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1935 BMW 315 Willis Special / 51203 Vehicle Information

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

1935 BMW 315 photograph

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Sold for $196,000 at 2018 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction.
The BMW 315 had an aerodynamic body, lightweight construction, a tubular chassis, independent front suspension, and a rack-and-pinion steering setup. This chassis design would later be used to underpin the 328 and the Frazer Nash Le Mans replica.

This BMW 315 Special is one of just 16 examples that were imported by Frazer Nash prior to the outbreak of World War II. The car was purchased by Ron Willis with the original factory bodywork in the winter of 1948. Ron transformed the car into the Willis Special in the style of a Frazer Nash Le Mans. The bodywork and the lightweight magnesium wheels were designed by Ron. In 1950, the engine was replaced with a 2 litre BMW 328 engine with a Bristol head and three SU downdraught carburetors.

The Willis Special raced in both sports car and in Formula 2 competition with his co-driver Charles Bulmer, technical editor of The Motor magazine.

The car was raced extensively from 1949 through 1952 with some success. It earned a class win at the Silverstone in 1949, the Great Auclum Speed Trials, Blandford Camp, and 2nd in class at Prescott.

For 1952, the car raced in approximately 12 events including four Formula 2 events.

In 1953, the car was purchased by Paul Spencer who retained the car until 1968, when it was purchased by John Baker. From there, it entered the Julian Mazjub collection in 1984 before entering the care of Proby Cautley in 2001. Mr. Cautley commissioned a rebuild in 2003. In 2009, the car was purchased by the current owner.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2014
Sold for $196,000 at 2018 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction.
The BMW 315/1 roadster was introduced in the spring of 1934. It wore a design by Peter Szymanowski and it was a 2 seater with a long hood powering a 1490cc straight six engine offering 40 horsepower and mated to a four-speed manual gearbox. Riding on a stiff tubular chassis, the car was nimble and lightweight. It had hydraulic shocks, drum brakes, rack-and-pinion steering, and offered its driver a top speed of 120 kph.

The nimble car was a serious contender in the 1500cc class of competition and was entered into several international competitions. For the 1934 edition of the Alpine Trial (a 1900 mile trek through five countries), the BMW team entered three of their newly introduced 315/1 Roadsters to compete in the under-1500cc class. At the conclusion of the event, the BMW team won the Alpine Cup having scored no penalty points.

The cars were so capable in competition, it persuaded J.H. Aldington of the Frazer-Nash company to seek a contract with BMW to begin importing the cars into Britain, under the name Frazer-Nash BMW.

Chassis number 51203 was in the last group of 14 cars imported to Britain before the War in 1936. It was given registration number ANP 904 and originally sold to Mr. B.L. Bonner of Reigate. After the War, the car was purchased in 1946 by a garage owner and race car builder named Ron C. Willis.
In its stock form, Willis raced the car in trials, springs and hill climbs. Unsatisfied with its performance, Willis modified the car to make it more competitive. Initial modifications included reducing its weight and improving its aerodynamics. The headlights were moved from the wings to an inset position in the bottom of the radiator. The stock steel fenders were replaced with alloy cycle fenders. The full width windscreen was replaced with double screens.

The next series of modifications were carried out with the help of his son-in-law, Charles Bulmer.


By Daniel Vaughan | May 2014



2018 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $250,000-USD $350,000 
Sale Price :
USD $196,000

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1935 sales)
1935-1952 Frazer Nash BMW 315/328 LMC Special Sports-racing two-seater
Chassis#: 51203
Sold for USD$196,000
  2018 Bonhams : Amelia Island Auction
1935 BMW 315 image  1935 BMW 315 image  
1935 BMW 315 in style of Veritas 2000 RS
Chassis#: 48904
Sold for USD$325,097
  2018 Bonhams : Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais
 
1935 BMW Willis Special – FIA Papers
Sold for USD$214,461
  2013 Coys - Autosport 2013
 

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1935 BMW 315's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High

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BMW 315 Vehicle Profiles
Roadster
BMW 315 Roadster

Model Year: 1934
Profile
Roadster
BMW 315 Roadster

Chassis Num: 47706
Engine Num: 55054
Model Year: 1934
Profile and Auction History
Willis Special
BMW 315 Willis Special

Chassis Num: 51203
Engine Num: 100B2 4287
Model Year: 1935
Profile and Auction History

Roadster
BMW 315 Roadster

Chassis Num: 51859
Model Year: 1935
Profile


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