, used it as his daily driver, clocking up over 60,000 miles in it and, at some point in its history, painting it bright orange. More recently, it was acquired by an enthusiast who restored it to original specs, showing it at the 2009 Villa d’Este Concours. And that's what you see here - restored, pristine, quite odd, and very green.
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