BMW DA-3 Wartburg

1930 BMW 3/15 DA-3 Wartburg

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 2, 2022

Photo – Dorotheum

It’s pretty amazing how many early BMWs this auction house manages to round up for sale. This is a derivative of BMW first car, the 3/15. First sold as the Dixi 3/15, the 3/15 would be sold in a few series under the BMW marque.

The DA-3 Wartburg was sold in 1930 and 1931. It was only offered as a roadster, making it BMW’s first “sports car.” BMW used a front drop axle to lower the frame, and the aluminum body featured boattail styling. Power is from a 747cc inline-four that got increased compression in the Wartburg for a rated output of 17 horsepower.

Only 150 of these were built, with 100 in the first year and 50 in the second. This one was restored about 20 years ago and now has an estimate of $58,000-$79,000. Click here for more info.

Frazer Nash-BMW 315

1935 Frazer Nash-BMW 315 Three-Position Drophead Coupe by E. Bertelli

Offered by Bonhams | Chichester, U.K. | June 24, 2022

Photo – Bonhams

Archibald Frazer-Nash was the British importer of BMWs beginning in 1934. They re-branded and sold BMWs in the U.K. as Frazer Nash-BMWs, but this only lasted until the outbreak of war in 1939. After WWII, Frazer Nash sold sports cars of their own design.

So this 315 model is essentially a re-branded BMW 315, which was sold from 1934 through 1937. These small BMWs were part of the 303 lineage of cars that dated back to, well, 1933. But the 315/1 was a factory roadster. This particular car is said to be one of three fitted with three-position drophead coupe coachwork by British coachbuilder Enrico Bertelli of Feltham.

Power is from a 1.5-liter inline-six that was rated at 40 horsepower when new. These were sports cars in their day, even if this one has a less-sporty body. It’s been in the ownership of the same family since new, and it’s gonna need a restoration. The pre-sale estimate is $24,500-$37,000. Click here for more info.

Frazer Nash-BMW 327/80

1939 Frazer Nash-BMW 327/80 Cabriolet

Offered by Silverstone Auctions | Hendon, U.K. | March 5-6, 2022

Photo – Silverstone Auctions

Frazer Nash was the official British importer for BMW cars between 1934 and 1939. The cars were sometimes slightly modified by Frazer Nash before being sold, and they were all sold in the U.K. under the Frazer Nash-BMW marque. BMW’s 327 was built between 1937 and 1941 (and again after the war for a short period).

Frazer Nash only managed to import 19 of them before the outbreak of the war. BMW offered the 327 with the 328‘s more potent 2.0-liter inline-six. It was rated at 80 horsepower, hence the model designation here. In Germany, these were referred to as the 327/28.

This car was restored in 2005 and is one of 12 known to exist. You can read more about it here and see more from this sale here.

Update: Sold $184,888.

Sauber C5

1976 Sauber C5

Offered by Oldtimer Galerie | Gstaad, Swizterland | December 29, 2021

Photo – Oldtimer Galerie

Peter Sauber founded his motorsports company in 1970. Everything started with sports cars and prototypes, like this. Things would eventually progress to the top of the sportscar mountain before the team entered Formula One in 1993.

This C5 was campaigned by the Francy Racing Team, which was apparently some kind of back door Sauber works team. It ran a few seasons in the European Interserie Championshop. Race highlights include:

  • 1977 24 Hours of Le Mans – 29th, DNF (with Eugen Strahl and Peter Bernhard)

The car had a few owners over the years and was used in the Le Mans Classic in the 2000s before being restored in 2020. It appears to have a 2.0-liter BMW inline-four under the rear bodywork and is most probably turbocharged. It now carries a pre-sale estimate of $210,000-$255,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

BMW 3/15 Sports

1931 BMW 3/15 Ihle Sports

Offered by Bonhams | Bicester, U.K. | December 11, 2021

Photo – Bonhams

So we’ve talked about Dixi before and how it was an Austin Seven built under license in Germany. BMW purchased Dixi in late 1928, and Dixis were re-branded as BMWs the following year. They still called them BMW Dixi, although they’d drop the Dixi name sometime around 1930.

This post-Dixi 3/15 was produced in 1931 and was actually coach-built by Gebruder Ihle Karrosseriebau of Bruschal, Germany. It’s a sporty, light two-seater with BMW’s signature twin (not-quite-kidney) grilles.

Power is from a 747cc inline-four, but the power rating is uncertain, as it is not clear if this coachbuilt example was based on a DA-2/4 chassis (15 horsepower) or DA-3 Wartburg chassis (17 horsepower). The DA-3 was the sports version of the 3/15, but a coachbuilt example could’ve come from any model. At any rate, this is a great little early BMW, and for $13,000-$20,000, it seems like a historic bargain. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $37,726.

