Bonhams: Concept BMW auction


The Bonhams Powered by BMW auction last week was bulging with desirable cars and memorabilia, one that caught my attention was the SpiCup, a collaboration of German engineering clad in Italian design. The SpiCup was a concept by BMW, designed by Bertone, its name coming from a joining together of Spider and Coupé, surely a name thought up on a Friday afternoon just before heading to the pub.

Having the underpinnings of the BMW 2500 and 2800 engine it was a fully functional car and appeared at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show and at the Frankfurt Motor Show the same year on the Bertone stand. Designed in house by Bertone designers Giorgetto Giugiaro and, some years later, Marcello Gandini who seems to be given most of the credit for its final design. Gandini is the guy responsible for the flappy light thing on the Alfa Montreal and obviously the SpiCup was its influence. The shape of the targa roof is also said to have played a part in the X1/9 roof design and there are a lot of other design features that look quite familiar to later Bertone models.

The SpiCup also has a history all of its own, being rejected by BMW as a design that did not fit their thoughts on where they wanted to go, it was reportedly sold to a Dutch car dealer who made it road legal and sold it to someone as an everyday runaround. It went on to be used as a daily driver, nipping down the shops and hairdressers for the next ten or so years. Presumably the ability of the SpiCup to withstand the daily grind was down to the fact that it was based on the BMW 2500 so replacement parts were available. I can imagine the sinking feeling a service manager would get seeing this car pulling into the workshop, no parts micro-fishe, no going to the local motor factors for plugs and points, it’s hard enough to get the right parts for production cars.

After the ten year period of what I assume must have been happy motoring, the car was put into storage and didn’t see the light again until 2008 when it was bought by a collector. The SpiCup was next seen at shows in 2009 after being fully restored and it even spent some time in the BMW museum. On Saturday the 1st of October 2011 it went to auction and was sold for a bargain price of €430,000, that’s the price you pay for an interesting history I guess.