Lost Mille Miglia winning 1939 BMW 328 Roadster found in Connecticut

Interesting, News | January 5th, 2018 by 10
1939 BMW 328 Roadster 17 750x500

In 1939, the BMW 328 Roadster, with three cars numbered 26, 27 and 28, won the Mille Miglia, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 2.0 …

In 1939, the BMW 328 Roadster, with three cars numbered 26, 27 and 28, won the Mille Miglia, placing 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the 2.0 liter class. The same three 328 Roadsters proceeded to place 1st, 2nd and 3rd at Le Mans just three months later. BMW seemed to be on top of the world at that time and its 328 Roadster was quickly becoming a legend. Then WWII happened and those three cars were lost in the madness of the war. Or so people thought.

BMW has car number 26 and it resides in Munich in the company’s museum. It’s a car we’ve seen before. Car number 28 was bought by Denis Jenkinson in the ’60s. But car number 27 has been missing since the war. That’s because it ended up in America, cloaked as a road car.

1939 BMW 328 Roadster 1 750x563

Not number 27 but a BMW 328 Roadster

Last year, Tim Fagan, working with Daniel Rapley, uncovered a BMW 328 in Ridgefield, Connecticut. Despite it looking like an average, road-going BMW 328 Roadster (if you can call any 328 average), they thought it could be 27. So they rang the BMW museum in Munich and an expert by the name of Klaus Kutscher was sent out to inspect the car. After several silent hours of careful inspecting, Kutscher gave them the nod. Their BMW 328 Roadster was indeed number 27.

No one knows how or why it ended up in the ‘States. It’s possible someone smuggled it out of Germany during the war. When you consider the fact that this specific Mille Miglia and Le Mans-winning BMW 328 Roadster was converted back to road-car configuration, which seems like whoever brought it to America was trying to hide its true identity. The Nazis weren’t averse to taking valuable items that weren’t theirs, especially items that had any sort of German pride. So maybe whoever brought it to America was trying to save it. And save it, they did.

1939 BMW 328 Roadster 4 750x563

So where is number 27 now? It’s been sold to an American collector who is restoring it back to its Le Mans configuration. Once finished, it will likely show up at several Concours events in the future. Expect to see it at Pebble Beach or Ville d’Este.

[Source: Dan Rapley]

10 responses to “Lost Mille Miglia winning 1939 BMW 328 Roadster found in Connecticut”

  1. FoggyAgave says:

    Klaus is a great guy, love what he and his team do for BMW Classic ^^

  2. Jeff Heywood says:

    This report is totally incorrect. BMW won their CLASS at the 1938 Mille Miglia, and won their CLASS at Le Mans in 1939 – they have never won these races outright in a standard bodied 328 Roadster. BMW won the 1940 Mille Miglia race OUTRIGHT in the 328 Mille Miglia Touring Coupe.

    • Hmmm. I went off the info in the article. I’ll do some research and revise. Thanks for pointing that out.

      • CDspeed says:

        Class wins when looked back on often get misconstrued. I remember watching Porsche win Le Mans one year, and all the American press focused on was the Dodge Viper’s big win at Le Mans, while neglecting to say class win. Even today if that particular Viper is written about they call it the Le Mans winner.

    • Distiller says:

      Two thumbs up for being precise with historical data!!

    • Heath Rodney says:

      agree very incorrect, the 1938 MM Roadsters were chassis 85031, 85032, 85002, 1st, 2nd, 3rd. the mentioned car in this article is 85335 #27, there was NO MM in 1939 only a substitute race ran in North Africa and the cars that participated in the 40 MM were special special bodied roadsters and one Coupe bodied by Touring (85005, 85032, 85464 the Special body Roadsters, and 85368 the Touring Coupe) the 1939 24 Hours of Le Mans where 85335, 85337, 85368-The Touring Coupe- This particular car was the Long time McCalister 328. 1939 Le Mans Race History Yes!, Actual Millie Migila Pre-War Race No! Amazing Historical BMW 328 Yes! Anyway good find regardless of some inaccuracies in the article

  3. Distiller says:

    Option 2 how it ended up in the States: “Liberated” by U.S. officer in 1945.

    Option 2b: maybe he bought it.

  4. CDspeed says:

    That’s fantastic, all three of these cars are now known to exist. I’d still like to see BMW start to use design cues from their early cars, they are still beautiful designs.

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