16-17 January 2014

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Lot 49

1939 BMW 327/28 Coupe

  • Chassis no. 74509

Sold for $176,000

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

  • One of only 86 examples produced
  • Equipped with the desirable 80-horsepower M328 engine
  • The rarer of the two 327/28 models

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

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

The example offered here was purchased in 2001 by a collector in Germany from Heinz Landzettel. In 2003, the car became the recipient of an extensive body-off restoration that was carried out by its owner. During the process, the car was stripped down to its foundations and fully restored. The car file includes a small number of photographs, which verify that the car was stripped down to bare metal and highlight the high quality of the work that was carried out. At the same time, the original M328, which is the heart of the 327/28, was replaced with an identical power unit that had been fully rebuilt. The exterior was finished in an exquisite two-tone grey scheme, and the interior was finished with a complementing scheme of grey leather upholstery and carpeting.

In 2007, this 328 was sold to Latvian collector Mark Meerov, before coming to the United States more recently. In the years since its restoration, this little Coupe has been nicely maintained, and more recent work that has been carried out on the car includes the replacement of the generator and fuel pump. The restoration has mellowed gracefully since completion, and its appearance is commensurate with the 1,703 kilometers that have been added since 2003. This example is peppy, highly attractive, and eminently drivable, and it would be a great and unusual addition to the enthusiast’s stable.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more