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      01-15-2018, 07:24 AM   #1
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Barn Find: Million-dollar pre-WWII 328 race car found!

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     Featured on BIMMERPOST.com
February 2 update: Original article online: http://autoweek.com/article/car-life...ight-barn-find


NOTE: I suggest you take the time to read the history of the 328 at the bottom of my thread. You will realise how influential this car is for BMW to this day, from the inline-6 engine, to the kidney grill etc...

An acquaintance of mine who is an authority in vintage car restoration (think Pebble Beach best of show winners) told me about this very special car a few days ago and that it would be making the news soon...

Then the amazing story broke cover in the January 22nd printed/electronic edition of Autoweek magazine!


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This special BMW is a hybrid with a very rare BMW 328 lightweight racing chassis and a postwar Veritas body. The monetary valuable part is the racing chassis. To give you an example, the subsequent chassis number received a high bid of 4.3 million euros at an auction in Monaco in 2010, yet the owner decided to pass. Of course, the car we're talking about is nowhere in the same state as the 4-million plus 328, but it is still very valuable being so rare and with a great racing history.

This Veritas/BMW 328 was found by 2 car enthusiasts from Iowa: Dereck Freshour and Heath Rodney. When they bought the car from neighbouring farmer, they thought it was a postwar Veritas, worth a fraction of a 328, even though some Veritas were built using 328 parts (which their car obviously was). Yet, underneath the relatively mundane body lied a very special chassis. Chassis #85031 is a rare BMW 328 lightweight racing chassis that everybody thought was lost.

A short recap. The BMW 328 is probably the most significant car for BMW as it was the model that first established the Bavarian as a maker of racing and winning sports cars. And, of course it introduced the now legendary BMW inline-6 engine. The 328 were dominant in the 2-litre class right before WWII with wins at Le Mans, The Mille Miglia, the Nurburgring... That's why they now are amongst the most valuables of all classic BMW's.

And the racing lightweight versions are even more rare and valuable. Out of the 434 328's produced by BMW between 1936 and 1940, only 61 were made to lightweight specs with a 70% more powerful engine (from 80hp to 136), a close-ratio gearbox, a 100-litre racing tanks, bigger drum brakes, and, of course, a much lighter and more aerodynamic body.

Chassis 85031 was raced at the 1937 24hr of le Mans, almost right after it left the factory, where it got into an accident. Then it was shipped to England to enter the Tourist Trophy, where it was driven by racing royalty (literally) Prince Bira of Siam (Thailand) to 3rd overall and first in class. The next year, it came 3rd in class at the Mille Miglia where BMW swept the podium in the 2-litre class. After an unsuccessful run at the 1938 Tourist Trophy, the car was retired from racing by BMW. Then it's history became much less known, WWII not helping matters.


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The car became a Veritas after the war probably because the Americans forbid construction of new cars in Germany as a retribution of war. So the newly established company, started by former BMW employees, used old BMW chassis to build their cars from... Somehow chassis 85031, now a Veritas, found its way to the US, probably imported by a former GI as it often happened after the war and was used until around 1966 in Iowa. The car was stored in 1966, then bought by the farmer in late 1971 who thought of restoring it but never did and was finally acquired by Dereck and Heath.


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So how did they think they had something special in their hands, far from being vintage BMW specialists? By buying a magazine article about Veritas on Ebay! The article mentioned reclusive BMW expert Jim Proffitt and they relentlessly tried to get in touch with him. And their effort paid off. Jim helped them determine the provenance of the car thanks to the racing clues such as the large fuel tank and chassis number stamp with the golden 85031 number. They managed to get the chassis authenticated by BMW and have decided to invest in a restoration of this important car to racing 328 spec.

Now the million dollar question. How much is this important car worth? Well, probably less than 4.3 million euros, but more than a million dollars as the "regular" road 328's easily fetch above 500K...

I'm sure more news and pictures are to come in the next few months...

For more pics and the detailed story, please refer to the Autoweek article.

In conclusion, a couple of things I've learned from this amazing find:

1- There are still rare and historically important BMW's out there to be found.
2- You never know what you get when you buy a vintage car or a barnfind: do your homework and find out the history of the car and your relatively humble Veritas can become an ultra rare BMW racer!
3-Enjoy a ride of a lifetime in the research, the discovery and the restoration!


For those interested in the history of the 328, here's an article form Motorsport Magazine (vintage itself: from 1986)


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      01-15-2018, 05:02 PM   #2
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WoW!! That's a hunk of dough! I've always liked those old 328's... especially the Mille Miglia racer. I don't know too much about them... only that Huschke von Hanstein use to race one before he became Porsche's racing director.

