Obscure Auto: 1939 BMW 328 Buegelfalte Roadster

BMW 328 Buegelfalte Roadster

The 328 Buegelfalte Roadster is one of those legendary cars that is so coveted by modern collectors, that in 2010 it sold for $5.84 million at RM auctions in Monaco. Those who are unfamiliar with the car may believe it to be some highly successful vintage racecar, but actually it’s racing history was fairly mediocre. It is likely the car’s beauty and rarity, being the only one of its kind, that make it such a sought after machine. The Buegelfalte also has a rich story behind it as well, one that parallels that of 20th century Europe. I will tell you now that the car you see in these photos is actually a perfect replica of the Buegelfalte Roadster commissioned by BMW for use at corporate events. I took these photos during my recent visit to the factory museum. Even though the car is a replica it still has the same beautiful form as the original, which now resides in a private collection.

The Buegelfalte Roadster began its life in 1937 as a standard BMW 328 roadster, chassis number 85032. It was raced at Le Mans, and in the Tourist Trophy with no great success. 1938 would prove better because it won its class in the Mille Miglia. In 1939 it won the German Alpenfahrt, and was then to be retired and dismantled at the factory. However, the car was soon to be rebuilt, taking on its final form as the Buegelfalte Roadster for the 1940 Mille Miglia.

When 85032 was rebuilt it was updated with the latest racing parts available. Weight was taken out of the chassis, and it was fitted with the gorgeous and slippery Buegelfalte Roadster body. The engine was also upgraded from 80hp to 130hp, quite an increase in a car weighing under 1600lbs.

The Buegelfalte Roadster wound up placing 6th at the 1940 Mille Miglia, and at the end of World War II it found itself in Soviet territory. The car ended up in the hands of the man who created the Russian MiG fighter planes, though his son was the primary driver of the car. He kept the car until 1971 when he traded it to Guido Adamson of Latvia, who kept the Buegelfalte Roadster for 30 more years.

The next owner kept the Buegelfalte Roadster at the BMW Museum, and it is during this period that the replica was made. Then in 2010, as mentioned above, the car sold at auction in Monaco to its current owner. Naturally the sale of the car for such an exuberant sum made automotive headlines all over the world, and it still goes down as one of the most expensive car purchases of all time. It is right up there with many of the vintage Ferraris, Jags, Astons, and Maseratis that we all know and love.

The 328 Buegelfalte Roadster is a legendary car, even though it lacks the racing success that many such cars tote. It has the purpose of a racecar, and behind those beautiful bodylines there is a remarkable tale that makes the Buegelfalte Roadster a relic of its era and the events that defined it. This mix of rarity, beauty, purpose, and historical significance surely explains why this car is so coveted. The replica resides at the BMW Museum for all to see, and I strongly recommend that you check it out if you are in Munich. Original or not, it is a beautiful car.

-Nick Walker


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