One of the most important cars that saved BMW from Bankruptcy, the BMW 2002 is no short of legend status within the company and a predecessor to the BMW 3 Series that we’ve all got to love and respect today.
The early 70s was also a time when manufacturers were trying their best to abide by the new US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) new rules about proposed roll over safety and feared that convertibles might get banned from sale in the United States, the largest automotive market for European cars at the time. Porsche challenged this with the Targa Top – a semi-convertible car with a removable roof section split by a roll bar behind the seats.
It was around this time that Stuttgart-based Karosserie Baur (est. 1910) had become quite a well-established name in German coach building. If you trace through the now-defunct company’s history, you’d realised that they were quite seriously involved with BMW bodies in both development and production. It might not be known to many but Karosserie Baur were also the guy behind production of ALL Porsche 959 bodyshells and also responsible for their complete assembly, under the watchful eyes of Porsche inspectors of course. Coming back to BMW cars, Baur produced all variants of sedan bodies for the BMW Type 501, BMW 700 and hand been involved with building BMW convertibles since the 1930. So it was given that when it came to producing BMW Type 1600 and 2002 convertibles, Karosserie Baur were the go-to team
Baur decided to inject the same Targa-style design philosophy to their BMW 2002 Cabriolet by adding a roll-bar behind the seats that would also act as a support for the removable roof, and the Baur Cabriolet was born. This design ensured that the boxy lines of the 2002 were kept intact while at the same time addressing law changes that would bar BMW cabriolets from being sold in North America. When put up, the 1973 Baur Convertible looks like any other soft-top convertible from the era where only the keen-eyed would notice the targa arrangement.
This particular example is one-of-200 BMW 02 Baur-Cabrios to have ever been made and is also one of the final cars have ever built. I found this 1973 BMW 02 Baur-Cabrio while wandering around Stuttgart. Here’s more