1938 BMW 328 Roadster

Photos provided by the vendor
*Update on 10/05: Video added at the bottom of the listing*


  • One of only 464 BMW 328s made
  • Known history from 1950 onwards
  • Fresh from an extremely high-quality, ‘better than new’ restoration 
  • Eligible for prestigious events including the Mille Miglia
  • Potential concours award-winner

The Appeal

Leichtbau: the use of lightweight construction to improve performance. That was the word to which BMW devoutly adhered when developing the 328, arguably the most modern sports-car of the 1930s. It was that lightness combined with graceful streamlining which resulted in a car which, with only a two-litre engine, was as fast as the big 4½-litre sports-cars of the day, but far more nimble and driver-friendly. It was, in so many ways, a car ahead of its time.

Lauded by Motor Sport magazine as ‘the fastest and, simultaneously, the most comfortable sports car that has ever been built’, the 328 wasted no time in proving its worth in competition. From its launch in 1936, it was virtually unrivalled in the two-litre racing classes, and many continued to be campaigned competitively for years after the war. The list of successes included a class win at the 1939 Le Mans 24 Hours and outright victory in the 1940 Mille Miglia.
Sadly, but for obvious reasons, 328 production ended in 1940, but its achievements have not been forgotten and it continues to be celebrated to this day. BMW 328s are eligible for many of the world’s most prestigious motoring events, including the Mille Miglia, Le Mans Classic, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival and Vintage Sports-Car Club meetings, to say nothing of the various world-renowned concours where they may be seen reclining on the lawn, their elegant, aerodynamic beauty a source of universal admiration.

The car offered for sale here would be ideal for any of the events thus outlined, especially since it is fresh from a meticulous, concours-quality restoration and boasts over 70 years of history in Bohemia and the Czech Republic. There are some who consider the 328 to be the greatest pre-war sports-car, and they may well have a point.

The History and Paperwork

  • Known to have resided in Bohemia since 1950
  • Owned until 1970 by Jaroslav Kastner of the Foto Kastner family, who sold it to Mr. Nikitova in Bratislava
  • Sold with a wealth of historical paperwork, including original documentation and period photographs of the car and its owner
  • Newly emerged from a photographically-documented, eight-year restoration
  • Offered for sale after 16 years in a Czech collection

The Interior

  • Restored to the very best standard
  • Paint, upholstery and plastics all in excellent condition
  • Very original and correct appearance

Being fresh from an eight-year, concours-standard restoration, the BMW’s interior looks is good as new, or perhaps even better than new. Everything has been done properly and we cannot find a word of criticism for the restorer’s efforts. Obviously, the seats have been reupholstered and the dash repainted, but it all looks absolutely correct, from the colour scheme down to the grain of the leather.

The dash is especially well-presented. The white plastic switches and gauges give it a distinctly Germanic look, and their condition is most impressive. Old plastic sometimes gets damaged or discoloured, but in this all the switches are superb – we cannot find any fault. Some of the gauges display the very lightest patina and there are some minor cracks in the surface of the steering wheel but, aside from them, this is a car that looks to us to be more or less beyond criticism.

The Exterior

  • Finished in Germany’s famous racing silver
  • Fitted with very interesting and unusual vented wheels
  • Simply immaculate, from front to back and top to bottom

Once again, ‘as good as new’ just doesn’t quite seem to do justice to the external finish of this car. It’s almost inconceivable that a car could be better-presented. The paint and chrome are exceptionally good. With its futuristic, streamlined styling, so en vogue in the late 1930s, and the beautiful, sparkling silver paint which is inextricably linked with the most successful German racing cars of the era, it is a work of sheer beauty.

As with the interior, there is no aspect from which the car looks anything less than correct or like it would have done in period. The paint finish and all the accessories appear absolutely spot-on, but our attention is drawn to the wheels. The vast majority of 328s were sold either with solid steel disc wheels, or ones with circular vents. This car sports unusual wheels with slotted vents, which we believe are very rare and make for quite a talking point in themselves.

Just to reiterate, this has been restored to the highest standard and seems to us to be as close to perfect as a car may realistically be. The leather bonnet strap, you may see, is still virtually brand-new, and as for the underside of the car and the innovative tubular A-frame chassis, it seems never to have encountered so much as a speck of dirt.

The Mechanics

  • Engine fully rebuilt during restoration
  • Test-driven for 30km since completion
  • Engine runs well and sounds phenomenal

While the 328 was superbly engineered insofar as it was extremely light, it also happened to have a brilliant engine. The 1971cc straight-six with triple carburettors and inclined overhead valves produced 80bhp at 4500rpm, quite a figure for 1936, which made it remarkably fast. The Autocar’s Sammy Davis drove one around Brooklands for one hour, averaging a staggering 102mph.

While we have not had the privilege of putting this car through its paces, it seems to be in extraordinarily good shape and we’ve no doubt that if Sammy Davis were alive today he would be quite capable of repeating his earlier feat. The restoration was not limited to the cosmetic side of the car. It received extensive mechanical work, too, including an engine rebuild.
 We have not been able to see the car drive, but we have seen the engine run and can only say that it appears extremely healthy and sounds phenomenal. Not only is the engine smooth and lively, the sonorous exhaust note is positively musical. It promises fast, sporty motoring of the most enjoyable kind. It now looks very much at home inside the spotlessly clean engine bay.

Bidders will note that the BMW has only been driven for 30km post-restoration, but the engine has been run for 20 hours on a bench, so it may be considered run-in. Even so, it may be advisable to treat the car gently for the first few miles on the road.

The Summary

To summarise the 328 succinctly, it simply exists in a class of its own. There is no other pre-war sports-car quite like it. In engineering terms, it exhibits post-war sophistication, and in styling terms there was nothing else on sale at the time which could match it for sheer grace. It looked like the wind and embodied modernity.

It is difficult to drive a 328 today without looking like you’ve just burst out from an Hercule Poirot novel, but who should mind that? If anything, it is even more exotic and glamorous today than it was in period. We would love to own one, and this one in particular, as it must be one of the finest examples there is. Beautifully restored with meticulous attention to detail, if it were up to us we’d be driving it every weekend to all the historic race meetings and concours we could.

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This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1938
  • Make BMW
  • Model 328 Roadster
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 3 Kilometres
  • Engine size 1971
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Brno
  • Location International
  • Country Czechia
Bidding history
35 bids
  • ch•••• €410,000 28/05/23
  • ke•••• €400,000 28/05/23
  • ch•••• €390,000 28/05/23
  • ke•••• €381,000 28/05/23
  • ch•••• €380,000 28/05/23
  • mu•••• €372,000 28/05/23
  • ch•••• €370,000 28/05/23
  • 30•••• €361,000 28/05/23
  • Pa•••• €359,200 28/05/23
  • 30•••• €358,000 28/05/23

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