Because this car is a 2+2 and a cabriolet it weighs several hundred pounds more than a 328, and acceleration will be leisurely


BMW's first six-cylinder engine was launched in 1934, and formed the backbone of the company's racing legacy. A modified version of the new powerplant was developed by Rudolf Schleicher and would stay in production until 1961, first as a 1.2-liter then as a 2-liter. It was a pushrod engine which duplicated the advantages of a DOHC layout, without the weight.
In 1936 the Schleicher engine was dropped into the new type 328 which went on to become a very versatile sports car in the late 1930s. The 327 was the Grand Touring version of the sporty new 328, designed to accommodate the customer who wanted the style of the 328 with four seats and a less aggressive driving experience. Smart and graceful, it came with a radio and was very easy and comfortable to drive. The detuned version of the engine was even more reliable. In the three-year production run from 1938-40 there were only 482 type 327s made. The number remaining is surely small.
Offered here is a white 327 cabriolet. It has a navy blue top that matches the leather interior. In the late 1980s it was restored and has just been mechanically serviced. It has been fitted with a new exhaust system and new brakes. The suspension has been overhauled and it has been fitted with new hoses and electrical components. For ease of operation it has been converted from a 6-volt to a 12-volt system.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1939 BMW 327
Years Produced:1937-40
Number Produced:Stated 482 (I believe more like 1,300)
Original List Price:RM6000 ($2,400)
SCM Valuation:$60,000-$85,000
Tune Up Cost:Should not exceed $500
Distributor Caps:$250
Chassis Number Location:Plate on the firewall, stamping on the left front upper side of the rail near the front suspension
Engine Number Location:Right side of the block towards the front
Club Info:BMW Car Club of America
Alternatives:1926-31 Bugatti T40 4-seater, 1934-39 Wanderer W25K tourer, 1934-39 Adler Trumpf tourer
Investment Grade:C

This 1939 BMW 327 Cabriolet sold for $88,000 at the RM Sports and Classic Car auction in Monterey, CA, on August 19, 2005.
The 327 was a nice little car, overshadowed by its glamorous sister, the 328, which revolutionized the idea of a dual-purpose sports car. It is difficult to understand how radical the concept was, but in my opinion the 328 ranks with two other immortals of the pre-war era, the 2900 Alfa and the Bugatti Type 35B.
Worth less than the other two in today’s market, the 328 is still one of the more significant cars of that era. It owes its origins to BMW’s first strides toward automotive independence in 1932, when the company cancelled its licensing agreement with British Austin, and made its first all-BMW car, the 3/20.
A creatively eccentric car, the 3/20 was a radical departure from the pedestrian Austin, with roller main bearings, overhead valves, central spline chassis and swing axles front and rear. The chassis was designed by Ferdinand Porsche, at the time a freelance engineer. Mass production of automobiles was in its infancy in Europe, so the body for the 3/20 was made by Daimler Benz AG in Sindelfingen.
In 1933 the model 303 was introduced, featuring a 1.2-liter six-cylinder overhead valve engine, and with lighter pressed steel bodies made in Berlin by a licensee of the U.S. Budd corporation, which was the leader in making heavy presses required for steel stampings. (The same company made bodies for Ford of Germany, Audi, Adler, and Horch.) The 303 was offered as a two-door sedan, a four-seat cabriolet, and a two-seat sports roadster. This last model received triple Zenith carburetors, and was quite lively for the period.
The factory’s philosophy was evolutionary, with constant improvement in design and quality. The proliferation of coachbuilders gave the little roadster a variety of special bodies, which ranged from exquisite to grotesque.
By 1935 a very significant model emerged: the 315/1. The handling was greatly improved, the rear swing axles were gone, and the steering was improved by the introduction of rack and pinion. A two-seat roadster featured the improved 1.5-liter six with triple Solexes and a very high (for the period) compression ratio of 6.8:1.
The little roadster was a true dual-purpose sports car. In the Alpine rally in 1935 they made mincemeat of the venerable “chain gang” Frazer-Nashes. As a result, Frazer-Nash entered into a licensing agreement with BMW and from that point on all Frazer-Nashes were really RHD BMWs with a different badge, built in Germany.
By 1936 the line-up had three new models. The 3/20 was the entry level model featuring a shortened chassis from the previous model. It had hydraulic brakes and a very practical four-speed gearbox with a freewheel on first and second gear, enabling clutchless shifting in town driving. The factory claimed a top speed of about 60 mph and a reasonable price tag of “only” RM4500 ($1,800). The top of the line was the legendary 328, with its brilliant hemi-head, slightly longer chassis, and top speed in excess of 100 mph, for the whopping price of RM7500 ($3,000).
To bridge the gap between the two, a 2+2 model was introduced-the 327. Like all 2+2s, it was aimed at the “family man,” providing him with a practical family sports car. The chassis was identical to the 3/20, and the engine had a curious arrangement of twin updraft Solexes, and an agricultural exhaust system on its ordinary head.
At RM6000 ($2,400) the price was between the two extremes. The factory claimed a 78 mph top speed, most likely down a steep hill. The attractive body by Autenreith paid homage to the Chrysler Airflow, and as with most 2+2s, the rear seat was suitable only for small children.
The BMW 327 Cabriolet sold well when new, and I seriously doubt that “only” 482 were made-about 1,300 seems more likely to me. The 327 pales by comparison with the 328 with which it is supposed to be “almost” identical. In fact, it uses only the block from the legendary Schleicher engine.
Because this BMW 327 is a 2+2 and a cabriolet, it weighs several hundred pounds more than a 328, and acceleration is leisurely. But it’s a reliable touring car that can be driven and enjoyed.
Considering that Monterey generates record prices, and that the market is galloping ahead of the price guides, I’d say that the $88k is Monterey (if not market) correct. As an affordable and unusual tourer, and assuming no extraordinary and costly surprises, this 1939 BMW 327 Cabriolet represents a decent deal for everyone involved.

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