1977 BMW 320 Turbo Sedan / 003 Vehicle Information

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo photograph

1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo1977 BMW 320 Turbo
Sedan
Chassis #: 003
Sold for $731,000 at 2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey.
The 320 became BMW's next weapon in the European racing scene after the exit of the highly successful 3.0 CSL. Both non-turbo and turbocharged versions of the highly successful Formula 2 'M12' engine powered these racecars. The BMW Junior Team whose up-and-coming drivers Eddie Cheever, Marc Surer and Manfred Winkelhock drove to eight victories made the non-turbo versions famous in the 1977 German Racing Championship.

The Turbo versions of these cars were raced in both Europe and the US. The European turbo cars had 1.5-liter engines while the US versions had 2.0 liter engines.

This BMW-owned US version of the 320 was developed and campaigned by Team McLaren and driven by David Hobbs to 7 wins in the IMSA Camel GT series in 1977 and 1978. American Jim Busby also campaigned a sister car in the 1979 IMSA Camel GT series.

Significantly, the 320 Turbo engine project served as a test bed for the BMW/Brabham BT52 that took Nelson Piquet and BMW Power to the 1983 Formula 1 World Championship.

Sedan
Chassis #: 003
Sold for $731,000 at 2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey.
The BMW CSL racing program had been very successful in the IMSA GT series in America, prompting the company to approve a new program in late 1976 for the E21 320i. The secondary purpose of this campaign was to develop and test a new turbocharged engine for future use in Formula 1 competition. To accomplish this goal, BMW hired McLaren Engines in Livonia, Michigan, to conduct turbo development and tuning. A suitable engine existed, the 'M12' four-cylinder which had been in use for several seasons in sports cars and F2 racers. The two-liter, twin-cam, sixteen-valve engine offered around 310 horsepower.

BMW Motorsport initially built two cars for the factory IMSA team, chassis number 001 and 002. The steel coachwork of the 320i was replaced with an aerodynamically developed fiberglass body that had been fine-tuned in a Pininfarina wind-tunnel. All non-essential items were removed to help achieve a 740 kg overall weight. Along with low weight, it nearly had a 50/50 weight distribution.

During its inaugural 1977 season, teething problems with its new engine gave the new BMW racer just a handful of wins.

Porsche dominated the 1977 season with their 934s and 935s, however, the BMW did well on the smaller circuits. It was clear that the 320i required further improved, so chassis number 003 was built as a lightweight examples that reduced weight by nearly 300 pounds. It was given modified bodywork with a one-piece hood with integrated fenders, a nose-splitter, and a wider, squared rear end, which allowed for the installation of twin radiators behind the large 19-inch rear wheels. McLarens work on the turbocharged engine lead to a new engine classification, the M12/9 motors, which offered 600 horsepower.

Chassis number 003 made its debut at Lime Rock in May of 1978 where it was driven by factory driver David Hobbs. Unfortunately, Hobbs crashed the car during qualifying. Reliability issues with the turbo plagued the car for much of the remaining season. It did, however, scored a victory at Sears Point in July and a 2nd-place finish at Mid-Ohio in late August. In September, the Lightweight chassis 003 was sent to the Norisring round of the German Manufacturer's Championship, and Hans-Joachim Stuck drove the car to 7th place. Hobbs would finish the 1978 IMSA season in 5th, behind a stack of Porsche 935 teams.

Many of the teething problems had been resolved as the BMW 320i Turbo entered the 1979 season. The three factory-campaigned BMW's were joined by two additional cars which had been allocated to Jim Busby's privateer efforts. McLaren had been busy resolving much of the turbo lag issues and improving the throttle response.

Hobbs drove chassis number 003 to victory at Hallett and 2nd-place finishes at Laguna Seca, Lime Rock, and Brainerd. In early September of 1979, it was brought to the Road America 500 where Hobbs and Derek Bell managed to win the race outright despite issues with the fuel cell. This was a tremendous accomplishment considering the team had nearly withdraw from the race due to the fact that the car rarely lasted in long events.

BMW canceled the 320i Turbo program after the 1979 season, after much of the development work, tuning and testing on the future Formula 1 engine had been completed. The engine, in higher form, would go on to power Nelson Piquet's 1983 Driver's Championship in a Brabham BT52-BMW. Had the 320i IMSA team been better funded, it is undoubtable that it could have done so much more. So much had been learned, tested and proven and many of the teething problems and reliability issues had been resolved.

