1969 Bertone BMW Spicup concept

The 1969 BMW ‘Spicup’ Convertible Coupé is a very unique car with a remarkable history. For more than two decades this car was believed to be lost, but after this one-off was rediscovered and restored it was auctioned at Bonhams last week for a whopping € 460,000 ($ 600,000).

The history of this car starts in Italy. During the Sixties BMW enjoyed a close relationship with Italian automobile designer Bertone, whose star designer Giorgetto Giugiaro had been responsible for the 3200CS coupé. When the Italian coachbuilder wanted to showcase engineer Enzo Cingolani’s idea for a three-piece sliding top made of stainless steel, it was to the Bavarians that they turned.

This collaboration resulted in the Spicup which was unveiled at the 1969 Geneva Motor show. The name Spicup is a combination of the terms ‘Spider’ and ‘Coupé’. This daring prototype was made to be driven. Based on the BMW 2500 (E3) saloon and powered by a 2.8 liter straight-six engine which provided 170bhp and 236Nm of torque, this car was able to reach a top speed of 210km/h.

But the car was not exactly a success, it was more a failure because the Spicup was totally out of place with BMW’s refined model line and was not suitable for production. The car had little to do with past or future BMW’s, so the only model ever made was bought by a German dealer in Düsseldorf, which had a special showroom devoted to exotic cars at that time.

1969 BMW Spicup concept

A few years later, the Spicup was purchased by a Dutch motor dealer who decided to keep the car and obtained regular road registration. The exterior color was changed from green to orange and the elaborate multi-hued green and silver interior was sprayed over – in black.

The owner was especially enthusiastic the roof which transformed the car from spider to coupé and back again. But he also reported that that the car’s roof was not completely watertight’ (which probably is an understatement considering the Dutch climate).

The car, once designed as a concept, was used as a daily driver, traveling constantly from the Netherlands to Germany. This was largely possible due to the BMW 2500 underpinnings. For the next 10 years the BMW Spicup covered some 100,000 kilometers (60,000 miles), which makes it probably the most-used one-off show car in the world.

Emigration plans could not influence the owner to sell the car, so it was put away in storage in the 1980s, remaining there for more than twenty years. Many people believed this car was lost until it was discovered in a barn in 2008. The car was offered as ‘some weird model with BMW badges’, and was purchased by collector of coach-built exotica.

Tired, incomplete, scratched and dented, and with some serious signs of corrosion, the car was transported to Carrozzeria Granturismo in Milan for a complete restoration. It was first shown again to the public at the Villa d’Este concours d’élégance in 2009, and subsequently at the BMW Museum during the summer of 2010.

Finally this rare one of a kind BMW with an interesting history was sold at Bonhams last week. Considering the rarity and history of this car the current owner has most likely made a great investment!

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  1. I have seen this car in 2006. Not in a barn, but in a building where you could see it from the street. I took a picture through the window and put this on a BMW forum. So….actually I believe I made this story roll….!


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