1938 BMW 328

Base Roadster
A bold move for RM Sotheby's paid off with $228M in Monterey
Thursday, 18 August - Saturday, 20 August
Sale Price
$700,000 - $850,000
Est. Range
20 August 2022
Sold Date
Lot Number
Recent restoration
RM Sotheby's
Auction House
Chassis number 85144. Black over black leather. 1971cc L6. Centerlock wheels, Avon Turbosteel tires.

Evaluation: Supplied new to Automag in Munich, the first recognized BMW dealership. Partially restored throughout the 1980s but never quite finished, then concours restored from 2012-19. Fresh and gorgeous. Thoroughly but not excessively restored. Nice enough to show, not too nice to drive. An ideal combo.

Bottom line: With a tubular ladder-type chassis, independent front suspension, hydraulic brakes and overhead valve straight-six with hemispherical combustion chambers (an engine found later in Bristols and ACs), the 328 was one of the best and most advanced prewar sports cars. Some even call it the first modern sports car. Prices vary widely depending on provenance and condition, but these days somewhere above half a million and below a million is the going rate. Back in 2010, this one was a $330,000 no-sale at Pebble Beach, but that was before its restoration, and the quality of work was rewarded handsomely (and fairly) here. That said, Gooding’s spectacular all-original 328 stole the show at $874,000.

by Andrew Newton
6 September 2022
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Condition definitions
Condition #1: Concours
Condition #1 vehicles are the best in the world. The visual image is of the best vehicle, in the right colors, driving onto the lawn at the finest concours. Perfectly clean, the vehicle has been groomed down to the tire treads. Painted and chromed surfaces are mirror-like. Dust and dirt are banned, and materials used are correct and superbly fitted. The one word description for #1 vehicles is “concours.“
Condition #2: Excellent
#2 vehicles could win a local or regional show. They can be former #1 vehicles that have been driven or have aged. Seasoned observers will have to look closely for flaws, but will be able to find some not seen by the general public. The paint, chrome, glass and finishes will all appear as excellent. No excessive smoke will be seen on startup, no unusual noises will emanate from the engine. The vehicle will drive as a new vehicle of its era would. The one word description for #2 vehicles is “excellent.“
Condition #3: Good
#3 vehicles could possess some, but not all of the issues of a #4 vehicle, but they will be balanced by other factors such as a fresh paint job or a new, correct interior where applicable. #3 vehicles drive and run well, but might have some incorrect parts. These vehicles are not used for daily transportation but are ready for a long tour without excuses, and the casual passerby will not find any visual flaws. “Good” is the one word description of a #3 vehicle.
Condition #4: Fair
#4 vehicles are daily drivers, with flaws visible to the naked eye. The chrome might have pitting or scratches, the windshield might be chipped. Paintwork is imperfect, and perhaps the body has a minor dent. Split seams or a cracked dash, where applicable, might be present. No major parts are missing, but the wheels could differ from the originals, or other non- stock additions might be present. A #4 vehicle can also be a deteriorated restoration. “Fair” is the one word that describes a #4 vehicle.
Condition #5: Poor
Running, but battered, incomplete, and perhaps rusty.
Condition #6: Parts car
Parts car.
Hagerty only assigns condition ratings to vehicles we can inspect in person or, for online listings, via high-quality photography.