Introduced to the world for the 1936 Olympics, the BMW 328 was an (almost) instant classic that went on to dominate the world of motor racing for the next half-decade. But like the "in your face, master race" that Jesse Owens gave Hitler and friends by winning four gold track & field medals, the 328 harbored an un-Aryan secret; it was designed by a Jew. The gorgeous 328 was in fact designed by Kurt Joachimson, a Hebrew brother from another mother who had created the first sporting BMW, the 315/1 Roadster. Credit for the 328's sporting lines went to a man who wasn't hired by the Bavarian Motorwerks until after the 328 went out of production (and other times wrongly attributed to Fritz Fiedler — only it wasn't Fritz). Despite the ugly history, the 328 is one of the most beautiful and important vehicles ever conceived and executed. More after the jump.
Hyper-advanced for its time and unbeatable on the track, the 328 featured innovations such as independent front suspension, a tight and light body that fully covered the chassis/mechanicals and headlights which were integrated into the front metal for better aerodynamics. All this techie-kit would have been less meaningful without some power. The horses were derived from the 2.0-Liter straight-6 that powered the earlier 327, only with improved breathing. These engineering advances allowed the hot-looking 328 to dominate racing in the late 1930s, including an overall win at the Mille Miglia (in the light-weight aluminum/magnesium bodied 328 Mille Miglia Coupe pictured above) with an average lap speed of 103.4mph and a top speed of 139mph! Considered by many to be the first modern sports car, we just totally, totally want one.
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