LOVE AFFAIR. JOE RICHARDSON AND HIS 2000 C COUPE.

Englishman Joe Richardson lives in the USA and drives a rare BMW 2000 C Coupe. He has been a fan of the marque since childhood when his parents ferried him about in their BMW 1800, a memory that has stayed with him ever since. The early coupe dates from the 1960s and fascinates Joe because not many people are familiar with it. The eye-catching model also has a number of attractive details. This is his story.

As is so often the case, the parents are to blame. Joe was a small boy living in England when his mother and father purchased a white BMW 1800. Neither of them could have known the effect that this decision would have on their son. Joe would go on to pursue a career in the automotive industry. As a public relations expert for some very well-known automobile brands, he has had plenty of opportunities to drive some of the most coveted cars in the world. All the same, he never forgot the family BMW. It was the car that had fascinated him so much as a child and which arguably kick-started his lifelong passion for cars.

A stylish coupe for the wild ’60s.

The 1960s saw an economic boom virtually everywhere. In terms of technology, suddenly anything seemed possible – even flying to the moon. In the USA it was possible to choose from more different imported car brands than ever before. One minor but very special such brand was BMW. The ‘New Class’ proved particularly popular with Americans who had sporting ambitions, but the high points were the Coupe 2000 C and 2000 CS built by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany from 1965 onwards. In the four years to 1969, only 11,720 units were produced. Catching a glimpse of the vehicle was therefore a rare occurrence in the USA, although those in the know and car fans alike still came to appreciate it as the ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’. It thus helped cement BMW’s subsequent image as a maker of sporty, stylish cars for drivers.

Technology from the new 2000.

Even before the 2000 sedan appeared, the coupe was available with the new two-litre, 100 hp engine. In almost all cases, the 2000 C came with a three-speed automatic transmission, whereas the CS was primarily built with a four-speed manual transmission. The slender-looking roof sits on four graceful struts and there is no B-pillar. This makes for an excellent view all round. In the power-hungry USA, the ‘small’ engine tended to be regarded with scepticism. There was praise, however, for the roadholding and sporting agility. Only the design divided opinions and continues to do so today. The radiator grille consists solely of the double kidney and not everyone liked the wide headlights, which were increasingly popular at that time, featuring a single lens for multiple functions.

Something special .

For Joe, though, this unusual design was precisely what he was looking for when he decided to buy his 2000 C dating from 1967. And perhaps one small contributing factor was the fact that this model is rarely ever seen in the USA. Time and again when he is out and about in it people come up to him wanting to know more about the car. As part of his job, Joe gets to drive some exotic and exceptional cars, but ironically these never attract quite as much attention as the coupe does. Lots of unusual details, such as the mirrors mounted forward on the wings, really do stand out.

One day in Pebble Beach.

That is one reason why Joe, as an ordinary visitor to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California – probably the most important classic car event in the world – was once given free passage onto the golf course there. Joe attends every year for work. Only once did he take the BMW with him. It was early in the morning and he was rather tired so he didn’t think anything of it when he fell into line with a series of exceptionally beautiful vintage cars. Following in their wake, he got closer and closer to the heart of the event until he was right in the middle of the fairway, somewhere that only cars in competition are permitted to be. Rather than exploiting the situation, Joe approached one of the officials and was politely requested to find somewhere else to park immediately.

One of life’s pleasures .

Joe lives in the megacity of Los Angeles. Although there is heavy congestion there, it is also possible to find amazing, empty country roads simply by driving a short way out of town. Joe takes such opportunities to enjoy his BMW as often as possible. The coupe’s performance on the narrow canyon roads is impressive and never fails to lift the spirits. The 2000 C is something really special and definitely suitable for everyday use, even if Joe is not happy about parking it in public places. The fear that someone might damage it is simply too great.

One day he would like to have the coupe fully restored but, for now, it is perfect the way it is. An exotic specimen in the land of unlimited possibilities.