1937 Frazer Nash-BMW 328 Roadster

BMW’s journey into the realm of high-performance motor cars began at the 1936 Eifelrennen event, where Ernst Henne’s victory in the prototype ‘328’ marked a turning point just eight years after BMW entered the automobile scene. Acquiring the Dixi works in 1928 provided BMW a foothold in car manufacturing, leading to the evolution of the six-cylinder 303 in 1933. Chief Engineer Fritz Fiedler’s innovative chassis design for the 328 combined lightness and stiffness, creating the first truly modern sports car.

The 328’s six-cylinder engine, designed by Rudolf Schleicher, featured a groundbreaking cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers. Despite the absence of overhead camshafts, its appearance mimicked a twin-overhead-cam design, contributing to its popularity in British racing in the 1950s. The production 328s, available from late 1936, boasted comfort and versatility, winning acclaim on the racetrack with victories at the Mille Miglia, Le Mans, Spa 24 Hours, and the Tourist Trophy.

Collaborating with AFN Ltd in 1934, BMW’s cars were imported into the UK as Frazer Nash-BMWs. The 328’s post-war success solidified its status as the most advanced sports car of its time, earning the title of ‘Car of the Century’ in 1999. With only 426 units produced between 1936 and 1939, and around 48 imported into the UK as Frazer Nash-BMWs, the 328’s enduring legacy is celebrated with fewer than 200 believed to exist today.

Source: Bonhams Cars