Image credits: © BMW.

1937 BMW 328

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Autenrieth

Chassis Num: 85112
Engine Num: 85112

Bayerische Motoren Werke was formed by the merger of two aero engine manufacturers during World War I. When wartime came to an end, the company was forbidden to make aeronautical components. So the company branched out into production of motorcycle....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

Chassis Num: 85135
Engine Num: 85209

On June 14th of 1936, at the annual Eifelrennen event held at the Nurburgring, a strong field of race cars was defeated by Ernst Henne driving the prototype BMW 328 roadster. Fritz Fiedler, the company's chief engineer, gave the 328 a solid but light....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Cabriolet
Coachwork: Wendler

The BMW 328 is considered to be one of the most modern prewar cars. It became famous after a special low-drag Touring Superleggera coupe finished fifth overall at the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans and won the two-liter class. For customers who wanted the ....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 85337

This 328 chassis number 85337 was one of the three ordered by the German government to run in the 2-liter class for the 1939 season. They finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in class at LeMans. Later that year, they again finished 1-2-3 in the replacement M....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 85095
Engine Num: 85095

At the annual Eifelrennen event held at the Nurburgring on June 14th, 1936, Ernst Henne outpaced a field in a prototype of what would become the legendary 328. This achievement was accomplished only eight years after BMW's establishment as an automob....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

Chassis Num: 85014

This car, #85014, was delivered on April 30, 1937 to dealer Schoth & Co. in Berlin where it was purchased by the famous German race driver Fritz Huschke von Hanstein. Von Hanstein raced this car during the war under the sponsorship of the SS with the....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

This was the fifth example of the model delivered by BMW in April 1937 and all body parts are stamped with the number 6. After World War II the car was owned (possibly claimed) by a U.S. Air Force officer based at Chaumont in France who returned to t....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: DPX 653

In the late 1940s, DPX 653 was owned by Alfred Moss whose son Stirling Moss started his illustrious career in this car. The current owners bought this Frazer Nash 328 and brought it back from Australia in 1987. The car remains in their UK collection.....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

In the 328 Roadster BMW produced a car which became a legend of sportscar and racing history. It dominated on the German and international racing circuits in the late 1930s. This 1937 BMW 328 is the second oldest 328 in existence. Being a very early ....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

The prototype BMW 328 roadster was first seen at the 1936 Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring when it was driven to 1st place by Ernst Henne. The 328 was powered by a 6-cylinder engine designed by Rudolf Schleicher with a revolutionary new cylinder head w....[continue reading]

1937 BMW 328 vehicle information

Roadster
Coachwork: Touring

Chassis Num: 85021

Arguably one of the most successful sports cars of the 1930s racing scene, the BMW 328 represents the first BMW to exhibit the hallmarks that continue to inspire the brand. Style combined agile handling through lightweight and balanced design and con....[continue reading]

Cabriolet by Autenrieth
Chassis #: 85112 
Roadster by Touring
Chassis #: 85135 
Cabriolet by Wendler
 
Roadster
Chassis #: 85337 
Roadster
Chassis #: 85095 
Roadster by Touring
Chassis #: 85014 
Roadster by Touring
 
Roadster
Chassis #: DPX 653 
Roadster by Touring
 
Roadster by Touring
 
Roadster by Touring
Chassis #: 85021 

History

In 1936, BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) introduced the Type 328. The vehicle was stylish and aerodynamic. The design of the vehicle, courtesy of Fritz Fiedler, provided excellent handling and the inline-six cylinder engine produced excellent performance. The engine featured a cast iron block and dual overhead valves per cylinder bank. The total output was around 80 horsepower. The engine was placed in the front and provided power to the rear wheels. The body panels were constructed of a light-weight alloy. The chassis was comprised of a tubular space frame construction.

As was sometimes the custom with many early European vehicles, the coachwork was handled by a custom coachbuilder. Examples exist where the famous Figoni et Falaschi Carrosserie of Paris, France outfitted the vehicle with exquisit designs.

The vehicle was very successful on the racing circuit winning such races as a class win at the Mille Miglia in 1938. In 1940 it was first in class and first overall. At the 1939 Le Mans 24 Hour race it place fifth overall and first in class. A 328 won the RAC Rally in 1939.

During the close of the 1940's, Jaguar introduced the XK-120, a vehicle that was similar in design to the BMW Type 328.


