The 10 Best Old BMW Cars of All Time

From the microscopic BMW Isetta to the high-performance E9 Batmobile, here are the top old BMWs.
Written by Joshua Levy
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Founded in 1916, BMW has become one of the most recognizable names in luxury cars. While it’s still producing top-of-the-line vehicles, some of its more unique creations like the BMW Isetta hold a special place in automotive history.
Interested in older BMWs? Luckily, we've compiled this list of the top 10 BMWs ever made. Here, we’ll cover all the most interesting cars, from the
BMW 328
to the E9 Batmobile.
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What makes an old car great? 

Defining what makes a car great can be fairly abstract. So how exactly do you decide which BMWs are best? 
This list covers all kinds of awesome from the uniquely wacky to the historically significant. While some models like the 503 Cabriolet have iconic aesthetics paired with premium performance, others like the E9 Batmobile hold a special place in the history of BMW innovation.

10. 1960 BMW Isetta 

First is the BMW Isetta, a fully road-legal micro car. The Isetta is only 54 inches wide and 90 inches long, which makes it just large enough for a single passenger. To get into the car, drivers need to lift the entire front of the car—steering wheel, windshield, and all!
While the car was sold for a measly $1,000 in the early 1960s, a model in good condition today can go for anywhere from $44,000 to $55,000. The playful design and unique aesthetic   make the Isetta a staple in BMW’s comprehensive history of innovation and experimentation. 
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9. 1940 BMW 328

The 1940
BMW 328
was built to race, reaching average speeds of around 100 miles per hour. While that may not sound like a lot by today’s standards, it was peak performance in the early 1940s. 
Aside from performance, the 328’s unique aesthetic and historical racing significance has made the 1940 328 one of the most memorable BMWs of all time. The 1940 model also led to BMW’s innovative 1999 328 design, which was so well received that it was recognized as one of 25 finalists for the Car of the Century award.

8. 1971 BMW E9 Batmobile

The E9 base model was originally called the BMW CSL (Coupe Sport Light), released in 1969. But after a few years of improvement, the CSL made some major changes. Major components were removed to reduce the weight and the steel materials were switched out for lighter aluminum parts. 
As the model and components changed, the design started shifting to a more novel style, eventually resulting in a bottom-heavy model with huge fins and low clearance aptly nicknamed the Batmobile. Considering the enormous air damn, oversized fins, and front and rear spoilers, there isn’t any name quite as fitting as the batmobile. While it wasn’t produced for the average consumer, the Batmobile has a special place in BMW’s history as a wholly unique design. 

7. 2000 BMW Z8

Manufactured from 2000 to 2003, the BMW Z8 is one of BMW’s most memorable roadsters. With a starting price of $128,000 and a top speed of 155 miles per hour, buyers got their money’s worth with the Z8. Outside of its unreal performance, the Z8 also featured a unique aesthetic, with a rounded hood, short trunk, and optional convertible trim.
In addition to its performance and style, the BMW Z8 was featured as James Bond’s car in The World is Not Enoughadding pop culture value to a car that had already made its mark on the automobile industry. Today, the cheapestZ8 on the market costs a whopping $165,000. 
Of course, there are plenty of more expensive BMW models on the market, but the Z8 holds a special place in the heart of collectors, car enthusiasts, and BMW fans around the world! 
MORE: BMW car-buying guide 

6. 1961 BMW 1500

Whilesome people consider the BMW 1500’s a little boxy by today’s standards,it introduced a new age of BMW production.
Core to the 1500’s innovative status was an improved four-cylinder engine. Made of cast iron and featuring an overhead camshaft, the engine produced a measly 80 horsepower. But given the small size and light weight, the engine was considered a step forward in the production of cars for upper-middle-class consumers.
Of course, the 1500’s style marked a departure from the BMW’s classic luxury reputation. And even though the change in style didn’t stick, the adjustment to mid-size sedan vehicles evolved into new models like the
BMW 530i
and
M5
.
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5. 1959 BMW 700

Like the Isetta, the BMW 700 featured a unique design and greatly reduced dimensions. While the 700 is significantly larger than the Isetta, it features a more mainstream design with round headlights, subtle fins, and a sleek front bumper. The premium style was enhanced by the size, which helped the 700 stand out from similarly styled competitors of the time.
The 700 is one of the BMW’s cheaper models on the market. Even classic models from the late 50s and early 60s can go for as little as $6,000

4. 1962 BMW 3200 CS

The 1962 BMW 3200 CS was a successor to the wildly successful BMW 503. The design built on its predecessor’s exterior by incorporating fashionable Italian details of the time like an angular rear bumper, small tail lights, and luxurious leather and wood interior in its aesthetic.
The 3200 marked a new age in BMW styling that incorporated a more international look and widely appealing aesthetic. While the 3200 still fit in with BMW’s luxurious lineup, its style helped bring the brand into a more casual market for high-level consumers.  

3. 1956 BMW 503 Cabriolet

While it didn’t sell very well on a base-consumer level, the 503 was generally admired for its sleek exterior, luxurious interior, and elegant details. Even though the 503 didn’t do very well in the US, some of Europe’s biggest politicians and celebrities invested in BMW’s premium model. 
The convertible’s simple design and decadent interior features paired with its European celebrity status made the 503 Cabriolet an icon of the time. While sales for the car never grew to a point of immense profit, the design has stuck in the memories of BMW fans and continued to influence the brand’s designs today. 

2. 1980 BMW M1

The 1980 BMW M1 is possibly the most influential BMW of all time. The M1 was the result of an agreement between Lamborghini and BMW to build a peak-performing race car. But partway through the design process, Lamborghini dropped out due to disagreements. BMW was left to finish production and released the M1, a BMW with a near-Lamborghini aesthetic. 
Since the agreement between Lamborghini and BMW had ended, the car was sold to the public, and became one of the highest performing cars on the market at the time. While the M1 doesn’t hold up against today’s supercars in terms of performance, it's still a powerful race car with a top-notch aesthetic.

1. 1955 BMW 507

While its sales weren’t as high as the 503 and its performance can’t compare with the M1, the 507 gets the number one spot on our list because of its iconic appearance. The 507 was produced by the thousands to export and sell in the United States. Thanks to the high cost of shipping, the 507’s sold abysmally. The roadster ended up losing a fortune for BMW and brought the company to the verge of bankruptcy.
And while the car is considered one of BMW’s greatest failures, it boasted major celebrity owners like Elvis Presley. While production quickly ended, the 507 roadster went on to influence BMWs most successful roadsters including the
Z3
,
Z4
, and Z8.

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