BMW 327/28 Sport Cabriolet

The Bayerische Motoren Werke was fully a 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 manufacture of 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 cc car available in 40 bhp, triple-carburetor tune. The 1936 Berlin auto show heralded an important BMW development, the 326. The company’s first four-door sedan, it had a 1,971 cc, 50 bhp engine and was capable of 72 mph. More streamlined than earlier BMWs, its styling would define the marque until World War II. The 326 begat several variations that overshadowed the parent model: 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 cc cylinder block, but a new crossflow head with hemispherical combustion chambers used short horizontal pushrods to operate opposed exhaust valves from the single camshaft. This gave twin-cam performance with less complexity and lower cost. A twin-tube chassis was used 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, part of a five-car team, won 1940’s Mille Miglia outright.

The 328 was offered only as a compact two-seater. From 1938, however, the more powerful 328 engine became available in the 327, designated somewhat ambiguously “327/28.” Production, which continued through 1940, comprised 482 Sport Cabriolets, 86 Sport Coupes and one bare chassis.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

80 bhp, 1,971 cc OHV six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with transverse leaf spring, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 108.3"

Source: RM Auctions

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