The 1500 sedan was one of BMW’s lesser-known models of the Sixties, yet it led the way, as the first of the New Class" models to a long series of larger-engined models that changed the fortunes of the company.

The BMW 1500 made its debut came at the Frankfurt Show in September 1961.

Thanks to glowing reviews in the motoring press, demand from the public for the 1500 saloon was strong.

Designed mostly in-house at BMW, the 1500 conveyed quality and prestige, without resorting to distasteful excesses of chrome or self-conscious design features that was common in its competitors.

Despite the early euphoria, it took a year or so to get production on the 1500 rolling.

Those who received one of the earliest models to roll off the production line might well have been disappointed as the 1500 experienced a number of teething problems, most notably in the gearbox and rear axle.

Always aware of their commitment to reliability and quality, BMW soon corrected these problems.

Under the hood was a new 1.5-litre, single-overhead-cam four-cylinder engine generating 80 horsepower.

Also standard was MacPherson strut front suspension and front disc brakes.

The new BMW four-door sedan used unibody construction and was larger than its predecessor, the little 700, although considerably smaller than the big BMWs.

Up front was a tiny version of BMW's already-traditional "kidney' grille, each element made up of vertical strips.

Single round headlamps were contained in full-width side grilles with horizontal bars. A round BMW emblem stood at the hood front.

Curious integral parking lights wrapped around just below the fender crease, where it met the hood.

At the rear were tri-section tail lamps, with a BMW emblem and '1500' nameplate on the left of the back panel.

Front and rear doors held vent wings while a simply painted dash dominated the 1500's interior.

The front end angled forward at the top, showing a profile that would make BMWs easy to spot over the next three decades.

Seating was sufficient for five passengers, though two were more comfortable in the back .

The 1500 single-handedly turned BMW's fortunes around, despite remaining in production for just two years, as the first of the company's Neue Klasse (New Class).

Previous models had just broken even financially, but the 1500 began the transition of BMW from a slightly inept company, albeit one with high standards of engineering, to the world force in car production that it has become today.


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