Know Thy Germans: BMW 328 Roadster and Coupe

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.

Know Thy Germans: BMW 328 Roadster and Coupe

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.

Know Thy Germans: BMW 328 Roadster and Coupe

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