This Frua-Designed Prototype Is An Italian-Flavored Vision Of What BMW Could Have Been

We know there are some all-time great BMW coupes. The E24 6-series. The E31 8-series. The E30 3-series. But what if BMW decided to go in a different, slightly more Italian direction? The BMW 3000 F is the answer. And this one is even for sale.

Advertisement

Though it might be unfamiliar to some of you, the 3000 F is a BMW. Sure, it’s a one-off that never made it to production, but it was close. At least one example is still here though, and it’s a great look at what could have been had BMW’s executives decided that the company’s conquests were worth more than their real estate.

Advertisement

As BMW encountered a string of successes in the 1960s, production space was hard to come by. Not far from BMW’s Munich headquarters, a minor car company called Glas was building small cars in a plant in Dingolfing, Bavaria. Sensing an opportunity to scale up, BMW bought Glas’s outfit and began a process of integrating the brand’s lineup with the rest of the company’s offerings.

While some of these cars, like the 1600 GT, remained in production as BMWs and managed to make a name for themselves after getting brought into Munich’s orbit, they eventually were cast aside with the others to free up space to build “real” BMWs in the Dingolfing plant. That’s a shame because a lot of the Glas models were really good, and some of them were even stunning to look at, like this one.

Advertisement

Had BMW decided not to throw away Glas’s work on the 3000 F, a GT car designed to replace the 2600 V8, the brand would have had a range-topping Italian-designed GT car with a three-liter V8 inside. It wouldn’t have been all that similar to the rest of the company’s lineup, but it would have created precedent for more adventurous designs.

Advertisement

And while BMW didn’t put the car into production, they certainly knew that it was worth something on the auto show circuit. Appearing at Frankfurt and Paris in 1967, Geneva in ‘68, and Barcelona in ‘69, the car clearly could make a splash, even two years after it first debuted.

Obviously, BMW didn’t need help in the ‘70s and its 3.0 CS was more than capable of leaping off of dealership lots and making mincemeat of the competition. But it’s worth considering what a more Italian-flavored line of performance BMWs could have been like. I have long been a proponent of the influence of the Italian design houses on other European brands. I’ve talked about Jaguar’s brushes with their work before, and the great Giugiaro indeed penned the iconic BMW M1. But those were basically all studies, nothing on the scale of what a production version of the Frua-penned 3000 F could have been like.

Advertisement

At least this one is still out there, its tiny kidney grill tucked under that wide front and low front end. The B-pillar’s vent trim is a Miura-esque flourish that I think is very welcome as well, and the taut fastback rear end is a lot more Iso than Bavaria, but it doesn’t bother me at all.

Advertisement

The interior, restored now, is also gorgeous. If you want to find yourself imagining an alternate universe where the Glas absorption allowed BMW to look to Italy for a little more design help, the car is for sale at Gassman in Germany for €299,000 and the odometer reads 65,000 kilometers. That’s a lot of distance for a one-off, but I think it shows that someone has already given a lot of thought to what that universe might be like. And now it could be your turn.

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

Feel like this doesn’t really fit in with the BMW aesthetic even back then. The 3.0 CSL looked way better, and if we wanted an Italian-designed BMW then there’s the M1.