By Daniel Vaughan | Sep 2006
The BMW 328 Roadster was a compact two-seater with leather straps adorning the front hood and a very potent force in the racing scene. It was powered by a lightweight six-cylinder engine bred from the success of its siblings, and fitted to a short-wheelbase chassis, the 328's were very sporty, culminating with a win at the 1940 Mille Miglia.

Racing has always been important; it perfects the breed and promotes the brand. BMW's six-cylinder engine from the 1934 315 became the basis for 328. The 1.5-liter version had modest success in its racing class, but more was required to keep it competitive in the under 2-liter category. A new, larger version of the engine was developed, resulting in an increase in horsepower to 55 bhp. This was an increase by 15hp. The new engine was fitted to a chassis and dubbed the 319. Visually, few aesthetic differences existed between the 315 and the 319. They were nearly identical, except under-hood.

In 1936, the 326 was introduced. It was a larger vehicle to the 315 but had 55 horsepower. The increase in horsepower and size gave it only a slight increase in performance over its 315 sibling. The following year, a two-seater cabriolet version was introduced, called the 327. This, in similar guise to the 319, was unable to match its performance resulting in slow sales.

BMW responded by improving their engine, creating a new cylinder head, and modifying the valve train. The valve train was very similar to other marque's of the day, such as Riley and Talbot, where a lateral camshaft actuated the inlet and outlet valves with push-rods and rocker arms. Installed opposite to one another, with each on either sides of the engine, resulting in a hemispherical combustion chamber. These modifications gave the engine a significant boost in power, up by 25bhp over its predecessor, to 80bhp.

In 1936, the engine made its debut in the 328 at the Eiffel Rennen race. It was piloted by Ernst Henne and easily won the 2-liter class. On its inaugural race, the engine had proven to be reliable and powerful. Privateers took notice, and help make the vehicle both a sales success and a dominate force on the racing circuit.

The 328 was given drum brakes in both front and rear, a rack-and-pinon steering setup, and a tubular steel chassis. The lightweight aluminum body concealed the 2-liter, six-cylinder engine and its available 80 horsepower. The engine had a cast-iron block and aluminum heads with two-valves per cylinder. The front suspension featured swing axles and transverse leaf springs while in the rear there was a live axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs. The engine was mated to a ZF four-speed manual gearbox and sent power to the rear wheels. The standard wheelbase size for the roadsters was 94.5 inches and a length of 153.5 inches. With an overweight of around 1800 lbs, the pre-War BMW 328 was very lightweight, nimble, and fast.

The 328 came in various configurations, such as roadster and cabriolets. Custom coachbuilders such as Wendler and Drauz, and Glaeser created many of the cabriolet versions, noted for their luxurious amenities and elegant style. The Roadster bodies were the standard configuration with most assembled by the factory. Touring was tasked with creating purpose-built versions for the 1939 24 Hours of LeMans. The 'Superlegerra' (Meaning lightweight) construction methods were used coupled with a design meant to minimize drag. The result was astonishing, with a fifth place overall finish and an outright victory in the two-liter class.

For 1940, BMW turned their sights on the grueling Mille Miglia race. Five cars were entered and one emerged in first place. Baron Fritz Huschke von Kanstein drove a special-bodied BMW 328 Coupe to victory. It featured a streamlined body with aluminum and magnesium alloy construction. Overall, the 328's finished in first, third, fifth and sixth at the 1940 Mille Miglia. The 3rd, 5th, and 6th positions were captured by roadster bodied 328s. The final 328 version entered in the race was a limousine-bodied car that was tailored for racing and given aerodynamic features courtesy of Professor Wunibald Kamm. It was driven by Count Lurani but failed to finish the race.

During the production lifespan of the 328, BMW and Frazer Nash both produced 328s. BMW supplied the British-based Frazer Nash Company with rolling chassis. Total production for all 328 models was around 426 with around half still in existence.

The 328 engine would be used in the post-war Era, by BMW, Bristol, and AC in various forms. It would be used to power such cars as Cooper Bristols Formula 2 racers.


By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2008

Mille Miglia Vehicles

1937 BMW Models

Concepts by BMW

Similar Vehicles

Similarly Sized Vehicles
from 1937

BMW Monthly Sales Volume

July 2019
23,015
June 2019
31,627
May 2019
27,109
April 2019
23,816
March 2019
32,228
February 2019
23,558
January 2019
18,102
December 2018
34,357
November 2018
28,330
October 2018
23,262
September 2018
25,908
August 2018
23,789
Additional Sales Volume Data


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