BMW 327/28 Coupe

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327/28 Coupe





The first 327, launched in 1937, was a cabriolet. In 1938, this was joined by a fixed head coupé version. The car was shorter and lower than its sedan counterpart, but shared the famous BMW grill and a streamlined form representative of the more progressive designs of the 1930s.

However, it was the sporting 328 that made the biggest news. It had the same 1,971-cubic centimeter cylinder block but a new crossflow head with hemispherical combustion chambers, which used short horizontal pushrods to operate opposing exhaust valves from the single camshaft. This gave twin-cam performance with less complexity and lower cost. A twin-tube chassis was used, and it was topped with a two-seat sporting body. Top speed of the standard model was 96 mph, but the renowned British driver S.C.H. “Sammy” Davis clocked 102.16 at Brooklands in a lightweight prototype. A streamlined 328 won the two-liter class at Le Mans in 1939, and the same car, which was part of a five-car team, won the 1940 Mille Miglia outright.

The 328 was offered only as a compact two-seater. However, from 1938, the more powerful 328 engine became available in the 327, which was designated somewhat ambiguously as 327/28. Production, which continued through 1940, comprised 482 Sport cabriolets, 86 Sport coupes, and one bare chassis.

The BMW M328 is a straight-6 OHV piston engine which was produced alongside the M78 from 1936 to 1940. It was a high-performance development of the M78 engine, and was made for use in the BMW 328 sports car. An aluminium cylinder head with a hemispherical cross-flow combustion chamber was developed for this engine.

The M328 had an unusual valvetrain design. While the camshaft was located in the block (as per OHV engines), the exhaust valves were controlled by a transverse pushrod from the intake valves. This meant the valve layout is similar to a DOHC engine. With a bore of 66 mm (2.6 in) and a stroke of 96 mm (3.8 in), the displacement was 1971 cc, the same as M78 engine used in the BMW 326. Three Solex "30 JF downdraft" carburetors were used on the M328.

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