Saturday, April 10, 2010

BMW 328 Touring Coupe

BMW 328 Touring Coupe, 1939

The BMW 328 was a sports car made by BMW between 1936 and 1940.

Designed by Fritz Fiedler. It featured many advanced features for its time such as a tubular space frame and a hemispherical combustion chamber engine. It was much praised at the time for its performance and handling. The car won many races including the prestigious Mille Miglia — a class win in 1938 and the outright winner (with a streamlined body) in 1940. It also won the RAC Rally in 1939 and came in fifth overall (first in its class) in the 1939 Le Mans 24 hours.

After WW2, one of the Mille Miglia 328s (disguised as a Frazer Nash) and BMW's technical plans for the car were taken from the bombed BMW factory by English representatives from the Bristol Aeroplane Company and Frazer Nash companies. Fiedler, the BMW engineer, was persuaded to come too. Bristol Cars was set up to build complete cars, called Bristols, and would also supply engines to Frazer Nash for all their post-war cars. The first Bristol car, the 400, was heavily based on the BMW plans. This Bristol engine was also a common option in AC cars, before the Cobra.

The engine has hemispherical or cross flow combustion chambers. The intake valves are opened by the usual overhead valve push rod arrangement of a side cam, push rods and rocker arms. The exhaust valves, on the other side of the cylinder head, are opened by the same cam shaft, vertical push rods, rocker arms, horizontal push rods and a second set of rocker arms.

It's widely acknowledged that the BMW 328 was a strong influence on the Jaguar XK120 of 1948.


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