With BMW being one of the oldest automakers in the business, it’s no wonder it has a fascinating history. We’re not just talking about the cars that went into production but also those left on the proverbial cutting room floor. Even if you are a diehard fan, the “E19” internal codename is unlikely to ring a bell. That’s because the car never actually existed.

As I was reading Steve Saxty’s “BMW’s Hidden Gems” book, I discovered more than just the Garmisch concept’s Italian connection. In 1967, BMW tasked French design studio Brissonau & Lotz (B&L) and its then-new designer Paul Bracq to work on a project. The idea was to build an affordable sporty convertible based on the 1600ti. It was even assigned a codename – E19.

In the book, legendary car designer Paul Bracq recalls working on a fullsize scale model with an optional hardtop. He already had plenty of experience, having previously worked on the Mercedes W113 roadster, the 230 SL aka “Pagoda.” A lot of effort was put into the BMW E19 since the small roadster also had the interior finalized.

Ultimately, it sadly never came to be. B&L, also a locomotive engineering company, ran into serious issues. It was split into multiple parts, some of which were acquired by Renault and Peugeot. B&L was eventually absorbed by the Alstom French multinational rolling stock manufacturer in the early 1970s. The E19 project was abandoned. Paul Bracq told Steve Saxty the French automakers weren’t keen on the idea of producing a German car:

“The French car companies prohibited the manufacture of a German car, otherwise I would have this lovely BMW in my garage today.”

Although the E19 never saw the light of day, it did convince BMW to hire Paul Bracq. Board member of sales Paul Hahnemann saw the finished roadster and had the idea the designer would be a great asset. He put in a good word and convinced R&D board member Bernhard Osswald to hire him in 1970.

This rare sketch was seen for the first time last year during an exhibit of Paul Bracq’s work in Romania. The book has several other sketches of the E19, along with a pair of V8 coupes created before the roadster. Those were proposals for a model tailored to American tastes, but didn’t get the green light either.

If you’re interested in reading more BMW design behind-the-scenes stories, then the three-volume boxed is available at a pre-order price of £244.95, around $300.. Alternatively, the principal book, “BMW by Design” is available immediately for $99.95/€90.02/£88.10; all with free shipping in USA, UK and EU.