Within the mid-Sixties there used to be a devoted, devoted BMW meeting line employee via the title of Helmut Frey. As thank you for his a few years of provider, BMW rewarded him with a brand-new 1966 1600 Neue Klasse sedan. As the tale is going, Frey used to be extremely thankful for the beneficiant bonus. He had simply grow to be the landlord of the type that had helped flip round a suffering BMW.
In 1959, the BMW automobile corporate used to be teetering on the point of chapter. A final-minute funding from Bavarian financier Herbert Quandt and his half-brother Harald Quandt stored BMW from being received at a cut-rate worth via a competitor.
The primary order of commercial beneath its new possession: introducing contemporary fashions that will breathe desperately wanted existence again into the corporate. BMW used to be already generating the little 700 coupe and sedan in addition to the preferred however much less profit-generating Isetta lineup of microcars. Via 1965, BMW’s vary of V8 automobiles used to be discontinued, making manner for the following era of machines out of Munich.
A brand new type got here within the type of the Neue Klasse–recognized stateside because the New Elegance–sedan, offered on the Frankfurt Auto Display in 1961. Energy got here from an all-new 1500cc engine with a five-bearing crank and an overhead cam design. Manufacturing of the 1500 started in 1962, however the type used to be changed in 1964 via the 1600, which used a bored-out model of the engine. This used to be the type that BMW gave to Helmut Frey for his exhausting paintings.
There used to be just one hitch: Frey had simply helped construct probably the most corporate’s brand-new 1800 TI/SA sedans. Those have been high-performance variants in response to the upgraded 1800 Neue Klasse sedans, which had not too long ago begun manufacturing. Operating on those pageant specials gave him a lot of meals for idea on how he may beef up his personal automobile.
He didn’t need to keep a copy of the TI, however he did need to emulate its spirit: day-to-day driving force skill paired with track-ready functionality. Due to his process on the BMW manufacturing facility, he had get right of entry to to near to any manufacturing and non-production functionality section he cared to put in. He used to be additionally aware about the truth that BMW used to be about to unlock a bigger, 2.0-liter engine.
Naturally, including the bigger engine used to be Frey’s first amendment to the auto. All the way through the next 12 months, he upgraded the entirety, from the transmission, brakes and rear finish to the inner.
Years later, he passed down the hotrodded Neue Klasse to his son. Frey’s son, in flip, passed it all the way down to his personal son, who lived within the U.S. The auto used to be shipped to the States, and in the end it ended up parked. Years later, it became up on craigslist, being offered as simply any other outdated BMW.
Great tale, proper? Nevertheless it isn’t true. Except for the historical past of the BMW automobile corporate and the watershed Neue Klasse, the story of the meeting line worker is totally fabricated. No longer via us, however via one Jim Huff, the landlord of the Neue Klasse sedan pictured right here.
The four-door 1600 is nearly a foot longer than a BMW 2002. That makes the trip extra solid and poised. A extra trendy M20 engine took the little 1600’s position beneath the hood, and the auto wears Floor Regulate coil-over suspension.
When Huff, who lives in San Francisco, started development the auto, he figured slightly again tale would lend a hand him crystallize his imaginative and prescient for his personal Neue Klasse, which he constructed largely for street rallies and stress-free day-to-day riding.
“The function used to be to carry it again to existence in a German rally/mafia car-like method,” he says of the BMW. “Having observed articles at the TI/SA model of the NK automobiles and lots of antique race footage of early NK automobiles, I knew it had to evoke this sort of feeling whilst being a boulevard automobile as neatly.”
Huff’s method of visualizing a tale to accompany his construct turns out to have labored. His BMW sedan hits the entire proper notes, from the understated aesthetics to the upgraded however nonetheless antique driveline. It’s simple to believe that this automobile used to be inbuilt era.
After all, Huff is not any stranger to vintage BMWs. He has owned a 1970 2002 for the previous seven years, and he’s constructed it up from the interior out to characteristic a six-cylinder M20 and a bunch of chassis upgrades. The 2002 is his day-to-day driving force, however he additionally enters it in street rallies, together with the multiday Snow Ball Rally for traditional automobiles that travels from California to Nevada and again.
The best way Huff came upon that Neue Klasses exist is an engaging–and true–tale. “Sooner or later, my spouse purchased me a [scale] type of a BMW,” he says. The nostril seemed very similar to a 2002’s, however upon nearer inspection Huff discovered the type regarded other in different places. “I flipped it over and ‘BMW 1500’ used to be stamped at the backside,” he recollects.
