One of the most special showcased by BMW Classic at the 2021 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este was BMW 2800 GTS. The name might not ring a bell immediately, but the car is certainly rich in history. That’s because the 2800 GTS was made by Italian coachbuilder Pietro Frua.
The car was based on the BMW E9 platform but it looked almost nothing like it. The car was introduced at the Frankfurt show in 1969, and did the rounds of the motor shows for several years, including Paris in 1969 and Geneva and Barcelona in 1970.
Frua was the one that decided to create a truly bespoke car and he definitely gave it a bespoke look. This car started life as a 2800 CS but Frua wanted a bit more style. The front end was more aggressive than the BMW models with a sweeping angle to the front kidney grille. The headlights that were set back from the edge of the bonnet. The rear lights were from the E3 sedan.
Regardless of the aggressive sloping roof line, the BMW 2800 GTS was a four seater with a large rear hatch. BMW tested the car in 1970, but unfortunately it wasn’t deemed suitable for production. Later on, Frua sold the 2800GTS to someone living in Barcelona in 1971.
It remained in Spain for over a decade and it was later repainted in red. It came up for sale in 2000 in the Netherlands. The guys from BMW Classic got their hands on it and started a proper restoration job. The myth goes some like this: The mechanics over at BMW Group Classic spotted a tiny dot of the original paint inside the fuel filler cap and managed to bring this beauty back to its original color. The process of restoring it to its original glory (and color) started in 2017 and was finished in 2019.
The car can be seen at BMW’s headquarters in Munich and from time to time at special car events, like the one in Cernobbio.