If I’m being honest, when I first saw the announcement for the second-ever Kith-BMW collaboration, the Kith i4 M50, I was more interested in the third car in the press materials, a 1972 1602 Elektro designed by Kith founder, Ronnie Fieg.
The story behind Kith’s 1602 Elektro starts 50 years ago at the 1972 Olympics. BMW created its first electric car, the 1602 Elektro-Antrieb (1602e), which was used for filming various long-distance olympic events. While the exterior of the 1602e looked like a standard 1602, save for the “Elektro-Antrieb” graphics on the doors, there were major changes under the hood and floor. The stock engine was replaced with twelve sizable lead-acid batteries, weighing in at over 770 pounds. To go along with the 12kW battery back, a 32kW electric motor was fitted where the transmission would normally reside. The 1602e even had an early form of regenerative braking. This setup afforded the 1602e a top speed of just over 60 mph and a range of about 30 miles. While that may not sound great, consider the range of a well-used i3 may only be double that.
The Kith 1602 Elektro pays homage to the original 1602e and “adds bespoke Kith details inside and out along with a color scheme to mirror the i4 M50 by Kith,” per BMW. That color scheme consists of limited-edition Kith Vitality Green paintwork over BMW Individual Caramel Merino leather. The one-off Kith 1602 Elektro and the Kith i4 M50 will be the only BMWs to ever wear this unique paint color. BMW plans to present the 1602 Elektro to Fieg for his personal collection to celebrate their recent collaboration.
As the Kith 1602 Elektro is already spoken for, if you’re interested in adding a Kith BMW to your garage you may shift your gaze to the Kith i4 M50. Good luck–production is limited to only seven examples worldwide. Accompanying the Vitality Green paint and Caramel Merino leather, the Kith i4 M50 receives a custom roundel, custom engraved cup holder lid and dash trim panel, embossed headrests, and a new Kith 51-piece lifestyle collection in size medium. (You can have any size you want, as long as it’s size medium.) Still interested? Per the Kith blog, all seven examples are being sold in an online auction. “The auction will open online at Sothebys.com/KithforBMW on Friday, October 7th at 11 a.m. EST with a starting bid of $1. The auction will end at 2 p.m. EST on October 14th.”
While I don’t have the goal to own a Kith BMW, I have been wanting to see one in the flesh ever since the brand’s first BMW collaboration in 2020, the Kith M4 Competition. It just so happened that a few weeks ago, I was able to catch one of the 150 Kith M4s in the wild at Katie’s Cars and Coffee in Great Falls, Virginia. It’s nice to know that even with such low production numbers, there are owners using these rare vehicles to enjoy open roads and fresh pavement. —Mike Bevels
[Photos courtesy of Kith, BMW, and Mike Bevels.]