Designed as the successor to the BMW 503, the exceedingly handsome 3200CS four-seat sports tourer was BMW’s top-range model in 1962. The body was designed and built by Italian car stylist Gruppo Bertone then freighted to BMW in Germany for mounting on the 503 chassis.
It was the first BMW to be fitted with front disc brakes, and it had twin Zenith carburetors, a tweaked V8 engine, four-speed transmission and rear-wheel drive.
The coupe body, a typically distinctive Bertone design, introduced a new style feature — the ‘Hofmeister kink’ (named after BMW’s director of design). This is the sharp-angled forward bend (or ‘kink’) towards the base of the C-pillar (the roof-support strut that separates the rear side-window from the rear windscreen) which has become the signature design of the BMW marque.
Look at any BMW model sideways-on and your eye is automatically drawn to the C-pillar. The design philosophy at BMW has always been ‘form should follow function’ and the purpose of the Hofmeister kink is not simply to look pretty but to subliminally indicate that the drive lies in the rear wheels. The Hofmeister kink has since been incorporated into many different makes of car but it is still primarily associated with BMW.
The launch of the 3200CS was overshadowed by the simultaneous appearance of the BMW New Class 1500 sedan, one of a series of saloons designed to fill a gap in the market between mass produced cars and luxury designer models. In its two-door version, the 1500 was so successful that BMW was barely able to keep up with production so the company dropped the 3200CS in 1995 after only three years. Sadly, it was to be the last of the big V8 BMWs.
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
Germany (and partly Italy)
3,168 cc OM VS
Advertised top speed 124 mph
YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Bertone designed and built a one-off convertible version of the 3200CS for BMW boss Herbert Quandt, the wealthy German industrialist who saved BMW from being swallowed up by Daimler-Benz in 1959. This unique car still exists and was exhibited to the public at the classic car show, Techno Classica 2003.