Jay Leno Joyrides a 1967 BMW 1600
This BMW New Class survivor is arguably more pure than a 2002, according to its owner.
Jay Leno’s love for classic cars is no secret — he’s got more automobiles in his collection than most car show turnouts. One-hundred-sixty-nine cars and 117 motorcycles, to be exact. Of course, there are many more he doesn’t own, which is why he’ll take fans’ cars for spins during episodes of Jay Leno’s Garage. One of his favorite fan-sourced cars hails from 1967. The ’67 BMW featured in this video is a fully original, unrestored 1600. The only work that’s been done on it other than maintenance is that it’s been repainted in its original color. You’ll see a lot of them with body kits to hide rust and other damage, but this one is all-original.
Bringing BMW Back
The 1600 — part of the “BMW New Class” of cars produced between 1962 and 1977 — was designed to help bring BMW back from the dead, so to speak. Before these cars were released, the company was facing enormous financial problems. The New Class cars released during this period, including the 1600, helped to both improve the company’s financial stability and put BMW in its place on the global automotive stage.
Old School Under the Hood
Once you open the hood of the 1600, everything starts to fall into place. Like most cars of the time, the ignition system was powered by a generator rather than an alternator and a distributor. Instead of the typical 12-volt battery most automobiles use, the 1600 relied on a 6-volt battery to get the engine started. The 1967 model year was the last time European automotive manufacturers used a 6-volt system. American models switched to the 12-volt system by the end of the 1950s.
Not a Sports Car
The 1600 might be a fantastic daily driver, but it’s definitely not a sports car — it doesn’t even have a tachometer on the dashboard. In its place, there’s an analog clock to help you keep track of the time while you’re driving.
Overall, it’s a sensible car with a large trunk capable of carrying all your luggage or groceries. It might not have the power or speed of some of the sports cars of the era, but it’s an amazing piece of BMW history.
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