16-17 January 2014
1939 BMW 327/28 Coupe
To be auctioned on Thursday, January 16, 2014
Sold for $176,000
- Chassis no. 74509
- One of only 86 examples produced
- Equipped with the desirable 80-horsepower M328 engine
- The rarer of the two 327/28 models
The Bayerische Motoren Werke was a full decade old before its first automobile was built. Originally an aero engine manufacturer, the company purchased the Dixi Werke of Eisenach in 1928 and continued to manufacture the smallest Dixi product, a license-built version of the Austin Seven. The BMW badge was adopted for these cars in January 1929.
Growth was rapid. By 1934, BMW was building the Type 315, a 1,490-cubic centimeter car that was available in 40-brake horsepower, triple-carburetor tune. The 1936 Berlin Auto Show heralded an important BMW development, the 326. It was the company’s first four-door sedan, and it had a 1,971-cubic centimeter, 50-brake horsepower engine that was capable of 72 mph. The styling was more streamlined than earlier BMWs, and it would define the marque until World War II. The 326 begat several variations that overshadowed its parent models, the 320, a cheaper four-cylinder car, and the 327, a short-chassis, two-seat coupe or convertible.
However, it was the sporting 328 that made the biggest news. It had the same 1,971-cubic centimeter cylinder block but a new crossflow head with hemispherical combustion chambers, which used short horizontal pushrods to operate opposing exhaust valves from the single camshaft. This gave twin-cam performance with less complexity and lower cost. A twin-tube chassis was used, and it was topped with a two-seat sporting body. Top speed of the standard model was 96 mph, but the renowned British driver S.C.H. “Sammy” Davis clocked 102.16 at Brooklands in a lightweight prototype. A streamlined 328 won the two-liter class at Le Mans in 1939, and the same car, which was part of a five-car team, won the 1940 Mille Miglia outright.
The 328 was offered only as a compact two-seater. However, from 1938, the more powerful 328 engine became available in the 327, which was designated somewhat ambiguously as 327/28. Production, which continued through 1940, comprised 482 Sport cabriolets, 86 Sport coupes, and one bare chassis.
The example offered here was purchased in 2001 by a collector in Germany from Heinz Landzettel. In 2003, the car became the recipient of an extensive body-off restoration that was carried out by its owner. During the process, the car was stripped down to its foundations and fully restored. The car file includes a small number of photographs, which verify that the car was stripped down to bare metal and highlight the high quality of the work that was carried out. At the same time, the original M328, which is the heart of the 327/28, was replaced with an identical power unit that had been fully rebuilt. The exterior was finished in an exquisite two-tone grey scheme, and the interior was finished with a complementing scheme of grey leather upholstery and carpeting.
In 2007, this 328 was sold to Latvian collector Mark Meerov, before coming to the United States more recently. In the years since its restoration, this little Coupe has been nicely maintained, and more recent work that has been carried out on the car includes the replacement of the generator and fuel pump. The restoration has mellowed gracefully since completion, and its appearance is commensurate with the 1,703 kilometers that have been added since 2003. This example is peppy, highly attractive, and eminently drivable, and it would be a great and unusual addition to the enthusiast’s stable.
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