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      01-15-2018, 09:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
WoW!! That's a hunk of dough! I've always liked those old 328's... especially the Mille Miglia racer. I don't know too much about them... only that Huschke von Hanstein use to race one before he became Porsche's racing director.

Dackel
The BMW 328 and their English Frazer-Nash variants used to dominate the European racing world in their class (2 litre) before WWII with more than 200 victories... Now the 328 is one of the classic BMW that will open the door to the top historic races and events such as the Mille-Miglia, Le Mans etc. The value of the street cars are around $500K and the racers at a million and more, depending on history, race wins, custom bodies etc...
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      01-15-2018, 09:26 PM   #4
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Have a friend, Fred Egloff, that just sold his 1938 328 for $660,000.

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      01-15-2018, 10:58 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SakhirM4 View Post
Have a friend, Fred Egloff, that just sold his 1938 328 for $660,000.

Attachment 1752195
Yup, they are that valuable...
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      01-16-2018, 12:04 PM   #6
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Oh man. That's what I'm talking about!
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      01-16-2018, 12:13 PM   #7
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Fantastic story
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      01-16-2018, 12:21 PM   #8
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Damn they won the lottery. Great story!
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      01-16-2018, 12:22 PM   #9
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I wonder how much they bought the car from the farmer??
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      01-16-2018, 01:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpark352 View Post
I wonder how much they bought the car from the farmer??
Probably the price of a ticket for lottery: )
It just was a winner one!
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      01-16-2018, 04:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpark352 View Post
I wonder how much they bought the car from the farmer??
Note that when they bought the car from the farmer they did not know it was a lightweight racing 328. They thought it was a post-war Veritas, which is in itself a valuable car, but not as valuable as the 328.

The thing is they did their homework after the purchase and tried to find out as much about the car as possible and that meant hunting down a reclusive pre-war BMW guru.
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      01-16-2018, 04:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul-Bracq-BMW View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpark352 View Post
I wonder how much they bought the car from the farmer??
Note that when they bought the car from the farmer they did not know it was a lightweight racing 328. They thought it was a post-war Veritas, which is in itself a valuable car, but not as valuable as the 328.

The thing is they did their homework after the purchase and tried to find out as much about the car as possible and that meant hunting down a reclusive pre-war BMW guru.
Got it. It would probably take years to do a complete restoration unless the new owners would like to keep it as a barn find.
Still very cool
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      01-16-2018, 04:57 PM   #13
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New pic of the car in question when it was found. As a vintage car lover, I would have loved to buy it even though I didn't know it was a 328!

Name:  1937 BMW 328 lightweight 85031.jpg
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      01-16-2018, 04:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cpark352 View Post
Got it. It would probably take years to do a complete restoration unless the new owners would like to keep it as a barn find.
Still very cool
Looks like the owners are going to remove the body and put it on another BMW pre-war chassis. Then they will restore the racing chassis to new with a replica body exactly like when the car was when it was racing. 2 cars for the price of one! Well, it's going to cost them! For those who balk about replica body, note that most vintage racing cars don't have their original bodies anymore because of the wear and tear and accidents etc... And even if they have their original body there would be a lot of it that was repaired...
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      01-16-2018, 05:15 PM   #15
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Yes, they are around. Some examples are VERY nice. Here's a local example from a well known aficionado.
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      01-16-2018, 06:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
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Yes, they are around. Some examples are VERY nice. Here's a local example from a well known aficionado.
And the barnfinds are out there too. A few GI's returned home with "war prizes" cars amongst them 328's!
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      01-16-2018, 08:05 PM   #17
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This is just awesome, cool story. I can't wait to get my Autoweek in the mail and read all about it.
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      01-16-2018, 09:55 PM   #18
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Awesome find!

What a great story of finding an amazing piece of history. Oh so cool!
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      01-17-2018, 08:12 AM   #19
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Wow, this is pretty sweet. Nice plan to split the car and double the money which probably means just covering the costs. This has to be a necessary thing in order to make this work as so much will need to be fabricated.

On a side note the logo of the magazine made me do a double take - smth smth nazi flag from a first glance.
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      01-17-2018, 06:26 PM   #20
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Quote:
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This is just awesome, cool story. I can't wait to get my Autoweek in the mail and read all about it.
It's a great read: I have the digital version...
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      02-01-2018, 10:50 PM   #21
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Original Autoweek article now online!

http://autoweek.com/article/car-life...ight-barn-find
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      02-01-2018, 11:05 PM   #22
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I was so excited when I got the magazine in the mail last week, I literally walked in and sat down on my couch to read the whole story. It did not disappoint. Cool story and I am really happy for those guys, plus it is just fascinating to learn about the beginnings of BMW racing.
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