1953 EMW 327 Cabriolet

1953 EMW 327 Cabriolet front
Courtesy of Bonhams

The acquisition of the Dixi Works at Eisenach in 1928 provided BMW, hitherto a manufacturer of aero engines and motorcycles, with a foothold in motor manufacturing. Dixi’s built-under-license version of the Austin Seven was gradually developed and improved, ending up with swing-axle suspension and overhead valves.

Then, in 1933, came the first true BMW — the 6-cylinder 303. This adopted a twin-tube frame and abandoned the rear swing axles in favour of a conventional live axle, while up front there was transverse-leaf independent suspension and rack-and-pinion steering.

These features, along with the four-bearing, overhead-valve engine, would provide the basis for the more powerful and sportingly inclined models to follow. Introduced in 1938, the 327 sports-tourer used the shortened, boxed, ladder-type chassis of the 326 saloon, shared by the 320, but with semi-elliptic rear springing in place of torsion bars. The gearbox was a Hurth 4-speed manual unit with a freewheel between 1st and 2nd gears, enabling clutchless gear changes at low speeds, while there were hydraulic brakes all round.

BMW’s pushrod six had by now been enlarged to 1,971 cc and developed around 55 bhp in the 327, which could also be ordered with the 328 sports car’s 80 bhp unit at extra cost.

After World War II, manufacture continued under Soviet ownership of the factory, with a name and banner change to EMW in 1950.

The EMW 327 cabriolet offered here was in long-term ownership for 31 years before being acquired for the collection belonging to the Federation Hellenique Des Vehicules D’Epoque automobile museum in Greece.

The car recently underwent a restoration by London-based specialists. The engine was overhauled by LT Classics, also of London, together with the suspension, steering and brakes, while the original instruments were reconditioned, the electrics rewired, and a new hood and hood bag made.

The car comes with a current MoT certificate and a V5C document. This is a wonderful opportunity to acquire one of these rare and charismatic German sports cars.

Paul Hardiman

SCM Senior Auction Analyst

Paul is descended from engineers and horse thieves, so he naturally gravitated toward the old-car marketplace and still finds fascination in the simpler things in life: looking for spot-weld dimples under an E-type tail, or counting the head-studs on a supposed Mini-Cooper engine. His motoring heroes are Roger Clark, Burt Levy, Henry Royce and Smokey Yunick — and all he wants for next Christmas is an Alvis Stalwart complete with picnic table in the back and a lake big enough to play in.

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