My Car Quest

December 16, 2017

A Great Barn Find: 1969 BMW 2800 Spicup

by Wallace Wyss –

We like to think, being car enthusiasts, that when a carrozzeria builds a prototype, that it is treasured when it is lucky enough to be “liberated” after its show career and sold to private parties.

But no. I cite the case of the BMW Spicup, a car whose name came from an attempt to create a new word by combining the word “spider” with the word “coupe.”

BMW Bertone Spicup

It was designed for Bertone by Marcello Gandini for BMW. The unique part of the design (besides Iso Grifo and Iso Lele type headlights) was a three-piece sliding top made of stainless steel.

BMW Bertone Spicup

The way the car was built was to use a BMW 2500 floorpan and then shorten it to fit the new body and interior designed for it. Although it was a 2500 chassis the larger inline-6 from the BMW 2800 was used, this six cranking out 170 bhp. The trans was a four speed manual. The only familiar thing inside was the gauges and pedals. Everywhere inside there was tri-tone, green on green upholstery with yellow and silver accents.

BMW Bertone Spicup

The car made its debut at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show, where it was compared to Gandini’s design for the Alfa Romeo Montreal, especially in regards to the semi-hidden headlights with motorized flaps. The expected BMW ‘double kidney’ signature grille design was retained but with odd padded inserts.

BMW Bertone Spicup

For some reason the car did not get the public clamoring for it, and was not green lighted for production. BMW sold it off to a couple of brothers from Holland and it was schlepped around Europe like some $1000 used car. They ignored its wonderful emerald green paint job and painted it orange, and changed the wonderful upholstery to black and made the hood scoop part of the hood (the hood had originally had a hole in it so the engine air intake stuck out).

BMW Bertone Spicup

Did they revere it and take it to concours? No, they drove the beejeesuz out of it.

An enthusiast rescued it when it had clocked 100,000 km (62,000 miles) and brought it back to its original splendor. Seldom in car history has a one-off prototype been flogged so long and so hard only to come back to its original state of glory.

A real challenge was restoring all three colors of upholstery, yellow, green and silver. The silver had to be painted on in the restoration. The restored version was later displayed in restored condition at the Villa d’Este concours and after that the BMW Museum in Munich, in the latter case the prodigal son returning home so to speak, even though its parents had so ignominiously sold it off.

BMW Bertone Spicup

Summing up, not all the splendid concept cars you see at auto shows will be well treated after their show career. Automakers sometimes ship them out to the dealers for the highest bid. It’s worth making a list and looking for them–your dream car from an auto show decades ago could be out there, though (be ready for this) somewhat the worse for wear when you find it.

BMW Bertone Spicup

As a BMW fan and fan of Gandini, I would have loved to own this one, with such easy to fix and easy to find mechanicals. Don’t know about that three color interior, though…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is currently engaged in doing commissioned oil portraits of exotic cars. For information on pricing and sizes contact him by email at Photojournalistpro2@gmail.com.
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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Summary
A Great Barn Find: 1969 BMW 2800 Spicup
Article Name
A Great Barn Find: 1969 BMW 2800 Spicup
Description
Not all the splendid concept cars you see at auto shows will be well treated after their show career. The history of the BMW Spicup designed by Bertone proves the point.
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Comments

  1. What an amazing mash-up! Thanks for posting about this one, first I’ve ever heard. I am surprised to have not seen it around at the almost 200 Concours events I’ve attended in the past two decades. Alas, decisions by the owner early on would have prevented that.

  2. Jaap Kries says:

    What I would like to know who the dutch guys were as a I am too.
    There might be an interesten story to tell !

    Kindest regards.

    Jaap Kries

  3. What is fun about the Spicup is the number of amazing styling cues that were also used in the Alfa Montreal… what a treasure this car would be indeed…

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