1965 1800 Ti/SA
1965 BMW 1800 Ti/SA #99146
1,773cc M118 OHC inline four-cylinder, 130 hp @ 6,100 rpm
Lance and Diane White (since 2011)
With the New Class sedan, BMW finally had a car that could compete for overall GT victories. In 1964, the factory team campaigned the 1800 Ti, or “Turismo Internationale,” a lighter, more powerful version of the standard 1800. In May, the 1800 Ti scored a surprising 7th at the Nürburgring 6-Hour, and an even more impressive 2nd overall at the 24 Hours of Spa that July.
The result prompted a full-on homologation special. Between February and June 1965, BMW made 200 examples of the 1800 Ti/SA, a “Turismo Internationale/Sport-Ausführung” or Sport Edition. Offered to licensed racers for 13,000 Deutschmarks ($3,258), the Ti/SA had dual Weber 45 DCOE carbs in place of Solexes, new pistons, a 10.2:1 compression ratio (up from 9.3), larger intake and exhaust valves, and a 300° camshaft, upping power from 110 to 130 hp at 6,100 rpm. The car got a 5-speed Getrag sport gearbox, limited slip differential, rear anti-roll bar, Koni shocks, bucket seats, and a protective plate for the oil sump. Options included a 105-liter fuel tank in place of the standard 53-liter and alloy wheels, but colors were limited to Bristol (gray) or Chamonix (white).
Of the 200 Ti/SAs built, 54 were sent to the US, where many were campaigned in SCCA and Trans-Am races. Others, like the car seen here, 1800 Ti/SA #99146, were used as daily drivers. Imported to the US by Hoffman Motor Corp., #99146 was sold in 1967 by Swedish Car Craft in Niles, Illinois to a Mr. Frederickson. The bartender at Nielsen’s Restaurant in Elmwood Park, Frederickson drove it for some 16,500 miles. After a divorce, it sat in his ex-wife’s backyard for over a year until young neighbor Craig Bixler asked if he could tinker with it. In 1973, Bixler purchased #99146 from Christen Frederickson for $300. He kept the Ti/SA until the engine seized in the late ’70s. Unable to afford the parts to fix it, Bixler sold the car to BMW dealer Bill Knauz for $2,000. Knauz had the engine rebuilt and planned to restore it until the car rolled down a driveway and into a tree, damaging its nose.
In June 1994, BMW enthusiast Don Dethlefsen bought #99146 for $5,815.15. He repaired significant water damage and replaced its 1.8-liter engine with a 2.0-liter M10, and its original gearbox with a stouter 5-speed from the E21 3 Series. It was Dethlefsen’s first restoration, finished in 1997 prior to his founding of The Werk Shop. He drove the Ti/SA on several long-distance rallies before selling it to Lance and Diane White in 2011.