The BMW 328 profile – Roots of “driving pleasure”
Anyone who has ever sat behind the wheel of a BMW 328 understands why the words “driving pleasure” are still deeply rooted in BMW’s DNA to this day.
The sonorous six-cylinder in-line engine is eager even at low revs and, thanks to the direct rack and pinion steering, the car’s movements are pleasingly accurate. Hydraulic drum brakes slow the car surprisingly well and you quickly realise that you are dealing with a true driver’s car.
No matter if you’re in the ‘basic’ 80bhp version or one of the performance-optimised models of historic racing, it’s an impressive machine. Race variants could produce up to 135bhp thanks to a new camshaft and flow-optimised cylinder heads. Weighing just 780kg, the 328 was a sensation in the 2-litre class.
History of the BMW 328
When the car made its debut on 14 June 1936 at the Nürburgring, the BMW 328 saw off all of its competitors. During the Le Mans endurance race, BMW took the first three places with the BMW 328. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, in 1940 Huschke von Hanstein won the Italian Mille Miglia with a special streamlined variant.
With the acquisition of Eisenacher Motorenwerke (EMW), which produced a replica of the British Austin Seven, BMW entered the automotive market after the First World War. With the further development of the Dixi 3/15 PS, the BMW 3/20 PS, followed by the BMW 315/1 1934, a sports car construction that was so successful that it was also built under licence by Frazer-Nash in England,. BMW had arrived on the international automotive stage!
The 326 followed in 1936, the first true vehicle from BMW, which also served as the basis for the new BMW 328. The rear of the 328 is reminiscent of the 55bhp BMW 319/1, but the front had a much longer bonnet secured in place with two leather straps. Around 400 vehicles and 59 chassis were manufactured between 1936 and 1940, with official estimates suggesting that just 200 BMW 328s still exist today.
Matching Numbers BMW 328
If you want to get an original “matching numbers” BMW 328, you need to pay close attention. Many original bodies now carry parts and engines from production partners Frazer-Nash and Bristol. The Frazer-Nash BMW 328 and Bristol 400 series were technically similar vehicles.
After the Second World War, various racing brands used the powerful BMW 328 engines to create racing cars for the newly introduced Formula 2 class. The motors of many BMW 328s still live on in various Veritas, AFM, Cooper, Frazer Nash, Lotus or Lister racing cars from the 1950s.
Text Christian Plagemann Fotos BMW Group
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