RCL Exclusive

The Only Surviving BMW 1600 GT Convertible Has Been Restored

It’s so handsome you’ll want to go to Munich to see this car up close.

Cars By

RealClearLife has partnered with InsideHook, the essential lifestyle guide for adventurous and established men. Sign up to get the best of InsideHook’s recommendations and advice delivered to your inbox every weekday.

Ever heard the tale of the 1967 BMW 1600 GT convertible? The über-rare four-seater was ushered into the BMW Group Classic collection back in December after undergoing a full restoration. But just years earlier it was unaccounted for, despite being produced at a crucial point in the marque’s history and despite being the only one of its kind in existence.

So how’d such a rare BMW get lost? Well, technically they gave it away, and technically it’s not a BMW, at least not entirely.

You see, the 1600 GT convertible rolled off the line the same year the company acquired Glas, a German car maker based in Dingolfing. The smaller marque counted among its arsenal a particularly dashing coupe called the Glas GT, styled by respected Italian car designer Pietro Frua of Maserati fame. BMW quickly badged the car as its own (adding a proprietary engine, among other improvements), but decided to rework it even further; Glas delivered a convertible edition in October 1967, and in November it was finished at the Dingolfing factory.

That is, two prototypes were finished. As BMW notes in a press release, the convertible was supposed to be produced and exported to the U.S., but that never materialized. Instead, one of the two convertibles crashed in testing and was quickly scrapped. The other — the one now back in BMW’s Classic collection — was given to the major shareholder in BMW AG, then made its way through many a private car collection including “a fashion model from Munich” and “a businessman from Fürth” until BMW rediscovered it.

Like a good parent, BMW welcomed the vehicle back with open arms to the Dingolfing plant where it all began. But instead of putting it in the care of their crack restoration team, they instead handed it over to a bunch of kids. No, really.

As you can see in the video above, a group of lucky apprentices on their way to becoming bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics restored the car over a period of several years, under careful supervision, of course. And let me just say I use the word “kids” endearingly, mainly to point out that the current pristine state of the vehicle belies the years of the people who did the bulk of the work.

If you find yourself in Munich, the BMW Group Classic offers tours. Just be sure to ring them beforehand to see if they have this rarity on display.

All images courtesy of BMW Group