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Classic of the Month

BMW 328

85th Anniversary

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The BMW 328, which wrote sports car and motor sport history in the 1930s, is a motoring milestone and one of the models that to this day is responsible for the racing image its manufacturer.

In June 1936, BMW wrote a new sports car chapter with the 328. The compact two-seater's debut took place at the Eifelrennen race on the Nürburgring and couldn't have gone better: Thanks to its high-performance two-litre, six-cylinder engine, the 79bhp BMW 328 outclassed its in part considerably more powerful competitors by a long shot. Its success was unstoppable: In those days, there was hardly a major race where the sports car did not win in its class. The two-seater convertible, which weighed less than 800 kilograms, thereby managed to establish itself as the most successful sports car in its class – a sensational achievement, considering it had no compressor.

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A high-performance two-litre, six-cylinder engine and 79bhp made the BMW 328 a racing legend.

Its elegantly curved wings, leather straps across the bonnet and a spare wheel cover make it particularly distinctive.

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Sporting success thanks to special aerodynamics

The BMW 328's sporting success was also due to its streamlined and aerodynamic body whose typical characteristics include elegantly curved wings, leather straps across the bonnet and a spare wheel cover. Designers Rudolf Schleicher and Fritz Fiedler created an amalgam of special properties: They ensured perfect road holding thanks to a streamlined design and a low weight and combined this with a high-performance engine. As the first six-cylinder BMW, the 328 not only dominated its motor sports class in the 1930s but was also responsible for the revival of the German motor racing scene after the Second World War by the 1950s.

Special collector's piece from the 1930s

A mere 464 were built between 1936 and 1940, which is why the BMW 328 is now one of the most sought after collector's items. Fifty-nine of these models left the factory in Eisenach not with the standard purist roadster body but were given their bodies by external coachbuilders – the 1938 model on show in the ZeitHaus is one of these. Once the chassis and the technology had been completed, the company Karl Weinberger in Munich added an elegant convertible body to the chassis. Weinberger thereby created a sports car and luxury convertible hybrid that was suitable for everyday use.

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Look forward to more Classics of the Month: Learn exciting details about popular and less popular milestone models. Some of the anniversaries of the vehicles in our collection will surprise you.

The ZeitHaus multi-brand car museum is one of the world's leading automotive museums and part of the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. Its collection comprises around 260 vehicles by more than 60 manufacturers.