At the end of the Second World War, BMW was in dire straits. The Eisenach factory ended up in the Russian sector and East German workers would make pre-war 327s until 1955. Meanwhile, British prewar partner Frazer Nash had snagged BMW engineer Fritz Fiedler at war’s end, and Bristol was building the very BMW-like 400 in England. BMW’s management pondered a Fiat Topolino-sized two-seater, but Kurt Donath the senior executive thought something much better and much grander was needed.

1957 BMW 502