BMW - History (9)
The sucess of the 303 changed at the beginning of 1935. The now starting economic stagnation brought forth a great deal of new releases. Applied to the period, one could say, that two automobiles per year rather than one, were newly developed. It is in this time, that BMW was consolidating its reputation as an automobile manufacturer, also somewhat later, in the racing car sector and through building under licence, e.g., the Fraser-Nash, which was awarded to England.
What was to be seen were still the rather box-shaped car bodies, among others, the 309 with a tubular frame chassis. With the reversion of the six- back to a four cylinder, a cheaper model was created. For the first time, the more intensive engine vibrations were absorbed by soft engine mountings.
At almost the same time, the displacement of the six cylinder was increased to 1,5 liters and 25 kW (34 Hp) in the 315, and 33 kW (45 Hp) in the 319. The real sensation however, was the 326 of 1936, which, because of the aerodynamic shape, finally freed the company from the reputation of being a small-car manufacturer. Indeed, the price of the car was then also 5500 Reichmarks.
Where would this development end? The engine had finally increased to 2 liters and despite the pushrod and rocker arm camshaft, with the three carburettors it now produced 59 kW (80 Hp). All this then, packed into an especially low frame and mostly as an open sports car with two striking leather straps over the bonnet, was the famous BMW 328.
Suddenly the 328 appeared in Europe with an even higher performance than successful racing cars had. It made its way, e.g., on the Nurburgring or the Mille Miglia, not only to the top of its class, but also made life difficult for the cars in the 3-liter class or for those with compressors. Although all in all, far less than 500 cars were built, they nonetheless, carried the reputation of the four-wheeled BMWs out into the world.
After the war, their international fame would save the company from final ruin. By the way, almost as a by-product, the new body-work brought forward models like the 320, 327, 329 and also various, at that time still numerous, coach-builders like, e.g., Gläser or Reutter. Shortly before the war, they even presented the luxury class 335. 01/11