In terms of design and development, the year 1966 was a step towards vehicle modernization as we understand it here and now. Of course, BMWs New Class sedans were in their fifth year of production, had been known to the public since 1961, and were continuing to sell exceedingly well. What had begun with the successful (though by 1966 no longer in production) 1500 model, was carrying on in high style with the still more popular 1800 model, and to a lesser extent with the 1600 which had nominally replaced the 1500. Yes, the 1966 BMW 1800 was in many respects a case of business as usual within the BMW production line, and rightly so. The model was selling very well and had effectively addressed a number of 1500 model power and performance complaints voiced by consumers and automobile reviewers.
Central to the 1800 models success had been its pushing the M10s capacity from its 1.5-liter baseline to the 1.8-liter capacity it had always been capable of accommodating. The additional 10 horsepower was a boon and struck a this porridge is just right chord with a public which had been harboring hopes BMW since that fateful 1961 New Class showcase. But 1966 also saw BMW flirting with the future of consumer demand, as it was then that the automatic transmission option was introduced. This was merely an alternative and did not represent a major change in the overall 1966 BMW 1800 production trajectory. It did, however, suggest that BMW was committed to maintaining a strategic marketing and design edge over rivals who had years earlier written them off for dead. Collectors and car aficionados with a penchant for firsts, might consider working with an esteemed dealership in tracking down a 1966 BMW 1800 with an automatic transmission.
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