The apprentices at BMW’s plant in Dingolfing have added another unique showpiece to BMW Group Classic’s collection with the restoration of a convertible BMW 1600 GT, in a project spanning years, under the supervision of their trainers.
The story of this BMW 1600 GT goes beyond its restoration as it’s the only surviving example of two original convertible prototypes that BMW commissioned from Italian bodywork designer Pietro Frua.
In 1967, both automobiles left the production plants in Dingolfing for the first time. Testing for one of the vehicles came to an abrupt end when it met with an accident and was subsequently scrapped.
The second unit went on to live a colourful life under the ownership of BMW AG’s then major shareholder, Herbert Quandt, before being passed on to several private owners where it eventually fell into the hands of a fashion model from Munich, Germany.
The car was later acquired by a businessman from Fürth in Franconia, before the 1600 GT called the Munich-based Allianz Centre for Engineering its new home.
When experts from BMW Group Classic caught wind of the car, they acquired it with a plan to return the car to its original condition and former glory.
The restoration at the Dingolfing plant became a project that formed part of the training for BMW apprentices who aspired to become bodywork and vehicle construction mechanics.
Before its conception, a proposal was made by US importer Max Hoffmann to develop a new version of the 1600 GT coupé, fitted with a 2.0-litre engine and an open-top for export to the USA.
In October 1967, Frua delivered a convertible body mounted on a strengthened floor assembly which was then painted in Dingolfing where all further assembly work took place. In November that same year, the BMW 1600 GT convertible was entered in the plant’s production book as being completed.
However, the plans for series production and export to the USA never came to fruition. As such, only a single example of the Italian-Bavarian convertible was ever licensed for driving on public roads.