1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207

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Lot 265
1938 BMW 328 Roadster
Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207

Sold for € 376,000 (US$ 438,228) inc. premium
1938 BMW 328 Roadster
Chassis no. 85207
Engine no. 85207


  • BMW’s emergence as a manufacturer of fine sporting motor cars can be traced back to the annual Eifelrennen event held at the Nürburgring on 14th June 1936, when Ernst Henne beat a field that included 1½-litre monoposto racing cars driving the prototype of what would become one of the most iconic sports cars of all time – the legendary ‘328’. The fact that this overwhelming victory had been achieved only eight years after BMW’s establishment as an automobile manufacturer is all the more remarkable.
    It had been the acquisition of the Dixi works at Eisenach in 1928 that provided BMW, hitherto a manufacturer of aero engines and motorcycles, with a foothold in car manufacturing. Dixi’s built-under-license version of the Austin Seven was gradually developed and improved, ending up with swing-axle suspension and overhead valves, and then in 1933 came the first true BMW - the six-cylinder 303. The latter adopted a twin-tube frame and abandoned the rear swing axles in favour of a conventional live axle, while up front there was a superior transverse-leaf IFS and rack-and-pinion steering. These features, along with the four-bearing, overhead-valve engine, would provide the basis for the more powerful and sportingly inclined models to follow.
    Lacking the resources of larger and longer established rivals, BMW adopted an evolutionary, ‘mix and match’ approach to model development. Thus the 328 employed the tubular chassis, transverse-leaf independent front suspension and live rear axle of the 319; the cylinder block and hydraulic brakes of the 326; and a body incorporating stylistic elements of the 319/1 Sport and 329. With the 328, BMW’s Chief Engineer Fritz Fiedler turned accepted chassis design on its head, coming up with a frame that combined lightness and stiffness in equal measure - virtues that permitted the use of relatively soft springing with all its attendant advantages. In short: the 328 was the first truly modern sports car.
    The 328’s six-cylinder engine featured an ingenious new cylinder head, designed by Rudolf Schleicher, which incorporated hemispherical combustion chambers and inclined valves without recourse to overhead, or twin camshafts. Instead, the Type 326, 1,971cc engine’s single, block-mounted camshaft and pushrod valve actuation were retained, thus avoiding an expensive redesign. Two rocker shafts were employed, one situated above each bank of valves, giving the engine an external appearance almost indistinguishable from that of a twin-overhead-cam design. Down-draught inlet ports contributed to the motor’s deep breathing, and its tune-ability made it a popular choice for British racing car constructors, most notably Cooper, during the 1950s. The 328 engine produced 80bhp, an exemplary output for a normally aspirated 2.0-litre unit at that time, with more available in race trim.
    The two door-less 328 prototypes and the first batch of cars were lightweight racers with aluminium coachwork intended to establish the model’s competition credentials before production proper got under way. Available from the late summer of 1936, the production 328s featured doors and a convertible hood, and were well equipped and very comfortable in the manner of the best Grands Routiers. On the racetrack, the 328 reigned supreme, winning its class at the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Spa 24 Hours and Britain’s Tourist Trophy. In 1940 an example fitted with special aerodynamic bodywork won the Mille Miglia outright.
    The most advanced sports car of its day, the 328 remained competitive for years after the war, a state of affairs that only served to further enhance its reputation, which was out of all proportion to the limited number produced. Between 1936 and 1939 only 426 BMW 328s were made, of which fewer than 200 are believed to exist today. Generally regarded as one of the very few pre-war models that drives like a post-war car, the BMW 328 is eligible for all the most important historic events including the Mille Miglia, Nürburgring Oldtimer GP and Le Mans Historic.
    This particular example comes with a certificate of authenticity from BMW Mobile Tradition recording that the car, finished in white, was delivered new in March 1938 to Messrs Dobernecker & Groh, Leipzig. Taken behind the Iron Curtain by the Russians after the war, it was road registered in Budapest in the 1960s and comes with a copy of Hungarian registration papers issued to the previous owner, Mr Varga, in 1981. The car was complete and running when acquired by the current vendor, albeit missing its original instruments and some trim, and has since been fully restored to correct road specification.

    Cet exemplaire est accompagné d'un certificat d'authenticité de BMW Mobile Tradition, indiquant que, peinte alors en blanc, la voiture a été livrée neuve en mars 1938 à MM. Dobernecker & Groh, à Leipzig. Emmenée par les Russes de l'autre côté du Rideau de Fer après la guerre, elle a été immatriculée à Budapest dans les années soixante et comporte une copie de ses papiers hongrois, délivrés en 1981 au précédent propriétaire, M. Varga. La voiture était complète et en état de marche lorsque le propriétaire actuel en a fait l'acquisition. Il ne manquait que quelques instruments et garnitures. Depuis, elle a bénéficié d'une restauration complète, conforme aux spécifications routières. Eligible pour la Mille Miglia et Le Mans Classic ces magnifiques autos sont très recherchées par les amateurs éclairés.
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
1938 BMW 328 Roadster  Chassis no. 85207 Engine no. 85207
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