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1976 BMW 528 GT Coupe by Frua

After BMW’s takeover of Glas in the late 60s, the latter’s subcontracted exterior designer, Pietro Frua, saw an opportunity to establish a lucrative new relationship. As a result, he spent the next decade trying to lure BMW towards his styling services via a series of concept cars.

Earlier in the 1960s, Turin-born Frua had been tasked with styling an entirely new range for Glas, a small Bavaria-based manufacturer that had made the leap from scooters and microcars to mid-range saloons and sports cars. In 1968, BMW completed the takeover of its smaller neighbor – but it was for reasons to do with engineering patents and factory space, rather than a fondness for the marque’s styling.

Undeterred, Frua set about creating several BMW-based concept cars in the hope of design contracts for large-scale production runs from the Bavarian big fish. One of his final attempts came in 1976, in the 528 GT Coupé. Taking a standard E12 saloon, Frua created a coupé body that bore all the trademark BMW cues yet had a distinctly Italian flavor. Its resemblance to the Bertone-styled Alfa Romeo Montreal was obvious; there was a hint of Lancia in there, too. Ultimately, Frua’s vision never came to fruition, and BMW decided to go it alone with its in-house design team. However, some historians argue that his influence lived vicariously through the marque’s subsequent offerings.

Source: Frua’s BMW 528 GT Coupé could have been Bavaria’s Montreal ....

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