Eugene Bernshtam Classic Car Blog: Why the BMW 1600 GT is a True Classic Car

Eugene Bernshtam, a real-estate investor, is also an avid collector of classic and vintage cars. While he collects mostly American cars, he has also started looking across the pond and collecting vintage European models. He already has a 1970 Bentley T1 in his garage; however, he is looking for other classic cars from German manufacturers. Eugene Bernshtam considers the BMW 1600 GT the Holy Grail of classic sports cars.

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Ironically, the word “rare” is quite common whenever cars are being discussed. While many new cars are rare because their manufacturers have decided on limited production runs, really rare cars are not just scarce; they’re also obscure. For instance, Eugene Bernshtam was not aware of the existence of the BMW 1600 GT until quite recently.

Why is the BMW 1600 GT so rare? The car itself has a fascinating history. The original manufacturer, Glas, started out as a scooter manufacturer before focusing on micro-cars. Its defining model, the Glas 1300 GT, featured body shells designed and built by Italian artisans and inner workings made in Germany. When BMW bought the Glas factory, it also inherited the GT line, changed a few design elements to reflect the new owners, and introduced the 1600 GT, with a production line of just over 1,200 cars. However, the 1600 GT was superseded by the 2500 CS in 1969, which meant the end of the line for the model.

Eugene Bernshtam was fortunate enough to have seen a BMW 1600 GT in the flesh. While it does remind him of Ferrari “2+2”, it has all the hallmarks of the classic cars of the era: fender-mounted mirrors, a radio that could be set to “country”, “suburb”, and “city”, and vintage fonts on the gauges.

Performance-wise, says Eugene Bernshtam, the BMW 1600 GT is fast yet surprisingly quiet and easy to handle for its age. It’s clear that the car was built for spending hours and hours on the Autobahn, but is also classy enough for showing off in the city.