1937 BMW 328 Cabriolet

I’d call it heavy and ungraceful, but not ugly. As if a Bavarian housewife had muscled in on the turf of a Brazilian lingerie model


BMW began life as an aero engine manufacturer in WWI (check out the propeller on the badge) and branched into heavy trucks and motorcycles in the early 1920s.

The company’s first car was the diminutive 1929 Dixi, based on the English Austin 7, but BMW soon developed its own models, adopting the familiar kidney-shaped grille in 1933 in the Typ 303.

The company favored 6-cylinder engines, and the 315 of 1934 was designed by Fritz Fiedler, who would stay with BMW for 30 years. His 326 four-door sedan bowed at the 1936 Berlin Auto Show, but it was the tube-framed 328 roadster that put BMW on the map.

The 2-liter, 6-cylinder engine featured a hemi head and was capable of over 100 mph, winning its class at the 1939 Le Mans 24 Hour race and the 1940 Mille Miglia outright.

Coachbuilder George Autenrieth started by building bodies for Opel and Rohr but designed cabriolets and coupes for the new BMW 326/327/328 series in 1936-37.

This 1937 BMW Cabriolet was bought from the fourth owner in the 1970s and completely restored in the following decade-mechanicals, body, and woodwork. The engine was rebuilt again in 2005 with a billet crank and Carillo rods, bearing shells, new pistons, rings, and valves.

More graceful than the contemporary roadster, the deep red paint is set off by tan leather interior and matching canvas top. The spare tire is recessed into the trunk lid, while the rear wheels are covered by embossed skirts. As one of only 462 328s manufactured before WWII, it makes a comfortable and individual statement.