The BMW 328 is a sports car made by BMW between 1936 and 1940, with the body design credited to Peter Szymanowski, who became BMW chief of design after World War II (although technically the car was designed by Fritz Fiedler). It featured many advanced features for its time, such as a tubular space frame and a hemispherical combustion chamber engine.
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.
In 1999 the BMW 328 was named one of 25 finalists for Car of the Century by a worldwide panel of automotive journalists.
It won the RAC Rally in 1939 and came in fifth overall (first in its class) in the 1939 Le Mans 24 hours.
In 1938, BMW 328 became a class winner in Mille Miglia.
In 1940, the Mille Miglia Touring Coupe won the Mille Miglia with average speed of 166.7 km/h (103.6 mph).
In 2004, the BMW 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe became the first car to win both the Mille Miglia (1940) and the modern-day classical version of the race.
After the Second World War, the manufacturing plant in Eisenach where the 328 had been built found itself in the Russian occupation zone, and automobile manufacturing in Eisenach would follow a state directed path until German Reunification in 1989.
Influence on Bristol
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.