The Willis Wonder. You ever hear of it? Me neither, but after seeing it at the BMWCCA Octoberfest Concours and researching its history, I am duly impressed. It started life as a 1935ish BMW 315/1, which was the predecessor to the 328. This BMW was purchased by Ron Willis in the UK about 10 years after production and who in 1946 modified it into this race car which competed in a very fast Formula 2 race car.
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It’s currently owned by BMW CCA member in the Pacific Northwest. He won it in an auction in England and had it air shipped to him. He described in a recent Roundel Magazine article that “once it got to 3500 (rpm) it just came alive: torque, amazing amounts of torque!” He had Racecraft in Woodinville, WA restore it and bring it up to a place where it could compete in historic events.
Another fascinating BMW at the concours was the 1972 Bracq Turbo. When I first saw it, I assumed naively that it was a modified M1 with gullwing doors. Wrong! It was a concept made by Paul Bracq and powered by a 2 liter for cylinder what puts out over 270 hp and top speed of 155mph. It was used to showcase BMW’s technologies and was in the opening ceremonies of the 1972 Olympics.
It took a rather long discussion with the BMW Classic guys from Munich to convince me of this cars heritage. The fact BMW would bring this car to Pebble Beach for Monterey Car week is recognition of just how important this week is in the automotive world.
Yet another incredible BMW was the 1974 E9 CSL “Batmobile.” It was listed for sale for a mere $238,000. Great looking car and in great shape with an incredible pedigree.