Riley-BMW Daytona Prototype

2012 Riley-BMW Mk XXVI

Offered by Mecum | Chattanooga, Tennessee | October 15-16, 2021

Photo – Mecum

Daytona prototypes were a cool era of American sportscar racing. Basically the Grand-Am, then IMSA, version of an LMP1 car, they were the top dog in Grand-Am and American-based sports car racing starting with their debut in 2003. This is actually a third-generation DP, which debuted in 2012 and lasted through 2016.

This era was more creative than previous generations, as those tended to all look like the same block of soap with wheels. The third gen featured this Riley chassis and the Corvette DP, which looked different enough to be recognizable on its own.

Riley Technologies was founded in 2001 by Bob Riley (of race car constructor Riley & Scott) and his son Bill. The Riley DP chassis were pretty successful, being competitive from 2003 through 2016. This car features a way-too-busy livery and is powered by a 5.0-liter BMW V8.

It’s an ex-Michael Shank Racing car and comes with two spare engines. Its specific race history is unknown. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: ?? Not listed as sold or not sold. So presumably sold and Mecum is hiding the result from everyone.

BMW 309

1934 BMW 309

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 3, 2021

Photo – Dorotheum

Here’s another small car from BMW’s early era. The company launched the 303 in 1933. It was their first six-cylinder car and the first BMW with “kidney” grilles – two things the company continues to be known for. In 1934 they introduced the 309, which was essentially a 303 with two fewer cylinders. It was intended as a replacement for the 3/20.

The 309 is powered by an 845cc inline-four that made 22 horsepower when new. Rubber engine mounts were used to reduce vibration in the cabin, and the cars carried bodies from Ambi-Budd. You could choose from a two-door sedan (as shown here), a cabriolet, or a tourer.

Approximately 6,000 examples of the 309 were produced through 1936. This one has known history back only a few decades, and it was restored in Austria. Pre-war BMWs are rarely seen, and the fact that this was about as basic of an example as you could get in 1934 makes it even more impressive that it is still around. It should bring between $14,000-$22,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $22,336.

BMW 1600 GT

1968 BMW 1600 GT

Offered by Dorotheum | Vosendorf, Austria | July 3, 2021

Photo – Dorotheum

Aside from the 507, BMW didn’t do sporty cars very well back in the day. So how did they up their game? Well, in 1966, they purchased Hans Glas GmbH, a company that, among other things, produced the Goggomobil and sports cars like 1300 GT and 1700 GT.

After BMW bought out Glas, they decided to drop the 1.6-liter M10 inline-four from the Neue Klasse 1600 into the sporty, Frua-bodied Glas 1700 GT. Output was rated at 103 horsepower. Styling changes were more or less limited to lighting revisions and the addition of the corporate kidney grilles.

Only 1,255 coupe examples of the 1600 GT were produced between 1967 and 1968. This car has known ownership history from new, having spent its early years in Italy. It carries a pre-sale estimate of $55,000-$73,000. Click here for more info and here for more from this sale.

Update: Sold $64,978.

BMW Z8

2001 BMW Z8

Offered by Mecum | Monterey, California | August 14, 2021

Photo – Mecum

The Z8 was BMW’s retro-inspired halo car that was sold between 2000 and 2002, with a revised Alpina Roadster available for 2003. The car was styled after BMW’s legendary 507 (one of, if not the first, car this site featured was a 507).

Power is from a 4.9-liter V8 rated at 395 horsepower. It could hit 60 in 4.2 seconds and was limited to a 155-mph top end. This car retains its factory body-color hardtop and is one of 62 built finished in red over Crema leather. A total of 5,703 Z8s were produced. While they are sought after today, their $128,000 base price when new did not move them off of dealer lots quickly 20 years ago.

That said, good luck picking one up for under $150,000 today. They’ve aged pretty well and are certainly a future classic. Click here for more info on this one, and here for more from Mecum in Monterey.

Update: Sold $247,500.

BMW 502 by Baur

1956 BMW 502 Cabriolet by Baur

Offered by Bring a Trailer Auctions | April 2021

Photo – Bring a Trailer Auctions

The BMW 502 was the V8-powered version of BMW’s six-cylinder 501. The 501 went on sale in 1951 and the 502 in 1954. Confusingly, there was also a “501 V8” model sold, with a detuned version of the 502’s.

The 502 was also better appointed than the 501, which made it expensive. They only sold 190 in the first sales year. The standard body style was a sedan, but Baur-built coupes and cabriolets were also available. This car is one of 57 cabriolet examples.

This one is powered by a 3.2-liter V8 sourced from a later BMW 3200L. The 502 was Germany’s first post-war V8-powered car. With a single carburetor, this engine was rated at 140 horsepower when new. The removed factory 2.6-liter V8 is included with the car.

This car was restored between 2011 and 2013, and it looks pretty fantastic. It’s been at Pebble Beach and is being offered out of a museum. The bidding is already at $125,000 as of this writing, and it is scheduled to end two days from this posting. Click here for more info.

Update: Sold $275,000.