Friday, May 7, 2010

BMW Recreates a 328 Kamm Coupé for the Mille Miglia

BMW The 328 Kamm Coupé
The 328 Kamm Coupé recreation.

The Mille Miglia, the road race from Brescia, Italy, to Rome and back that began this week, marks the 70th anniversary of the year BMW swept the race’s top spots in 1940. To commemorate, the company has entered what it describes as a contemporary replica of the so-called 328 Kamm Coupé. The replica was unveiled at the recent concours d’elégance at the Villa d’Este on Lake Como.

In the 1940 race, BMW’s 328, with its powerful in-line six, won the top spot and took third, fifth and sixth places, although the Kamm Coupé didn’t finish the race because of mechanical problems. Another 328 tied to that race, the 1937 BMW 328 MM ‘Bügelfalte,’ or trouser crease, named for its sharp fenders, was offered at RM’s auction in Monaco on May 1. Bidding on the car reached 4,300,000 euros, or $5,835,100, but because it did not exceed the reserve the vehicle remained unsold. Instead, it was purchased privately the next day.

The 1940 race was in April. But France would fall in May, which kept most participants away from the Italian road race. The result was a battle of the Axis powers, with five silver BMW 328s set in a sea of Italian Fiats, Lancias and Alfa Romeos. (Two blue French Delages were driven by Italians.)

The 328 was given many different bodies, and models varied a good deal. All used space frames with thin aluminum bodies. The Italian company, Touring, provided bodies using its trademark superleggera system of tubes and skin. The cars also helped demonstrate the idea of a streamlined, closed racer using aerodynamics to optimize power and handling.

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