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  BMW 328 Touring Spider
 

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Country of origin:Germany
Produced in:1941
Numbers built:3
Designed by:Touring
Author:Pieter Melissen
Last updated:March 23, 2008
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Click here to download printer friendly versionThe 328 became world famous after a special low drag and light weight Touring 'Superleggera' coupe finished fifth overall during the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the two-litre class in the process. For the 1940 Mille Miglia, BMW entered 5 cars, the Le Mans entry, which convincingly won, and three roadsters (finishing 3rd, 5th and 6th), fitted with 120 BHP engines, and already remarkably similar to the anticipated successor of the current 328 model. The other car entered was a race-limousine, with a body designed according to the aerodynamic principles of Professor Wunibald Kamm. In the hands of Count Lurani, it failed to finish.

The number of regular 328s produced until the start of the War is estimated at 426. Over 200 cars still exist, a remarkable feat for a country where many cars were confiscated by the authorities. What apparently has contributed to its survival is that the engines of the 328 required very high quality petrol, which was hardly available, making the car unusable during the war and not attractive to the ruling party.

Not only BMW produced the car, but the British company Frazer Nash made many 328s but the rolling chassis came from BMW, so the numbers are included in the overall production figures. Interestingly the prices in the UK of the Frazer Nash products were lower than the home made cars. Germany was greatly in need of foreign currency. The last nine 328 chassis, which had already come to the factory in 1939, were only completed after 1945.

After the war the 328 engine remained in construction by the Bristol factory. The engines were not only used for their own cars, but also for ACs and many successful racing cars like the Cooper Bristol Formula 2 cars. In race trim the engine was good for at least 140-150 bhp. Whether Bristol was entitled to use the engine without a license agreement, is unclear. Fact is that Frits Fiedler worked for three years at the Frazer Nash and Bristol factories, which would point at some sort of BMW approval of the situation, possibly as some sort of war compensation. Fact is also that BMW itself only used a further development of the 326 engine for its first post war car.

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