BMWs That Will Be Missed: BMW New Class 1500

The BMW New Class was produced by the Munich based car manufacturer between 1962 and 1977 in various models. The name referred to the 1.5-2-liter class of automobiles that BMW stopped producing since the second World War.
BMW 1500 5 photos
Photo: BMW
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This line of compact sedans and coupes was the one that ensured BMW's solvency during the financial crisis of the 1950s but also established the Bavarian' sport saloon identity.

The first car in the New Class line was the 1500, introduced at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1961 and entered production in 1962. As you might have guessed it had a 1.5-liter engine with power ranges between 75 and 80 HP, depending on the carburetor. The 1500 had a unit body, and fully independent MacPherson struts in the front and semi-trailing arms at the back.

The engine was designed with scope for future enlargement and development. It was the basis for the 1600's, 1800's and 2000's engines. In order to keep the low bonnet line (which contributed to the styling of the car) the engine was canted over 30 degrees to the right.

The 1500 accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in 15 seconds and this performance was regarded as honorable for the small 1.5-liter engine. However the engine ran smooth, without any gratuitous vibrations even at 6,000 RPM.

The sales of this new car allowed BMW to actually pay dividends to the shareholders for the first time in 20 years, in 1963. However the 1500 had some problems too, like separation of the semi-trailing arm mounts from the body, rear axle failure, and gearbox problems.

In 1964 the 1500 was replaced by the 1600. However this will forever remain the car that established BMW's identity as a premium sports saloon manufacturer.
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