This revelation unfolded an entire new bankruptcy of BMW’s historical past for Huff. So when he got here throughout an actual Neue Klasse on the market in the neighborhood, he couldn’t withstand looking. The auto used to be came upon purely accidentally all over certainly one of his “random craigslist periods.”
Tough Across the Edges
“It used to be now not so great-looking,” admits Huff of the 1600, which used to be situated in within sight San Jose, California, “however it gave the impression worthy to carry again to existence. The most important deal is that it used to be dry, with just a little bit of floor rust at the nostril close to the street.” The BMW used to be multicolored, with a blue frame, gold hood and tan trunk lid, testifying to the truth that it were across the block a couple of occasions. However basically, it used to be cast.
“I had the mindset of short of to get this factor at the street in a well timed method with the intention to pressure the crap out of it,” he says. As soon as Huff had stripped the BMW’s frame, it used to be resprayed with Bristol Gray, an excessively period-correct, non-metallic hue that completely fits the sedan’s blank, easy traces.
The internal used to be additionally redone with street rallies and competitive boulevard riding in thoughts. “We stripped out the rotted-out bits, and after we have been performed it used to be lovely darn empty,” continues Huff. He sourced a brand new carpet package from an organization within the Netherlands. A couple of antique Corbeau race seats with evocative steel grommets within the upholstery used to be then bolted in with custom-fabbed brackets. Occupants are held in with 3-inch lap belts, and a Nardi steerage wheel replaces the inventory unit.
“The rear seat is from an E30,” says Huff. “It are compatible with some slight mods and is sleeker-looking than the soft inventory seat.” The crocodile sprint entrance that the BMW sported from the manufacturing facility stays in position, however the sprint best used to be sourced from BMW skilled John Barlow of Antique BMW Supply. The NK’s authentic gauges have been restored on the similar time.
The BMW’s chassis and driveline have additionally been suitably upgraded for rallies and public roads. Huff entrusted Mano Agulian of Manofied Racing with development an acceptable engine for the auto.
Beginning with a trusty 2-liter M10 block from a 2002, Agulian mated the ten:1-compression pistons to the inventory cranskshaft. Bolted to the ground finish is an M10 head that used to be at first suited for an E21-chassis 3-Collection, which supplies slightly extra torque. The next-revving,
284-degree camshaft additional bumps energy and gives a extra entertaining powerband. Gasoline is dropped at the engine by way of a Carter electrical gas pump, the place it mixes with incoming air within the pair of side-draft DCOE 40 Weber carbs.
Huff estimates that the M10 places out 155 horsepower. Making sure that the engine stays cool all over the ones multiday rallies is a bigger radiator from an E21-chassis 320i. The radiator has been additional upgraded with a pusher fan. The 1600’s authentic four-speed has made manner for a Getrag 245 five-speed, additionally from an E21.
Floor Regulate coil-overs make sure that the Neue Klasse corners in a predictable method. Those items have been in reality made with Floor Regulate’s enter, as the corporate sought after to lend a hand expand the suspension once they heard that the coil-overs have been destined for such an odd automobile.
The auto’s been repainted a period-correct Bristol Gray colour. Inside of, antique Corbeaus toughen the driving force’s hinterlands. The gauges were totally refreshed to paintings like new. A whole rear finish from an E30-chassis BMW has been changed to suit this automobile.
Via a ways some of the automobile’s maximum odd adjustments is all the E30 rear finish. Credit score for the set up is going to Ryan Gangemi of Gangemi Motorworks, who additionally carried out the vast majority of the construct. In line with Huff, the 1600’s authentic differential is lovely susceptible in comparison to more recent BMW diffs. Huff and Gangemi regarded into more than a few improve theories, however they couldn’t get a hold of a cast resolution–till the day Gangemi referred to as Huff and informed him that he had test-fitted an E30 rear finish that used to be mendacity across the store. It might be made to suit the 1600’s chassis with some fabrication, he defined.
“The wheels are off of a 2000CS–steelies which can be 14×5.5,” says Huff. “Inventory are 4.5 inches extensive and TI/SA wheels are 6 inches extensive. I’ve a collection I will be able to in the end widen to six.5 inches.
“It actually glides down the street and reacts fairly neatly within the twisty roads,” says Huff of his introduction. “Even if it’s a four-door, it’s simplest 11 inches longer and four inches wider than a 2002.” That and the truth that the wheelbase is simplest an inch longer than a 2002’s approach the sedan feels strangely compact on a winding nation lane.
If Helmut Frey have been actual–and nonetheless alive–he’d be proud.
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