At the 1951 Frankfurt Motor Show, BMW unveiled the 501, marking their first completely new car manufactured in Bavaria following the end of World War II. The car’s smooth contours and rounded shapes earned it the nickname “barockengel,” or “baroque angel,” due to its resemblance to the popular artistic style.
The 501 featured a freshly developed overhead-valve 2.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, known internally as the M337, which produced 64 horsepower and transmitted power to a four-speed manual transmission. The car’s suspension system was comprised of front double A-arms and a live rear axle equipped with torsion bars. Buyers could choose from three body styles, including a sedan, cabriolet, and coupe.
In 1954, BMW introduced two updated versions of the 501: the 501a, featuring a more potent inline six-cylinder engine and a lower price point, and the 501b, which had the same engine as the 501a but fewer features.
The following year, BMW gave the model yet another designation, the 501/3, after replacing the inline-six with a larger one. Additionally, BMW offered the 501-8, which was equipped with a 2.6-liter V-8 engine and had been introduced a year earlier in the more upscale 502 model.
Source: RM Sotheby’s