Chassis number 003 was sold to Harry Haggard of California, who is understood to have simultaneously purchased chassis no. 001. Mr. Haggard stored the 320i for several years before selling it in 1989 to Kerry Morse of Irvine, CA. Morse campaigned the car twice at Laguna Seca, including the 1996 Monterey Historics where BMW was a featured marque. In 2008, it was sold to Henry Schmitt, who comprehensively freshened the car for event use. More recently, the car has raced at the Monterey Historics and the Wine Country Classic, among other events including the 2019 Sonoma Speed Festival.

Chassis number 003 remains as the only 320i Turbo IMSA Lightweight built, one of three examples raced by the factory, and one of five total cars built.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jan 2020


Provenance *
* Please note, dates are approximate

2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey

Pre-Auction Estimates :
USD $750,000-USD $950,000 
Sale Price :
USD $731,000

Recent Sales

(Data based on Model Year 1977 sales)
1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA
Chassis#: 003
Sold for USD$731,000
  2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1977 BMW 320 Turbo image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo image  

Vehicles That Failed To Sell

1977 BMW 320 Turbo's that have appeared at auction but did not sell.
VehicleChassisEventHigh BidEst. LowEst. High

Comparables

Similar sales to the $731,000 range.
2007 PORSCHE GEMBALLA MIRAGE GT COUPÉ
Chassis#:WP0CA29855L001469
Sold for $733,112
2020 Bonhams : The Bonmont Sale
1963 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III Drophead Coupe
Sold for $726,000
2020 Mecum : Indy
2016 Ferrari F12tdf
Chassis#:ZFF81BFAXG0218583
Sold for $731,000
2020 Gooding & Company : Amelia Island
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series 4 GT-Engined Saloon
Chassis#:DB4/836/L
Sold for $725,500
2020 Bonhams : Amelia Island Concours
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1978 BMW 320i Turbo IMSA
Chassis#:003
Sold for $731,000
2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1998 RUF CTR2 Sport
Chassis#:W09BC0360WPR06007
Sold for $736,500
2019 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1964 Maserati 3500 GTi Spyder by Vignale
Chassis#:AM101 2769
Sold for $730,000
2019 RM Sothebys : Amelia Island
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1960 Aston Martin DB4 to GT Specification
Chassis#:DB4/513/R
Sold for $735,697
2018 Bonhams : Goodwood Revival
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sedan by Derham/Bohman & Schwartz
Chassis#:2143
Sold for $737,000
2018 RM Auctions : Auburn Fall
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1965 Aston Martin DB5
Chassis#:DB5/2202/L
Sold for $731,000
2018 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Chassis#:14867
Sold for $726,000
2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
2004 Porsche Carrera GT
Chassis#:WP0ZZZ98Z5L000078
Sold for $726,000
2018 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Chassis#:15835
Sold for $729,367
2018 Silverstone Auction - Ferrari
1965 Lamborghini 350 GT
Chassis#:0253
Sold for $737,000
2018 Gooding & Company : Scottsdale, Az.
2015 Ferrari 458 Speciale Aperta
Sold for $726,000
2018 Mecum : Kissimmee
1926 Mercedes 24/100/140 Phaeton
Chassis#:36010
Sold for $726,000
2017 Gooding & Company : Pebble Beach
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
2011 Ferrari 599 GTO
Chassis#:ZFF70RCA0B0175165
Sold for $737,000
2017 RM Sothebys : Monterey
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1964 Aston Martin DB5 Sports Saloon
Chassis#:DB5/1666/R
Sold for $725,383
2017 Bonhams : The Aston Martin Sale
1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Tourer by Hemmings
Chassis#:35PB
Sold for $726,000
2017 RM Auctions : Amelia Island
1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  1977 BMW 320 Turbo vehicle thumbnail image  
1967 AC Shelby 427 Cobra
Sold for $726,000
2016 Auctions America : Hilton Head

Vehicle Profiles


Vehicle information, history, and specifications from concept to production.

Follow ConceptCarz on Facebook Follow ConceptCarz on Twitter RSS News Feed

Conceptcarz.com
© 1998-2020 Conceptcarz.com Reproduction or reuse prohibited without written consent.