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THE BMW 328 TURNS 75May 11, 2011
Few cars can claim to hold as much fascination in the eyes of the public 75 years after their premiere as the BMW 328. Built between 1936 and 1940, the BMW 328 laid down a milestone in automotive history and was the most successful sports car of the 1930s on the racing scene. Agility, acceleration, reliability and lightweight construction –...more below
The BMW 328 Turns 75
Having started life as a racing car mid-way through 1936, series production of the road-going BMW 328 began in spring 1937. However, the high-performance sports car did not remain the preserve of works drivers; while it was a fine racing machine, it was also equally as impressive in everyday use. This meant that pri-vate customers could also enjoy the unadulterated Roadster experience laid on by a high-output engine and unimpeachable roadholding.
On the road, its top speed of 155 km/h made it one of the quickest cars around. And, with only 464 examples ever made, the BMW 328 is today one of the most sought-after collector’s items on the market. Its allure lies in the timelessly beauty of an open-top two-seater, its still convincing engineering and the aura that countless racing victories had created around it. After all, the BMW 328 was not only one of the most visually appealing sports cars of the pre-war period, in the 1930s it was also the most successful racing machine in Europe.
The premiere of the BMW 328.
The history of the BMW 328 got off to a rousing start. Eschewing the now tradi-tional motor show premiere, the sports car was first introduced to an admiring public in an altogether feistier environment – namely the International Eifel Race at the Nürburgring on 14 June 1936. A blanket of silence enveloped the new arrival in the lead-up to the race. Only a handful of insiders were let in on the secret, a modest brochure released to this select inner circle in late 1935 revealing the existence of a new 2-litre sports car to be known henceforth under the designation “Typ 328”. Its defiantly understated billing was notably short of fanfare, with output and km/h figures conspicuous only by their absence. Indeed, the car’s premiere even went without announcement in the press. The Roadster version, whose arrival was to revolutionise the sports car world over the subsequent two years, was unveiled almost as an after-thought, without drum roll or glitzy presentation. It was left to its abilities on the road to prick the public consciousness.
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